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Learning

St Clare's Primary School Thomastown West

St Clare’s Catholic Primary School is an inclusive learning community where students feel safe, engaged and challenged.  All members of our community are learners - staff, parents and children.  As a learning community, we recognise that:

  • We can learn anywhere, anytime

  • Learning is social, cultural and dependant on relationships

  • Our emotional and physical wellbeing are keys to learning

  • Learning is multi-sensory

  • Each one of us learns differently, but we can all strengthen our learning capabilities

  • Feedback from others has a powerful impact on our learning

  • Time and reflection are integral to learning

  • Motivation is enhanced when we understand and own our learning

 

At St Clare’s Catholic Primary School, we strive to achieve the highest standards possible for our students.  We endeavour to know each student so that we can teach to their point of need.  

 

Our learning and teaching programs are informed by the Victorian Curriculum and dynamically designed to cater to the needs of our learners.  At St Clare’s, access to a comprehensive and contemporary curriculum is complemented by our focus on building learning assets which allow them to be active participants in their learning journey here and beyond their primary school years.  St Clare’s learners are supported to be effective collaborators, thinkers, communicators, investigators and self-managers.  These learning assets are taught and practised from Prep to Grade 6.

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The integration of digital technologies allows students to become familiar with the use of a variety of tools, which enhance their learning whilst developing key ICT skills.  Students at all levels have access to a range of hardware, including iPads, Chromebooks and laptops. Students also have access to a wide variety of software to support learning, including coding tools, apps and Google Classroom. The Seesaw app is used across the school for students to share their learning with their families, strengthening the home/school partnerships we value at St Clare’s.

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Religious Education

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At St Clare’s school, we pride ourselves as being a welcoming and inclusive community. We celebrate our cultural and religious diversity. We respect and honour that each person is sacred and that each member of our school is loved by God.

 

Through a ‘pedagogy of encounter’, children at St Clare’s are engaged in dialogue and encouraged to explore questions about, and seek meaning from, the world around them.  Social Justice actions are actively planned for by teachers, and students are encouraged to participate in these actions as they demonstrate God’s love in our world.  

 

The Religious Education curriculum is made up of the following three areas, seeking to encourage our students to see and respond to God their lives:

  • Knowledge and Understanding

  • Reasoning and Responding

  • Personal and Communal Engagement

 

We strive to live as Jesus taught us as we pass on our Catholic tradition.

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English

At St. Clare’s we believe that English is the currency for all learning. Our programs are dynamic, engaging  and responsive to students' needs. Through rich literature and high quality texts the teachers at St. Clare's provide students with targeted instruction, opportunities for practice, and concrete doable goals with a view to helping students meet and exceed standards in reading and writing.

 

Teachers endeavour to  model to students what it means to lead richly literate lives, wearing their love of reading and writing on their sleeves. Students learn by understanding the purpose for all things taught. 

 

Our English programs are balanced, meaning that we are guided by students' learning needs across all areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking. Specific programs are followed when student needs require this. Teachers and allied health professionals work in collaboration to discuss and plan for individual student learning needs.

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Mathematics

At St Clare’s we recognise the importance of Mathematics to enable students to confidently and competently engage with the world around them.  Our Mathematics curriculum provides students with opportunities to learn, practice and explore key mathematical processes, skills and understandings.  

 

We acknowledge that a strong foundation of number sense is pivotal to success in Mathematics, therefore we have a particular focus on building this foundation.  This is done through regular counting, the use of hands-on materials, explicit instruction, number talks, teaching of mental computation strategies and opportunities to build skills through games and real-world contexts.  

 

Through the use of data, teachers are able to differentiate their instruction by targeting students in focused teaching groups, teaching them at their specific point of need. 

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Learning Adjustments

We acknowledge and appreciate that each student brings their individual strengths, challenges, experiences and backgrounds to the classroom.  St Clare’s Catholic Primary School teachers utilise a comprehensive assessment schedule in order to measure and monitor each students’ abilities.  Students are instructed according to their ability, supported or extended accordingly.

 

We have a range of support processes in place to meet the needs of these learners, including:

 

  • In classroom teacher focus groups

  • Learning Support Officers

  • LLI (Levelled Literacy Intervention program for select Grade 1/2 students)

  • Reading intervention

  • Number intervention

  • PLPs (Personalised Learning Plans) for students identified as having additional learning needs

  • Social/Emotional support groups

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Investigative & Inquiry Learning

Students at St Clare’s participate in Investigations (P-2) or Inquiries (3-6) which explore one of our six Clarian Concepts. These Clarian Concepts are big ideas which allow students to develop a range of understandings that empower them to discover, inquire and apply their knowledge to the world and how it works.

 

The Clarian Concepts students are exposed to across a two year cycle are:

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Each Clarian Concept addresses a key curriculum area, ensuring each child is exposed to a comprehensive and relevant curriculum which deepens as they move from Prep to Grade 6.  

The key curriculum areas addressed are:

 

  • Health

  • Science

  • History

  • Geography

  • Civics & Citizenship

  • Design Technologies

  • Economics (Grade 5 & 6 only)

  • Capabilities Curriculums (Intercultural, Ethical, Personal & Social and Critical & Creative Thinking)

 

Investigations:

In Year Prep to Year 2, our students are engaged in Investigation experiences, based  on that term’s Clarian Concept, as well as students’ interests. 

 

During Investigation time, students are engaged in play experiences to develop their oral language skills, practise reading and writing, work cooperatively with each other and independently.

 

Inquiry:

In Grades 3 to 6, the emphasis is on exploring Clarian Concepts through Inquiry learning. Inquiry based learning caters for a diverse range of students’ learning styles and involves students in decision making about their own learning. Students are led through rich learning activities that help them gain deeper understanding about important local and global concepts.

Specialist Programs

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Physical Education

Physical Education is an important part of the curriculum, as it promotes lifelong physical activity and healthy habits. We have a comprehensive physical education program provided by a specialist PE teacher and classroom teachers.  The PE program includes:

 

  • Weekly physical education classes

  • Annual swimming programs

  • Whole school Sports Carnival

  • District Athletics for selected students

  • Cross Country participation for selected students

  • School camps

  • Interschool Sports (Grade 6 students)

  • Running Club

 

In Physical Education classes, students will develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to strengthen their sense of self and build and manage productive relationships.  Through our PE programs, we endeavour to forge resilience and sportsmanship within each child. 

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Visual Arts

Art is an important part of children’s education as it helps them to understand their world and express their thoughts and ideas. It develops motor skills, language skills, social skills, risk taking and creativity. It teaches them that their views are important and that it’s ok to make mistakes. 

 

All students at St Clare’s receive one hour’s Visual Art tuition a week (for one semester). Lessons are sequential, planned throughout the different year levels and gradually build on skills and processes as well as knowledge of artists and artwork.

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Music

Music is a second area of the Arts that we offer at St Clare’s.  Music  covers different elements such as beat, rhythm, pitch, melody, form, tempo and dynamics to name a few. Students use instruments including voices to sing, body percussion, the tambourine, maracas, cow bells, xylophones, the ukulele or the recorder.  Movement and performances are a great way to showcase how to use the musical elements to communicate ideas and feelings.

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LOTE - Italian

At St Clare’s, the students from Prep to Year 6 participate in Italian classes for one semester. During these sessions, the students are encouraged to use Italian as much as possible for classroom routines, social interactions and structured learning tasks.  These may include role plays, songs and games to provide many opportunities to experiment and practice using Italian in a positive and encouraging environment.

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STEM

An exciting STEM program is taught to all students from Prep to Grade 6.  STEM education is the learning of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in an integrated approach. Students gain and apply knowledge, deepen their understanding and develop creative and critical thinking skills within an authentic context.