Meet St Hilda's School

The Gold Coast is a hub for several of South East Queensland’s most outstanding schools and educational institutions...

We caught up with St Hilda's Head of Junior School, Mrs Amanda Shuttlewood and Deputy Head of Junior School, Mrs Melissa Wilkins to gain some insight into St Hilda's and find out all you need to know about enroling in Prep at St Hilda's.

Head of Junior School, Mrs Amanda Shuttlewood (left)
and Deputy Head of Junior School, Mrs Melissa Wilkins (right).
Head of Junior School, Mrs Amanda Shuttlewood (left) and Deputy Head of Junior School, Mrs Melissa Wilkins (right).

What’s unique about your school?

St Hilda’s School is an Anglican Day and Boarding School for girls from Pre-Prep to Year 12 on the Gold Coast, located in the very central suburb of Southport. For more than a century, St Hilda’s has inspired young women and is the only all-girls’ school on the Gold Coast.

When do I need to enrol? How do I secure a position for my child? What is the enrolment process?

At St Hilda’s, we value the opportunity to speak with you about your daughter/s’ education and welcome enquiries and applications for entry into all year levels. However, places are limited and we do encourage families to enquire and submit an application for enrolment as early as possible to avoid disappointment. Families can contact our Registrar via enrolments@sthildas.qld.edu.au or 07 5577 7232 to arrange a tour of campus and begin the enrolment process.

What’s your prep/pre-prep orientation like? What activities are in place to help my child and family settle into school?

St Hilda’s School hosts a series of orientation sessions to support the transition of girls into their first year of schooling.  During the year prior to their start in Prep, we host parent Prep information sessions.  In addition, we host a Prep orientation morning in November and a Prep orientation session for all girls in the days prior to the start of school in late January.  Our focus is to ensure each girl feels prepared for a positive start to her school learning journey.  Our class sizes are small and cater specifically to the needs of girls’ education, encouraging each girl and ensuring she is cared for and challenged in her learning and personal growth and development.

How does your school communicate with families?

St Hilda’s School maintains consistent communication with Junior School families.  Each week the Head of Junior School distributes an email with updates, information and news.  In addition, there is a start of term letter that is sent to all families with details of the term ahead.  School correspondence is also sent to parents a number of days each week to ensure parents are kept well-informed of school information and events.  We strongly encourage our families to download the School app and to follow the official St Hilda’s School Instagram and Facebook pages. Class teachers will also regularly communicate with the parents of girls in their class regarding class-specific information.

How can I help prepare my child for ‘big school’? Are there particular types of knowledge, skills or abilities children are expected to have prior to starting at your school?

Prior to the start of Prep, there are a number of areas parents can help their daughter to learn in preparation for starting ‘big’ school.  Practise packing a lunchbox and your child learning which food is for morning tea and which food is for lunch.  Helping your child to be able to undo food wrapping and how to care for their lunchbox and drink bottle will be very helpful.  Another area of school readiness is your child being able to confidently hold a pencil and write their own name.  Encourage colouring in, drawing and tracing simple shapes.  Engage your child in enjoying stories by reading together each day and have fun counting in everyday situations such as at the park or when going on a walk.  Assist your child to practise and extend their oral language skills by participating in conversations and sharing information with you using sentences.  Oral language development is critical to assist in the development of reading and writing skills. Help your child to be able to independently dress themselves as they may need to change into sport or swimmers when participating in school activities.

How structured is the classroom environment in Prep/Pre-prep? What is expected of children in a typical day?

During the Pre-Prep year some structure is introduced to the child’s day. This will include some time working at a desk and some time participating in activities on the carpet and play time outdoors.  When the children begin Prep, ‘big school’, at St Hilda’s School their day becomes more structured as this is the start of formal schooling.  Children will participate in subject lessons including English and Mathematics.  They participate in specialist lessons such as Visual Art, Health and Physical Education and language lessons.  Children begin attending assemblies and significant days including sport carnivals and special event activities.

Is there homework in Pre-Prep/Prep and what does this involve?

Homework is not usually provided in Pre-Prep as the children are young and have busy, full days of learning and exploring in their Pre-Prep environment.  During the Prep year at St Hilda’s School, homework begins and is focused on English and Mathematics. The purpose is to revise key information learned at school including sight words, reading and number work.

What are some of the teaching and learning strategies used by class teachers to engage students requiring additional support?

At St Hilda’s School, our teachers are able to develop a deep understanding of each individual student and tailor the learning to support the strengths and areas of development for each student.  Teachers will differentiate their lessons so that the tasks provided are accessible to each student while also challenging each child. At St Hilda’s, we focus on developing strong foundational knowledge and skills in our Prep students. Our teachers draw from a range of teaching and learning strategies with a focus on strong explicit teaching while using inquiry and discovery learning where appropriate for learning purposes and for skill development.

 

Are there any considerations I need to make when packing a lunchbox (nuts, eggs etc.)?

For the St Hilda’s Prep girls, the lunchbox can present as a significant aspect of starting school.  Most schools now require parents to avoid packing food items that may contain nuts due to allergies of other children attending school.  It is very helpful if parents can help their child to learn how to manage their lunchbox including how to sit and eat the food required within a reasonable time.  We see many children eager to play and as a result avoid eating their food or struggle to remain seated until they finish eating.  Helping your child understand how to open and close their lunchbox lids and containers is very useful and guiding them to put their lunchbox away independently is also a beneficial skill to have when starting school.

 

We would be delighted to meet you, show you around our campus and share information about our curriculum and extra-curricular activities. Contact our Registrar Kaitlin Barrell via enrolments@sthildas.qld.edu.au or 07 5577 7232.