Curriculum

At St. Thomas the Apostle School we acknowledge that students deserve the very best teaching possible. Learning experiences are designed to help learners develop their knowledge, skills and understandings in all learning areas. St Thomas the Apostle School is committed to providing students with quality learning experiences. We believe that through the use of a variety of teaching strategies, all children will be encouraged to reach their full potential.

St. Thomas the Apostle Primary School believes in:

  • building authentic relationships and partnerships that support, extend and challenge our students’ learning;
  • actively engaging with the school community;
  • understanding our place within the Catholic church and the global community;
  • the full flourishing of every student;
  • supporting each learner to deeply understand ‘who they are’ in the world, in dialogue with the Catholic beliefs and practices.

We recognise the strong link between the quality of teaching and student performance. So we strive to create a learning environment that:

  • scaffolds learners;
  • inspires creativity:
  • offers a variety of learning experiences;
  • has high expectations of every student;
  • is based on respectful relationships between staff and students acting collectively;
  • encourages risk-taking.

Curriculum

At St. Thomas the Apostle School, teachers focus on learning for all students in order to move each one from their point of need along their learning continuum. Teachers make evidence-based decisions after analysing data that has been collected in pre and post testing, standardised tests, anecdotal records, work samples, professional dialogue and observing what a students can ‘say, make, do or write’. That way, teachers can plan and implement work that caters to the needs, abilities and interests of all students.

Our teachers are aware that chronological and mental ages do not necessarily correspond and so, some children are extended and some receive intervention, often catered for within their classroom as well as receiving individual or small group support with trained staff.

Learning outcomes are taken for the Victorian Curriculum. This sets out what every child should learn in their first eleven years of schooling in Mathematics, English, Science, Humanities (History, Civics & Citizenship, Geography and Economics), Technologies (Design and Digital), Languages (Italian), The Arts (Visual, Dance Drama, Media, Music), Health and Physical Education.

Learning in Religious Education allows children the time to learn more about themselves, others, the world around them and God. Students explore the role of prayer, rituals, symbols, sacraments and sacred texts in our lives. RE lessons at St Thomas the Apostle allow students to question, think and dialogue about important topics in the world around them and apply a Catholic lense to these topics. Teachers design learning experiences using the Renewed RE Framework, linking them to Inquiry Learning. RE is connected with their inquiry topic so that students can make better links between Religion and its important place in their world today. Through our Religious Education program we endeavour to engage students with the Catholic tradition, in the hope that these experiences will inform discernment in decision making and enable them to take relevant action for the common good of all.

We believe that learning is inter-related and as such, skills, concepts, values and knowledge are transferable via an integrated curriculum and the inquiry approach. Student engagement is enhanced through the use of digital technology, student voice and student choice. Students set learning and personal goals and develop self-management skills through scaffolded learning and expert teaching.

At the commencement of each term, parents receive an overview, which outlines the term’s work in the various areas being taught in each year level and specialist class. Parents also receive two detailed formal reports, mid-year and at the end of the year. Early in the year, parents attend a chat session with teachers. This provides parents with an opportunity to share information about their child that may support the development of a positive relationship with teachers and to discuss matters that may affect their child’s overall performance. Throughout the year, there are opportunities for students to showcase their learning at school assemblies, school events, and level presentations.

Religious Education

At St Thomas we believe that Religious Education invites students to think deeply, critically and philosophically about the Catholic faith in a diverse global community. We believe that Religious Education builds an understanding of self, others, the world and God.  As religious educators we encourage students to appreciate the role of prayer, rituals, symbols, sacraments and sacred texts in people’s lives. We value the importance of exploring sacred texts and encourage students to question, critically analyse and interpret these texts. As a dialogue school that is open to religious questioning we enable our students to recognise, respect and value the Religious diversity within our community. Engaging our students with the Catholic tradition informs discernment in decision making and enables them to take relevant action for the common good.

Religious Education is an integral part of our school, it is embedded into every aspect of our school life. We aim to reflect the life of Christ in all aspects of the school, so that young people can experience the values of a Christian community based on love, compassion and justice.

Learning in Religious Education allows children the time to learn more about themselves, others, the world around them and God. Students explore the role of prayer, rituals, symbols, sacraments and sacred texts in our lives. RE lessons at St Thomas the Apostle allow students to question, think and dialogue about important topics in the world around them and apply a Catholic lense to these topics. Teachers design learning experiences using the Renewed RE Framework, linking them to Inquiry Learning. RE is connected with their inquiry topic so that students can make better links between Religion and its important place in their world today. Through our Religious Education program we endeavour to engage students with the Catholic tradition, in the hope that these experiences will inform discernment in decision making and enable them to take relevant action for the common good of all.

St Thomas the Apostle Primary School has a visible Catholic partnership with the parish. Throughout the year the school community participates in various Sacramental and Liturgical practices including our annual celebrations of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation. Further opportunities provided to our students to explore their faith include:

  • Whole school masses
  • Class masses
  • Morning and afternoon prayer
  • Sacramental Programs
  • Learning designed using the Renewed RE Framework and linked to Inquiry Learning
  • Mini Vinnies
  • FIRE (Friends Igniting Reconciliation through Education) Carrier Project a joint initiative of Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Victoria and the Opening the Doors Foundation to promote Reconciliation through education.

Sacraments are received in the following year levels:

Reconciliation: Year 2

Eucharist: Year 3

Confirmation: Year  6

Preparation for the Sacraments of Reconciliation, First Eucharist and Confirmation is a partnership between the school and the family. While preparation for these Sacraments is school based, there is an understanding that parents are the first formators of Faith. Therefore there are ample opportunities for parents play an active part in this preparation by attending sacramental faith formation nights and commitment masses, as well as entering into dialogue with their children at home, accompanying them on their Sacramental journey.

Literacy

Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening are the components of our Literacy program. Ongoing student assessments allow for individual focused learning during our daily 2-hour Literacy block. These assessments also inform us with regard to providing appropriate intervention programs.

To live with purpose, now and into the future, individuals require literacies that enable students to communicate powerfully, interpret deeply and participate fully in the world.

Literacy is often characterised by lists of practices such as in the Victorian Curriculum: ‘listening to, viewing, writing and creating oral, print, visual and digital texts, and using and modifying language for a range of purposes in a range of contexts.’ These literacy practices develop students’ knowledge and their dispositions so that they have greater agency to act upon the world and the diverse contexts in which they live.

Learning to be literate is an ongoing process for students as they develop the capacities to ‘read’ their world and confidently access, understand, analyse and evaluate information, make meaning, express thoughts and emotions, present ideas and opinions, interact with others and participate in activities at school and in their lives beyond school.

Numeracy

Numeracy ‘ensures that the links between the various components of mathematics, as well as the relationship between mathematics and other disciplines, are made clear. Mathematics is composed of multiple but interrelated and interdependent concepts and systems which students apply beyond the mathematics classroom. In science, for example, understanding sources of error and their impact on the confidence of conclusions is vital, as is the use of mathematical models in other disciplines. In geography, interpretation of data underpins the study of human populations and their physical environments; in history, students need to be able to imagine timelines and time frames to reconcile related events; and in English, deriving quantitative and spatial information is an important aspect of making meaning of texts.’ ( VCAA, 2014)

Being numerate involves more than the application of routine procedures within the mathematics classroom. Students need to recognise that mathematics is constantly used outside the mathematics classroom and that numerate people apply general mathematical skills in a wide range of familiar and unfamiliar situations.

“Students become numerate as they develop the knowledge and skills to use mathematics confidently across all learning areas at school and in their lives more broadly. Numeracy involves students in recognising and understanding the role of mathematics in the world and having the dispositions and capacities to use mathematical knowledge and skills purposefully.

The core elements in the Victorian Curriculum Mathematics are Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, and Statistics and Probability. Students develop an understanding of mathematical concepts, skills and procedures and also the confidence to apply their knowledge of these concepts to solving everyday problems. Ongoing student assessment provides us with information, used to determine the needs of our students in order to provide them with relevant and purposeful learning targeted to their individual needs.

Digital Technologies

We live in a world of fast and constant change, marked by rapid developments in technology. Our society is characterised by global interdependency, population diversity and mobility. This constant change requires new ways of learning that equip students to be lifelong learners and persons better adapted to the challenges of a rapidly changing world.

Value is increasingly placed on the ability to innovate and create new knowledge. The ability to engage in multimodal communication through appropriate and ethical use of existing and emerging technologies, supports the development of powerful ways of thinking and constructing new knowledge.

St Thomas the Apostle School –

  • Offers a range of modern technologies that support student learning;
  • Offers experiences of learning that incorporate socially connecting with local and global communities;
  • Develops lifelong learners and persons better adapted to the challenges of a rapidly changing world.
  • Provides opportunities to think,  innovate and create in new ways;
  • Uses technologies in appropriate contexts, considering ethical and moral obligations.

Kitchen Garden Program

Pleasurable Food Education = Skills for Learning and Life!

St Thomas’ is part of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation. We are one of 473 schools Australia-wide, where around 50,000 children are enthusiastically getting their hands dirty and learning how to grow, harvest, prepare and share fresh, seasonal food.

The fundamental philosophy that underpins the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program is that by setting good examples and engaging children’s curiosity, as well as their energy and their taste buds, we can provide positive and memorable food experiences that will form the basis of positive lifelong eating habits.

The students are actively involved in regular kitchen and garden classes, enabling skills-based learning that extends across the entire school curriculum.

As participants in the Kitchen Garden Program Prep to Year 6 students spend structured time in a productive veggie garden and home-style kitchen as part of their everyday school experience. There they learn skills that will last them a lifetime, and discover just how much fun it is to grow and cook their own seasonal vegetables and fruits.

We aim to maintain and education garden and kitchen where many aspects can be mirrored at home.

The school’s kitchen garden is owned and operated by the students with guidance and support from, staff, parents and the community.

Student Wellbeing

At St Thomas the Apostle there is a strong emphasis placed on supporting the pastoral needs of students and families.

Through our Student Wellbeing Coordinator, our Pastoral Care Team and Counsellors, we endeavour to monitor and support the needs of all in the community. The school also provides the support of a Student Counsellor who is available one day a week to support both students and their families.

Student Well Being at St Thomas is all about care for the child at the social and emotional level.

It is about providing an environment where there is a sense of belonging, acceptance, respect, growth and support for each individual student.

All classes in the school follow the ‘You Can Do It’ program, which progressively develops the student’s Confidence, Resilience, Persistence, Organisation and ability to Get Along. These 5 keys are the foundations of developing a strong Social and Emotional awareness in all students in the school.

Homework Policy

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