Our goal is to ensure all our students learn to be their best within a setting that encourages a high level of engagement, understanding, collaboration and reflection.
‘Barbreck’ – Where Girls Matter
Barbreck is a vibrant hub of learning that nurtures every girls’ ability and potential—academically, physically, creatively and emotionally.
During the all-important primary years, St Catherine’s ensures opportunity for each girl to participate in a broad range of activities that enable discovery of her talents, her interests and her dreams; equipped for a lifetime of learning.
Purposefully small, our average class size of 17 students enables every girl to receive engaging learning experiences and personalised learning plans. In Barbreck, we ensure a daily commitment to prioritising academic time for the development skills in literacy and numeracy through a model of explicit instruction. The promotion of creativity, self-expression and self-awareness is also a key feature of a Barbreck education.
At St Catherine’s, we celebrate our care of students, both pastorally and academically. It is this nurturing, yet empowering approach, that epitomises a Barbreck education.
Take a 360 degree tour
At the heart of our Barbreck building, the warmth and colour of the Library draws girls to a love of books and reading every day. This central learning hub is complemented by the surrounding specialist primary-designed learning space: a purpose-built Science Lab recognising the critical importance of developing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) capabilities for girls who will live and work in the 21st century and our commitment to developing globally aware citizens is enriched by our primary-specific Language Lab, for an enhanced learning experience in LOTE and French.
Designed with the active girl in mind, the Village Green provides a wonderful play space for energetic Barbreck girls at lunchtime, the freedom to run in a Physical Education lesson and the enjoyment of ball games during After-School Sport. Located adjacent to the indoor swimming pool facilities, the playground includes much loved climbing equipment, a natural rainforest walk to curiously explore, and the vegetable and herb garden, carefully tended to by the Environmental Club.
Allowing girls to express their creativity through Performing and Visual Arts is also an essential and vibrant component of the Barbreck academic and co-curricular programs. The much-treasured experience for our Years 5 and 6 girls comes with participating in the annual Barbreck Musical / Play. This creative celebration of the extensive musical and dramatic talents of our girls is the colourful culmination of rich cross-curricular activities embedded in music, art and the co-curricular choral programs.
In January 2019, we welcomed the appointment of Ms Karen McArdle as the new Head of the Junior School. With extensive experience in primary years schooling, including 18 years’ experience as a Head of Junior School, Ms McArdle brings to the role considerable expertise in school leadership, curriculum development and leading exemplary practice in teaching and learning.
A Personalised Approach
Each girls’ academic strengths and areas for improvement are identified through a detailed analysis of her work, with tailored personalised learning plans established to accommodate each student.
We believe in the progress of every girl and our dedicated staff are committed to ensuring girls understand their progress through feedback, guidance and encouragement of the necessary growth mindset to accept challenges and persist in their efforts to improve.
Our academic programs are sequential in nature, developing a level of rigour that ensures each girl strives for her continual improvement and captures the personalised approach of a Barbreck education. We also pride ourselves on our consultative and collaborative approach of connecting with parents to ensure information regarding their daughter’s learning plans and academic progress is comprehensively communicated.
The St Catherine’s expansive curriculum is based on Best Practice teaching and is carefully planned with our students’ knowledge, needs, interests and varying abilities in mind. It is underpinned by the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) and is both rigorous and sequential.
Key curriculum areas for our students include:
- Literacy and Numeracy
- Science and Technology
- Physical Education
- Philosophy (Years 5 and 6)
- Outdoor Education – Beyond Boundaries
- Perceptual Motor Program
- STEM in the Mornings
- Write on Wednesday
- Choirs, Instrumental Music, Concert Band, Percussion and String groups and Choral groups
- Sport (Athletics, Gymnastics, Tennis, Netball, Snowsports, Swimming, Cross Country Running and Joggers’ Club)
- Drama and musical theatre
- Bodyworks – comprehensive health program
- Dance (Classical, Jazz and Ballet),
Opportunities to build self-confidence, resilience and encourage positive risk-taking is provided in our Outdoor Education program available to students from Year 2.
Out of School Hours Care
Out of School Hours Care is provided by After the Bell and is available from 7.00am until the commencement of the ELC program at 8.45am. This service is also available in the afternoons from 3.00pm until 6.00pm. The Out of School Hours Care Program operates within the ELC building in a shared space known as the Piazza.