One such student is Nixon Batterham from St Patrick’s Primary School, Wallsend. One of 55 Kindergarten students who attended St Patrick’s this year, Nixon has learnt many new skills and had a variety of new experiences throughout the year.
“Nixon has done so well; it was such a big change for him but he handled it great,” said Nixon’s mother, Amanda Batterham.
“He enjoyed meeting his teachers, doing art, writing, sport and having a go presenting a speech.
“While I think Nixon would say he enjoyed the canteen the most, he also loves writing time in class, borrowing library books and the dress ups that occurred throughout the year.’
The choice to provide Nixon with a Catholic education was an easy one for Amanda as she discovered a supportive environment providing holistic education that aids growth and development of students in all areas.
St Patrick’s provides a flexible learning space with 21st century furniture. The Kindergarten classrooms feature separate reading and writing spaces, kidney-shaped desks for reading groups and ergonomic chairs that provide comfort and flexibility for students who move around more while seated.
The school also has a new infants’ playground that provides plenty of outdoor and play-based learning opportunities with its shopfront, kitchen and sandpit. It also gives students and teachers a space to conduct outside lessons.
“When we were looking for a school for Nixon I was asking parents around at our local shops what schools they could recommend and where their kids go,” said Amanda.
“They suggested St Patrick’s so I investigated from there and I found a school that accepted everyone regardless of religion.
This year St Patrick’s offered a transition program to welcome new students coming from preschool into Kindergarten. With a full orientation day for parents and four mornings sessions for students, the new Kindergartens were given the opportunity to spend time participating in play-based activities in the classroom. They were even able to bring money to buy ice blocks from the canteen.
These mornings help to ease any anxieties around the students’ first day by giving them time to become familiar with the new environment and their peers.
“We are Christians so for us we felt that Nixon receiving a Catholic education wouldn’t be conflicting; if anything it would help in his learning about Jesus.
“We feel that the culture of the school is one of support and encouragement. This flows from the teachers down to the students and this really helps Nixon be himself and try new things.
“Nixon loves going to church and is now noticing that some of what he learns about at church is being backed up at school.
“I like that Nixon is in a great environment and learning about Jesus and the way he loved people and how he lived. These are great values for him to learn!”