St Michael’s Primary School follows the Australian Curriculum. This curriculum enhances and supports the provision of a comprehensive and balanced curriculum for all ACT students from preschool to year 10. Implementation continues across all learning areas in-line with the document
The Australian Curriculum describes a learning entitlement for each Australian student that provides a foundation for successful, lifelong learning and participation in the Australian community. It acknowledges that the needs and interests of students will vary, and that schools and teachers will plan from the curriculum in ways that respond to those needs and interests. The Australian Curriculum acknowledges the changing ways in which young people will learn and the challenges that will continue to shape their learning in the future. The Australian Curriculum sets out what all young people should be taught through the specification of curriculum content and the learning expected at points in their schooling through the specification of achievement standards. (www.australiancurriculum.edu.au )
St Michael’s staff uses the guidelines provided by the relevant authorities to make decisions about curriculum for our students. Organisationally we aim to maximise opportunities for each student to access learning, which will provide the skills and knowledge needed for success.
At St Michael’s school we endeavor to:
- develop a loving relationship with God revealed through Jesus and the wonders of God’s creation.
- develop a sense of belonging to a Catholic community with knowledge of the life, faith, tradition and mission of the Catholic Church.
- promote principles and skills to reflect, discern, critically think and decide how to actively live as a committed Christian in the wider community.
- nurture a realisation and appreciation for the diversity and value of each individual and a respect for different cultural traditions and religions.
- develop a capacity to support the faith of the individual, families and community with a sense of peace, harmony and compassion.
Religious Education is an essential and valued area of learning which develops students’ religious literacy in the light of the Catholic tradition, so that they develop as people, learners, community members and contributors to society.
Reading and Viewing, Writing and Creating, Listening and Speaking are components of English, taught within a holistic approach. We believe that each aspect is dependent upon the others. Literacy and numeracy are integral to effective learning across the curriculum.
Literacy is the ability to read, write and use written language appropriately in a range of contexts, for different purposes and to communicate with a variety of audiences. Reading and writing, when integrated with speaking, listening, viewing and critical cultural knowledge, enables a speaker, writer or reader to recognise and use language appropriate to different social purposes and situations.
We endeavour to provide a rich language environment with children listening and talking, reading, writing and viewing from the first weeks at school. The students learn to read by reading and to write by writing. From Kindergarten to Year 6 the students participate in a Literacy Block for the first 2 hours of each day, which forms a base for the development of reading and writing.
St Michael’s has a ‘hands on’ approach to Mathematics where the students are involved in mathematics based on life-skills and with participation in programs such as ‘Count Me In Too.’
Mathematics involves observing, representing and investigating patterns and relationships in social and physical phenomena and between mathematical objects themselves. The beliefs, values and assumptions about Mathematics and about students’ learning in Mathematics which underpin the curriculum are:
- Mathematics is versatile;
- Mathematics is responsive to change;
- students should be actively involved in their Mathematics learning;
- Mathematics learning should be valued and build upon what students know;
- Mathematics learning should be accessible to every student
- students’ perspective of Mathematics arises from their real-world experiences and interests;
- learning in Mathematics may be achieved through a variety of learning styles; and
- students need to talk and write about Mathematics.
At St Michael’s School we also have a dedicated Numeracy Block, which is a one hour block wholly devoted to improve and challenge students’ numeracy skills. Through the structure of the Numeracy Block, students are provided with the opportunity to work as a whole class and in small groups with similar needs; as they are challenged to apply and discuss numeracy strategies. In the Numeracy Block explicit teaching and learning practices are in place; along with opportunities for enquiry and application.
At St Michael's School, Science is seen as an integral part of the modern world. For personal, social, environmental and economic reasons, young people must be well equipped to be active participants in our changing and evolving scientific and technological society.
Science learning experiences assist students to:
- Understand and apply scientific knowledge; and
- Act for an environmentally sustainable future.
The implementation of the Science strand of the Australian Curriculum included the adoption of the Primary Connections units of work as a major resource. These units are integrated with Literacy skills, streamlining the application of the content to the real world. Scientific knowledge is generated by particular methods of inquiry to pose questions, collect evidence, develop and test ideas, and refine or refute them in the light of new evidence. When students have opportunities to generate and explore scientific concepts and theories through a genuine inquiry process, they develop deeper understandings, as well as practical skills in applying that knowledge to new learning situations and problems. Science is therefore an essential and valued area of learning which involves both scientific and technological content and processes.
HEALTH AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION
Children are involved in a variety of sports, which aim to improve their physical fitness and co-ordination. Our emphasis is on enjoyment, skill development and willing participation.
In the younger classes the emphasis is on the development of motor skills, co-ordination and team participation. All students in the Junior classes participate in an intensive Gross Motor Program.
The Health and Physical Education curriculum focuses on students:
- Taking action to promote health;
- Being physically skilled and active; and
- Managing self and relationships.
Specialist skill development officers from a variety of sporting organisations conduct sporting clinics for children from Kindergarten to Year 6. Regular exercise and fitness are an integral component of the curriculum.
Children have the opportunity to represent the school in a wide variety of sports at school, district, state and national level.
HUMANITIES and SOCIAL SCIENCES
The humanities and social sciences are the study of human behaviour and interaction in social, cultural, environmental, economic and political contexts. The humanities and social sciences have a historical and contemporary focus, from personal to global contexts, and consider challenges for the future.
This learning area at St Michael’s focuses on the need to live in peace and harmony in our independent and interconnected world of natural and social systems.
Through studying Humanities and Social Sciences, students will develop the ability to question, think critically, solve problems, communicate effectively, make decisions and adapt to change. Thinking about and responding to issues requires an understanding of the key historical, geographical, political, economic and societal factors involved, and how these different factors interrelate.
At St Michael's School we offer educational experiences in Indonesian language and culture. The school has a specialist Indonesian language teacher and has developed an Indonesian language and culture classroom.
Social and economic factors provide a strong rationale for a greater understanding of and open communication with our Asian neighbours. Indonesia is one of Australia’s closest neighbours and an understanding of its culture, history and language and informed communication with Indonesia, is vital for Australia’s national interests.
The Arts are symbols and communication systems or languages. This area focuses on developing students’ capacity to create, present and appreciate a range of art forms, including dance, drama, music, visual arts and media. The Arts bring together students, parents and the wider community. The school provides opportunities for private tuition in guitar, piano, drama and group dance.
St Michael’s Primary School curriculum includes opportunities for students to participate in drama/ musical presentations. This may take the form of a school produced musical/dramatic performance and/or focused presentations for specific events such as Easter or Christmas. Along with classroom experiences, these opportunities engage students in learning experiences in visual arts, music, drama and dance as part of their natural growth and development.
Capability in this area of learning is a vital 21st century skill for all our students.
A key aim of ICT at St Michael’s School is to ensure the children are competent and confident in using technology to support and enhance their learning. Interactive Whiteboards continue to be utilised in all classrooms in numerous applications; along with Smart TVs.
ICT has been integrated into all aspects of the curriculum through the use of desktops, laptops and iPads in the Library Resource centre, the shared breakout spaces and the classrooms. The access to iPads is increasing across the school, and includes a BYOD program (Bring your own device) for the senior students, to support their independent learning.
St Michael’s School offers a range of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) opportunities for students to experiment, extend and challenge themselves. The students across the school investigate robotics, coding and programming of devices ranging from Beebots to Spheros. These devices provide creative enquiry opportunities for the students to investigate and learn. Skills learnt in small group sessions are transferred to other learning areas.
The classroom support provided at St Michael’s School includes challenging extension as well as inclusive support for individual needs. The key focus is to support all students to access the main stream curriculum to the best of their ability.
The Classroom Support Team works in an inclusive model within the classroom setting.