Curriculum

Key Learning Areas

English

Students are challenged to live by Christian values in a world of accelerating change, therefore literacy skills are crucial to the development of the individual made in God’s image and likeness.

Our literacy program is structured to enable children to:

  1. express fully the dignity and meaning of being human
  2. develop literacy practices for transforming social and educational needs
  3. understand that knowledge about language assists all aspects of literacy
  4. develop effective literacy according to student’s abilities and needs, ranging from foundational literacy through to critical literacy
  5. understanding increasingly complex literacy codes and multiple codes of communication St Mary’s literacy program aims to incorporate decisions regarding classroom discourse, texts used in class, perspectives adopted, access to and use of information technology, intervention programs and the assessment and reporting of literacy achievement.

Mathematics

At St Mary's we believe that children need to know and understand the basics of Number, Space and Measurement through the exploration and investigation of patterns, relationships, processes and problems, therefore we aim to provide an effective Mathematics program that balances the strands on Number, Spance and Measurement. We also aim to give students time to explore and investigate mathematical concepts.

We believe that children need to use a variety of concrete materials and technologies to develop mathematical concepts, therefore we aim to ensure that there is a variety of appropriate equipment and resources readily available in the classroom.

We believe that assessment and reporting in Mathematics must be accurate, meaningful and non-threatening so that parents, students and teachers understand the student's achievements and the areas to be developed, therefore we aim to regularly assess all strands of Maths, including Working Mathematically.

We believe that students have different learning styles and develop mathematical concepts at varying rates and levels, therefore we aim to support the learning needs of each student.

Science and Technology

At St Mary's the processes of investigating, designing and making and using technology are central to Science and Technology. We aim to provide a balanced curriculum which incorporates the six strands of Built Environments, Information and Communication, Living Things, Physical Phenomena, Products and Services and the Earth and It's Surroundings. The knowledge and skills taught can be transferred to other Key Learning Areas and can be used in real life situations. Scientific methodology is taught. A variety of ongoing assessment strategies are used.

Outside agencies such as Questacon are used to provide enriched learning experiences for the students. Excursions are also important for enhancing learning opportunities.

Human Society and Its Environment

At St Mary's we believe:

  • that through the learning experiences in HSIE, students will develop values, attitudes, knowledge and understanding about change and continuity, cultures, environments and social systems and structures
  • the teaching of HSIE should seek to develop a culture of truth
  • that our students can make a positive contribution to a better world as they meet the challenges of their changing society
  • that assessment and reporting in HSIE must be accurate, meaningful, non-threatening
  • that the study of HSIE should provide students with a range of learning experiences
  • that available technologies should be used to enhance teaching and learning

Creative Arts

At St Mary’s we believe that the art forms of visual arts, music, drama and dance play a significant role in how meaning is made in peoples’ lives. Visual arts, music, drama and dance offer students at St Mary’s opportunities for personal expression, enjoyment, creative action, imagination, emotional response, aesthetic pleasure and the creation of shared meanings. These artforms also provide students with opportunities to explore social and cultural values about spiritual and worldly beliefs in Australia and in other regions and cultures, and to celebrate, share and negotiate these values and beliefs. Through the arts, the diverse and pluralistic values of Australian cultures, including those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, reflect the interests and aspirations of groups, and their identities.

Through the provision of learning experiences in Visual Arts students will develop:

  • Knowledge, skills and understanding in making artworks, informed by their investigations of the world as subject matter, use of expressive forms, and consideration of the audience for their works
  • Knowledge, skills and understanding in appreciating their own artworks and those of others, recognising some relationships between artists, artworks, audiences and how the world is interpreted

Visual Arts lessons are designed to:

  • Make artworks informed by students’ investigations of the world as subject matter, use of expressive forms, and consideration of the audience for their works
  • Appreciate their own artworks and those of others, recognising the roles of artists, audiences and how the world can be interpreted

Music lessons aim to develop in students:

  • Knowledge, skills and understanding in performing music of different styles and from different times and cultures by singing, playing and moving, and in organising sound into musical compositions using musical concepts
  • Knowledge, skills and understanding in listening to and discussing their own music and that of others
  • Performance skills of singing, playing and moving using musical concepts
  • the ability to organise sound into musical compositions using musical concepts
  • the ability to l isten to and discuss their own music and that of others

Drama lessons are programmed and planned so that students will develop:

  • Knowledge, skills and understanding in making drama collaboratively by taking on roles and creating imagined situations shaped by the elements of drama
  • Performance skills in drama by actively engaging in drama forms
  • Knowledge, skills and understanding in appreciating their own dramatic works and those of others

Dance lessons are planned and programmed so that students will develop:

  • Knowledge, skills and understanding in composing their own dances using the elements and contexts of dance
  • the ability to perform dances from different times and cultures using the elements and contexts of dance
  • an appreciation of their own dances and those of others

Personal Development, Health and Physical Education

The Personal Development and Health Syllabus supports the development of the student as a whole person. Implemented in the context of a Catholic school, it has the potential to make a significant contribution to the improved and ongoing quality of life for all individuals within the community. In a Catholic context, it can strongly affirm the God-given dignity of the human person, and support our students enjoying ‘life to the full’.

Child Protection, Road Safety and Drug Education have been integrated within the related content areas for each stage of learning.

The Life Education program is also a key element in the Personal Development and Health strands, with Healthy Harold visiting each class early in the year.

Rationale

In our rapidly changing society there is increasing community awareness of the importance of healthy lifestyles. The resultant good health is characterised by improved quality of life, less sickness and disability, happier personal, family and social experiences and the opportunity to make choices in work and recreation.

When individuals are well informed on health issues and have a sense of control about the decisions they make, they are more likely to experience positive relationships, improved quality of life and less illness.

This resource aims to assist in the development of knowledge and understanding, skills and values and attitudes of students to make informed decisions about their health. The context for students to explore health issues is within PDHPE programs.

Related Link: Life Education - http://www.lifeeducation.org.au

Religious Education

At St Mary’s we believe that through Religious Education in our classrooms and in partnership with our parents and parish community, students will gain a knowledge and understanding of Jesus Christ the person and the traditions of the Catholic faith.

We believe that this knowledge and understanding must be engaged with contemporary social issues and the life experience of our students. Therefore we aim to make Religious Education alive and child centered by employing the best teaching methodologies, incorporating creative teaching strategies and multiple intelligences. We aim to sequence planned activities so that they reflect the Emmaus process.

Through the Religious Education Program we aim to:

  • Make Religious Education an integral part of each school day.
  • Teach a specific Religious Education lesson using learning experiences and teaching strategies related to the outcomes and indicators from the Religious Education curriculum of the Sydney Archdiocese, To Know, Worship and Love. Activities will ensure that there is a balanced program, with Scripture, Doctrine, Celebrations, Lived Responses and Life Experiences being included. Each classroom creates a sacred space as a focus for prayer in the classroom. This sacred space should reflect current classroom themes in RE.

Information Communication Technology (ICT)

Through the ICT resources and systems the school provides and encourages students to be twenty-first century learners. One of the positives in this is that students not only learn the "how to" or "where is" but more importantly the thinking that enables them to be innovative and creative in finding solutions.

Integration of ICT across the curriculum is a major achievement and focus for innovation and transformation. This occurs through the laptop program, robotics, multi-modal learning, the use of interactive whiteboards as an effective teaching and learning tool, online access through myinternet, mydesktop and myclasses and the monitoring of student progress using a computerised tracking and reporting database.

Support Programs

At St Mary's the needs of the learner are catered for through a range of programs.

Reading Recovery, Special Needs and Intervention specialist teachers work with individuals and small groups of students to support specific learning needs.

A Gifted Education program is also offered.

Robotics

Robotics is an integral part of our learning at St Mary's. All students, in Years Two to Six, have the opportunity to design, build and program in Lego Robotics. This is integrated into other Key Learning Areas particularly Science and Technology.

Why Robotics:

  • Science and technology are integral parts of our world today. A world that is continually undergoing rapid change.
  • Robotics at school provides students with the skills and knowledge to participate in these changes while at the same time providing a practical application of the concepts introduced in Science and Technology, Mathematics and English.
  • It encompasses the Key Learning Areas of Science and Technology, English, Mathematics, Human Society and Its Environment and Creative Arts and caters for a wide range of different learning styles and abilities.
  • In addition, Robotics in the primary years provides girls with the entry level to a field of study heavily dominated by boys.
  • Most important it provides students with the initial introduction to skills, ideas and concepts that may enable them to contribute to and make a difference to the world in the future.

The Robotics course content comprises:

  • Building a basic Robot in accordance with instructions.
  • Building a robot that will achieve a set goal.
  • RoboLab Pilot level programming language is used initially. Progression to Inventor level is achieved when there is a clear understanding of the concepts.
  • Motors and gears.
  • Basic and advanced robot manoeuverability (through programming).
  • Using sensors (touch and light) individually and collectively to sense environmental conditions to change the robots behaviour.
  • Development of creativity.
  • Videos of robots at work and play.
  • Demonstration to peers, teachers and family.

The activities within Robotics lessons integrate Mathematics, Science and Technology and English. The extent to which the content of a particular subject is covered is governed by the year level of students. And the learning curve of students.

Robocup

An independent measure of the students’ learning achievements in robotics is demonstrated by the school’s success at the Robo Cup Junior Australia (NSW) Competition over the last eight years, including 2010 where our Dance Theatre team gained second place in the NSW competition.

Public Speaking and Debating

Public Speaking and Debating are important elements of the teaching of English, in the Talking and Listening strand.

A professional coach from Toastmasters teaches the students in Years 2 - 6 the skills required for effective public speaking and successful debating.

Each year St Mary's students participate in the Catholic Schools Eastern Region Interschool Debating Competition.

French

Bonjour!

All students at St Mary's participate in an exciting program of immersion in the French language and culture. A specialist teacher conducts lessons each week for all students, from Kindergarten to Year Six. Students enjoy a visiting French theatre each year.