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Preshil primary school, Arlington, is in Barkers Road Kew. The heritage-listed buildings, designed by Kevin Borland and set in the rambling gardens, cluster around the original home of Margaret Lyttle and site of Australia’s oldest progressive educational ideas. Preshil is now a candidate school* for the International Baccalareate’s Primary Years Programme (PYP).

The home-style classrooms, hall and library were designed by Kevin Borland, who worked closely with the children themselves to create delightful areas that continue to challenge standard notions of appropriate learning spaces; rooms that deliberately promote experimentation and imagination.

The Arlington Environment

A child’s learning environment has a significant impact on how they absorb information. The school’s distinctive physical environment is a setting in which children can find spaces to play imaginatively. The garden has uncultivated and dense shrubberies with rope swings, trees to climb and places to construct cubbies. There are many animals our children care for, and our workshop has real tools for the children to use. The classrooms are welcoming spaces, each with a kitchen, comfortable couches and materials for creative expression. The children are able to access these rooms right across the day.

Our Progressive Approach

Preshil’s progressive approach draws from Montessori and Froebel, from Steiner and Reggio Emilia, each one offering generative and ambitious elements to build on. But Preshil is not locked into a static, dogmatic approach shaped for a different place and time. We also draw on the work of Sir Kenneth Robinson and John Hattie.

Our approach has much in common with the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP), being based on a strong commitment to conceptual and holistic learning and an inquiry approach. More than half of Preshil’s Arlington teachers have undertaken PYP training. It was this alignment with the values and pedagogy of the International Baccalaureate and a desire to build on it that first motivated the School’s adoption of the MYP at the Secondary School

At Arlington we embrace exciting new technologies, but discriminately, and our exceptional teachers collect and use many styles of data to plan their teaching and refine their understanding of the learning progress. As a team, we read, discuss, plan and collaborate to focus on the individual progress of each child.

Our Teachers

Preshil teachers know that the act of learning cannot take place solely through the actions of an external agent. The child is not a blank slate waiting to be written on but an active participant in the learning process who brings to the teacher/student relationship a depth of experience and a creative and intuitive mind. Thus the independent learning process takes place in an atmosphere of mutual respect, using inquiry, dialogue and discussion.

5s | Prep

The 5s space is a carefully considered, unique area at Preshil. The program allows the children and teacher to engage in the building blocks of Literacy and Numeracy as well as other aspects of the Curriculum. At the core of our approach is flexibility and relationships, for the purpose of personalising and intentionally planning the space and experiences, allowing for the specific needs of the children. Play, choosing, making and creating a caring environment where children feel at home continues to be an important part of children’s learning in the 5s in order for them to be confident thinkers of the future.

As part of our transition program, the 4s visit the 5s several times a week for a collaborative project. Using story, teachers engage in shared imaginary role play, and explicit teaching, to deepen the children’s learning around concepts, both social/emotional and scientific.

6s to 11s | Years 1 to 6

From the moment they start Primary School, Preshil children are guided through activities that nourish their personal development as well as their literacy and numeracy. In addition to the specialist programs in Philosophy, French, Art, Library, Music and Creative Dance, the children have time for uninterrupted play. With curiosity and determination they build cubby houses, engage in play making, create projects and explore their world with others. In these composite classes the day begins with a welcoming morning meeting, which frames the day’s learning and provides opportunities for the children to express their point of view, listen to others and develop social and emotional capacities. At Preshil we take a holistic view of the learning process in relation to the formulation of curriculum. Integrating academic disciplines within meaningful and authentic contexts, working from the children’s interests and fostering an ongoing love of learning are paramount. We also have a thriving instrumental music program and run orchestral and vocal groups.

Primary Extended Hours

The primary extended care program at Preshil provides children with quality out of school hours care which is complementary to the educational philosophy at Preshil. The programme is focused around sports, cooking, art and craft activities as well as structured ‘free-time’ after a busy day at school.

Transition To Year 7

Our Year 6 students make weekly visits to the Secondary Campus throughout the year and look forward to rejoining their former classmates in the Years 7 and 8 cohort. Our transition program sees students compile a folio for their future teachers, which celebrates their journey so far and imagines their future pathway, do by the time our students finish primary school, they are well on their way to develop their own voice. Their intellectual and physical abilities are highly developed and they can enter the next stage of their schooling with confidence. Preshil students are equipped to make thoughtful and judicious choices regarding their own education and development. The spirit of creativity and discovery founded in the junior years continues to shape the curriculum into Year 7 and beyond to the completion of their secondary schooling.

Next Steps

For further enquiries, please email the Registrar or complete the online enquiry form. Alternatively, if you would like to come and join us on a tour of the school, please enquire via the button below or call us on +61 3 9817 6135.

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