Junior Learning Community

Every child has been uniquely and wonderfully made, with the potential to succeed in their personal pursuits, and impact our ever-changing world.  We believe children have a far greater capacity to learn and succeed if their personal interests and strengths are identified and they are then equipped with the skills required to fulfill their God-given purpose.

“We count it our privilege to be entrusted with your children at the beginning of their learning journey as we embrace your family into our College Community”

Christy Gittins - Head of the Junior Learning Comunity (JLC)


Learning comes to life in the Junior Learning Community (Prep to Year 4) as children embark on a journey through guided discovery. Our classroom environment is innovative and unique, with modern spaces designed to maximise learning opportunities. In the JLC, guided learning blends a model of explicit instruction and active ‘hands-on’ learning to engage children in their learning as they develop knowledge and explore key foundational skills. Instruction is differentiated and delivered on multiple learning platforms.

Guided learning leads children to increasing independence and autonomy as confident learners who have knowledge and skills to embrace an ever-changing world and prepares them as they transition into our Middle Learning Community (Years 5-8)

Built for Junior Learning

The castle consists of twelve state of the art learning spaces. These design concepts were created specifically for the junior learner and incorporates flexible indoor and outdoor areas to bring learning to life. Retractable doors between classes enable team and group based teaching, break-out spaces, modern furniture, reading and creative nooks for student discovery, innovative technology, and engaging play equipment all come together to create an environment that inspires curiosity, fosters creativity, and engages children in a sense of fun.

The area is wrapped in native bushland with water between the Prep and Year 1-2 Castle classrooms providing a natural environment full of sounds, textures and natural experiences adding to the student learning environment.

Students in the Prep - Year 2 can also access the newly built Castle Resource Centre daily to explore and delve into a world of literacy.

Our Curriculum

We follow the Australian Curriculum which is unpacked through the College Shield ensuring it has a strong biblical foundation.

Class teachers focus on the core subjects of English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography and the integration of technology into their teaching. A huge emphasis is placed on teaching students to read through our I Love Reading Program to ensure students develop a love of reading.

Specialist teachers are responsible for teaching the range of subjects beyond the core curriculum. Each week they also participate in SMILE (Sensory Motor Integration Learning Experience) in P-2 and Physical Education in Years 3-4, Art and Music lessons are enjoyed by the students as well.

Our Christian Living program from Prep to Year 12 reveals to students what God has done and is doing in their lives to continually shape and guide the world they live in. Students are affirmed for displaying the Values of the College and receive badges through a system of recognition to encourage growth in their character.

Extension and Support Services

Our FLARE extension program caters for individual learners; it is an adjusted program for children who demonstrate a high ability level across different learning areas.

Highly gifted students have the capacity for higher-level learning and require a more challenging program, which is provided through our full-time gifted and talented program from Year 3. Consideration for the full-time program begins in Prep and continues through Years 1 and 2. Our short courses are condensed units of work where students seeking extension and enrichment in a particular area of ability can participate. Read more about our Gifted and Talented programs.

Support Services

Individual and small group assistance is given to those students who require additional support with their learning. The Word Warriors program uses trained tutors who work with children 1 on 1 and in small groups to deliver additional support in literacy.

All staff at the College are committed to the spiritual and psychological welfare of the students. The Culture and Wellbeing Team provide a multidisciplinary team to further assist the pastoral aspects of College life including:

  • Counsellors
  • Chaplains
  • Weekly Junior Gatherings
  • Learning Support Specialists
  • Enrichment support specialists

I Love Reading

I Love Reading (ILR) is an innovative program taught in our Junior Learning Community. Designed to facilitate the rapid learning of reading, writing, and understanding of language and literacy, this program aims to remove the complexities of reading, empowering early learners to grasp literacy concepts from a younger age.

The ILR model for literacy learning assists early readers to learn every sound, of every world of the English language through a multi-faceted, yet simple phonetic coding system and transition this to the key learning areas.

Engagement is the key and children love to learn with ILR with four unique characters: Curious Clyde, Gopher Green, Sneaky Sam and Miss Quokka unite to make learning fun, enrich learning experiences and build social and emotional skills as children transition from ‘Language to Literacy’.

...Our three children are thriving at Hillcrest and have hugely benefited from the I Love Reading program. They all can’t wait to go to school every day and that is a true testimony to the incredible community that is created at Hillcrest.
Parent - Caroline Hook

Design Centred Learning

In Prep to Year 4, Design Centred learning (DCL) allows students to apply their knowledge and skills in core subjects to real-life situations. In DCL, children develop the SECRET skills: Self Manager, Effective Participators, Creative Thinkers, Reflective Learners, Enquirers and Team Workers. Students explicitly learn skills through exploring them within academic units and then aspire to achieve mastery of those skills by displaying them in other areas of their school, extra-curricular and home life.

These skills are built upon as students transition into the Middle Learning Community and future pathways in the Senior Learning Community.


Learning music from a young age teaches valuable skills and assists children in the development of literacy, numeracy, hand-eye coordination and aural/listening skills, as well as providing opportunities to teach cooperation with others, and positive social skills. Our music program at Hillcrest is informed by research relating to child development, and our young students all have the chance to develop a strong foundation for musical learning through the concepts of beat, rhythm, inner hearing, timbre, pitch and singing.


Instrumental groups

  • Ensembles
  • Violin and Piano (from Prep)
  • Guitar (from Year 3)
  • Band
  • String Beans
  • Intermediate Band
  • Junior Orchestra
  • Individual Vocal and Instrumental Instruction

Choral Groups

  • Chorus
  • Hillcrest Blokes
  • Choir Junior Singers and Primary Voices
  • Voice and other instruments
  • Chorale
  • Choral Excellence Program:
  • Poco Voce
  • Bella Voce


Prep – Year 3 students have a weekly lesson to practice gross and fine motor skills, body awareness, body control, integrating movements and manipulating equipment, interaction with others, engagement in activities and introduction to sport-specific skills - throwing, catching, ball control, tracking and trapping, kicking, striking

Aquatics and Sports Competitions

  • Learn to Swim and Stroke Correction
  • Sport Development Program
  • Sports Day: Interhouse Carnivals
  • Swimming, Cross Country and Athletics Carnivals
  • Interschool Sport Competitions

Additional Sports Development

We offer a range of programs to ensure students can develop their individual sporting abilities, including:

  • Our Sparks, Flames and Explosions programs offer a range of sports development and extracurricular opportunities after school, at minimal cost.
  • Sport Season Training includes running and athletics, AFL, netball, hockey, soccer, rugby league, basketball, cricket, baseball/softball, touch football
  • Representative Pathways for 10, 11 and 12 year olds who wish to complete in District, Regional and National Sport Trials and Championships