Meet IGS Head of Kindergarten to Year 2

In early 2018, IGS appointed long-term Primary Educator Jessica Slater to the role of Head of Kindergarten to Year 2, to lead the School’s team of specialised early years educators and enhance student development and wellbeing.

“Kindergarten to Year 2 is such a unique part of childhood development,” she said.

“In a lot of schools, early primary educators are led by managers who only have experience with the upper levels of primary school, but here at IGS we have Heads of Stages that specialise in the different areas of childhood development.

“The way you teach and respond to children who are six is very different to what is needed for children aged 12, for example, so it’s important for teachers to have leaders in different stages, ensuring our students can make the most of their educational opportunities.”

Ms Slater, who has been at IGS for 14 years, said her role is not only to enhance the structure of Kindergarten to Year 2 learning, it also focuses on professional development for herself and her colleagues.

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“I love working with all of the Kindergarten to Year 2 educators, going into all the classrooms and really getting to know the students individually in each of the three grades,” she said.

“Being in all of the classrooms is a great learning experience for myself, to see what is working well in each environment or where we might enhance learning, but it’s also great for the teachers to have that support and continue to move forward with ideas to benefit the students.

“We work really openly together, which is of huge benefit to the kids.”

Ms Slater also meets regularly with the Heads of Stages 2 and 3, and the Head and Deputy Head of Junior School, guaranteeing that the Primary School strategies continue to meet strong educational standards.

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Aside from her role as Head of Stage 2, Ms Slater also teachers a Year 1 class at IGS and teaches at The University of Notre Dame.

At the University she works with many first-year students, as a lecturer on Mathematics pedagogy for the Early Years, and as a tutor for Science pedagogy in the Early Years. These roles enable her to gain first-hand insight into the latest research and teaching methods, as well as the best ways to teach and lead other educators.

Not only an educator herself, but also a parent, Ms Slater said that the key point of difference for IGS is the “celebration of difference and cultural diversity”.

“We don’t just say that we welcome diversity, we actually celebrate it.”

Ms Slater also commented that the strong language offering from Preschool to Year 12 is another key point of difference for the School.

“The benefit of learning a second or third language is huge, and all of the kids absolutely love learning languages,” she said.

“There’s so much research to support that learning languages assists brain development and actually helps kids with problem solving in other areas.”

Her eldest daughter, now in Year 6, is fluent in French, which Ms Slater commented is “purely because of her IGS education”.