As a Pre-K to 12 school on one campus, Hills Grammar provides the unique opportunity to travel smoothly through each stage of the educational journey.
While each stage of learning and teaching has unique qualities, Hills Grammar teachers meet regularly as a whole faculty to share ideas and experiences to achieve a longer-term view of education. In tandem with the Student Wellbeing and Co-curricular programs, Learning and Teaching is driven by the School’s Vision – Extraordinary Education: Extraordinary Individuals.
The Deeper Water, Deeper Learning learning and teaching philosophy is the result of extensive research, consultation, and professional development of Hills Grammar’s teachers. The statement informs the community of the School’s approach to Learning and Teaching, and also points the way to future innovations as the School strives to achieve its deeper purpose of a love of lifelong learning. Hills Grammar develops within students the 21st Century skills of Character, Citizenship, Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking. which will facilitate their success within the world they will inherit.
Guided Inquiry is at the core of Deeper Water, Deeper Learning, fostering the natural curiosity of children and young people, and ultimately enabling them to take responsibility for their own learning.
Across the School, students enjoy several programs designed to deepen their learning. Some examples are outlined below.
- Year 5 have a Science and Technology unit of inquiry – Earth to Mars – looking at Earth’s place in the solar system. Whilst learning complex science concepts, students also participated in an open-ended learning challenge, making detailed plans for establishing a Mars colony. This part of the unit developed students’ skills in Collaboration, and Citizenship, where the special focus was on ‘solving ambiguous and complex problems to benefit citizens.’
- Year 6 students annually participate in Expo with a Science and Technology focus on Biomimicry. Expo develops student voice and agency, with a focus on Critical Thinking and Communication. Students heard from a vast array of experts including Dr K-lynn Smith, a biologist who has worked with elephants, birds, as well as chimpanzee conservation at the Jane Goodall Institute Australia, Dr Gabriel d’Eustachio, a passionate biologist who studies insects- entomology, Ms Jenny Cantwell, an environmental scientist who focused on the importance of biodiversity with regards to studying the environment rather than designing from it and Distinguished Professor Michael Gillings, Chief Investigator with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology, within the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Macquarie University. In small groups, students designed and pitched their idea for playground equipment, based on biomimicry concepts.
- Year 9 work on their entrepreneurial skills, participating in a yearlong program aimed at developing innovative solutions to real-world problems. In small groups, they develop authentic and detailed pitches for commercial and not-for-profit business ideas. Alumni experts are on hand to share their industry knowledge including funding, branding, pitch and presentation skills, risk management, and more. Students who participated in the 2021 program have seen their ideas and businesses flourish.
Hills Grammar is committed to ensuring that, in accord with their Graduate Aim, the young people who graduate from the School will do so as confident, independent and autonomous thinkers and learners, able to take their place and contribute in the many contexts in which they will find themselves in the future.