Middle Years Program
As boys enter adolescence, they become more aware of their talents, strengths and weaknesses, and they are more curious of the world around them. They start developing values and making choices that will shape them when they become adults. They’re increasingly eager for independence, and yet need clear expectations and boundaries. While they’re beginning to define themselves as individuals, peer relationships and meaningful relationships with adults are becoming more important to them. They’re also better able to think critically to solve problems, see meaningful connections and make inferences.
Our Middle Division curriculum follows naturally from the Senior Kindergarten to Year 5 Primary program. It meets the standard of a world school program and provides a solid and exciting transition to Years 8 and 9 at the Upper School. This program meets the social emotional needs of our students and enables them to become responsible, independent, curious and creative thinkers and learners. It recognizes the importance of learning styles, intercultural understanding and a trans-disciplinary approach to learning. It insures that our boys are actively engaged in a rich spectrum of academic, artistic, athletic and service activities in a supportive environment that encourages risk-taking and fosters their sense of achievement and self-esteem.
Year 6 Curriculum
The Year 6 English program allows students to move comfortably from the Primary to the Middle Division level at the College. Throughout the year, students are introduced to three literary genres: prose fiction, poetry and drama. Reading is encouraged with a reading period outside regular English class time. Students practise various forms of writing — including narrative pieces, poetry and essays — on a regular basis.
They generally use word processors to help with the draft-revision process. Core language skills (including formal grammar skills) are taught with the aid of classroom review and written exercises completed in their grammar workbook. Students’ individual language skills weaknesses are addressed by the teacher as part of the writing process. Core vocabulary is drawn from the literature studied and from other subject areas.
Year 6 has one English period in the library every eight days where students are introduced to a wide variety of new and familiar authors and books through book talks and reading aloud. Students also use the periods to browse, choose books and read for pleasure. Information skills are taught in the context of subject work. Instruction begins with bibliographic and locational skills and progresses to include information skills needed to complete assignments and projects.
The Year 6 core French program aims to provide students with the fundamental skills and knowledge needed to develop proficiency in the language. This course continues to emphasize communicative competence by developing the students’ listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Through a thematic approach, they experience a contextual application of the vocabulary and grammar structures of the “On y va 1” program. A challenging reading program, including a variety of theme-related texts and practise in public speaking, are integral parts of the course. Technology plays a key role in differentiating instruction, sharing work and thinking critically.
The goal of the advanced level is to provide students with the fundamental skills and knowledge needed to develop proficiency in the language. Students study the same topics, themes and grammatical structures as the core level, but in greater detail and depth. The scope of learning opportunities is expanded with more complex and involved projects, assignments, presentations and speeches. Technology plays a key role in differentiating instruction, sharing work and thinking critically.
Students in the Year 6 extended French program have experience in French or immersion schools, or they demonstrate superior French skills and the capacity to meet the higher expectations of this program. They follow a program designed to help them consolidate and expand on their current language skills and written comprehension and expression. Students are capable of communicating in French, and emphasis is placed on language form, comprehension and grammatical accuracy. A selection of Canadian and French short stories, poems and songs is studied, including the novel Jacquou le croquant. Students use their research and creative skills to make oral presentations throughout the year. All students also participate in a public speaking contest. Grammar and spelling are reviewed and expanded with the aid of a workbook. Technology plays a key role in differentiating instruction, sharing work and thinking critically.
History and Geography
This course provides students with their first formal study of history. It begins with an introduction to geography and its relation to history, and proceeds to the study of Roman civilization, from its founding through the Republic and Empire periods. Students spend the second term considering the genesis and development of world religions, with a particular focus on Islam, and conclude the year studying early modern Europe, with an emphasis on the Renaissance, Reformation and the age of exploration.
Throughout the year, students are introduced to historical concepts such as time sequence, evidence, cause and consequence, continuity and change, perspective, bias and moral judgment. The geography skills introduced in the first term are woven into the history program over the entire year.
The focus of the Year 6 program is to extend students’ basic mathematical skills and to continue to develop the link between mathematical theory and real-life applications. This course is organized into five major areas of knowledge: number sense and numeration; measurement; geometry and spatial sense; patterning and algebra; and data management and probability. Students also take part in both the Canadian Math League and Pythagoras contests. Independent learning skills are introduced through various open-ended investigations and projects throughout the year.
This course explores concepts in biology, chemistry, physics and environmental science. Students: develop skills in the processes of scientific inquiry; relate science to technological, social and environmental knowledge; and apply their knowledge of science to everyday situations. They learn about the interrelationships of ecosystems and the basic principles of heat and temperature and investigate the relationship between form and function in various natural and man-made structures and the fundamentals of chemistry: mixtures, solutions, atomic structure and the periodic table. Mankind’s impact on the environment is a recurring theme throughout the year.
Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
Digital technology provides a wide variety of tools to support our boys’ learning in engaging ways. Structured ICT time is provided in the timetable to help students learn to effectively manage their laptop and integrate key 21st century skill development into the subject areas. Together with the support of classroom teachers and subject specialists, students will use a variety of technological tools. Students will build more advanced computer skills, evaluate sources of information and use a variety of media to plan, design, create and communicate ideas.
Visual literacy, communication and problem solving are skills that are addressed in the Form 6 visual art program. To increase fluency in these areas, students examine visual, tactile, spatial and temporal elements in the world around them to increase their sensory perception. Using the elements and principles of design, they analyze the relationships within the natural and man-made environment. Students manipulate and explore the expressive potential of different combinations and arrangements of visual elements, using skills developed through drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture. This approach supports boys’ learning styles, is inquiry-based, encourages exploration and experimentation with a multitude of materials and methods, and is process- and not product-based.
The Form 6 dramatic arts program is designed to provide an introduction to the exploration and study of drama, theatre and dance. Students will learn about using stage area, character development and dramatic conventions such as role-on-the-wall, still-imaging, hot-seating, flocking and stage combat. By giving creative expression and form to thoughts, feelings and ideas, students have the opportunity to respond with their whole person: mind, body and emotions.
The Form 6 music program is a band performance course using brass, woodwind and percussion instruments. Students will choose an instrument according to their past experience and appropriate classroom balance. Instruments are provided for the students’ use, but they’ll be expected to provide their own mouthpieces and reeds. Students are instructed in the proper care and assembly of their instruments. The skills developed in Year 6 include the reading of basic music notation, the production of good tone, the learning of fingering patterns, an understanding of pitch and rhythm, and the performance of multi-part band works of different styles. Home practise is required. Boys are all involved in the Form 6 Band and may audition for the Jazz Band. Choir with involvement in the Prep musical is also a co-curricular activity.
This course encourages students to make connections between different activities by applying concepts and transferring basic movement patterns to different contexts. Students develop their kicking and handling skills while comparing three different forms of football in the fall. Boys inquire into the nature of attack and defence in two net games (badminton and table tennis) in addition to developing their skating skills in the arena and their snorkelling skills in the pool in the winter. Students engage in cricket, lacrosse, and track and field in the spring. While isolated skills practise is employed where appropriate, students are given an authentic context for performance whenever possible and are expected to consider the effective application of their skills.
Health and Life Skills
This curriculum is taught by health and life skills teachers and the Middle Division coordinator of the Wernham West Centre for Learning, supported by the form adviser. It deals with issues and concerns particularly appropriate to boys at this stage of development. The health component of the curriculum includes four main sub-topics: nutrition; personal safety; substance use and abuse; and growth and development. Interwoven into these lessons are the life skills of: managing academic and personal stress; managing interpersonal relations and conflict resolution; understanding how our actions impact others; problem-solving; and decision-making. Students participate in activities designed to develop academic skills in the area of agenda use, managing time and developing an understanding of their learning profile.
We make explicit the attributes of our “Learner’s Profile” in our everyday life at the Prep. By embedding them in the curriculum and making them an integral part of the daily experience of the Prep community, we endeavour to develop a way of thinking and acting which embodies these values. We acknowledge that it’s normal for students to occasionally fall short of these high expectations as part of their development. These situations are important learning opportunities. Using a specific calming strategy, active listening skills and a common problem-solving model, we help students develop their abilities to work and play with others and to better understand and manage their emotions. When they can do this successfully, they promote their value in any group context and build on their self-confidence. When we help children feel safer, more accepted and better able to build good friendships, they’re able to pay better attention in class, enjoy being at school and focus on their schoolwork.
Year 6 students spend one day in the first term, four days in the second term and two days in the spring at our Norval Outdoor School.
Year 7 Curriculum
The year 7 core French program aims to provide students with the fundamental skills and knowledge needed to develop proficiency in the language. This course starts with a review of basic language patterns and vocabulary. Students then move on to more complex structures, and language topics such as fast food, mysteries, amazing animals and legends. On y va 2 is the textbook used at this level, and we study the reader. Practice in public speaking is integral. Technology is one of a number of tools used to differentiate instruction and teach students to think critically.
The goal of the advanced level is to provide students with the fundamental skills and knowledge needed to develop proficiency in the language. Students study the same topics, themes and grammatical structures as the core level, but in greater detail and depth. The scope of learning opportunities is expanded with more complex and involved projects, assignments, readings, presentations and speeches. Practise in public speaking is an integral part of the course. Technology is one of a number of tools used to differentiate instruction and to teach students to think critically.
Students in the Year 7 extended French program have experience in French or immersion schools, or they demonstrate superior French skills and the capacity to meet the higher expectations of this program. They follow a program designed to help them consolidate and expand on their current language skills and written comprehension and expression. Students are capable of communicating in French, and emphasis is placed on language form, comprehension and grammatical accuracy. A selection of Canadian and French short stories, poems and songs is studied, including the graphic novel Le tour du monde en 80 jours. Students use their research and creative skills to make oral presentations throughout the year. All students also participate in a public speaking contest. Grammar and spelling are reviewed and expanded with the aid of a workbook. Technology is one of a number of tools used to differentiate instruction and to teach students to think critically.