Curriculum

 

Religious Education

At St Francis of Assisi Parish School , we believe that the cooperation between family, school and Corpus Christi Parish is crucial to the overall nurturing of each child's faith.

We believe that parents are primarily responsible for initiating their children into the Catholic faith tradition.   We view the role of the school as vital in this initiation process which begins in Kindergarten and is developed throughout the children's primary years.

Prayer is an intrinsic part of daily school life.   During the day each class will take time to pray.   This is particularly obvious when all classes participate in Morning Prayer between 9:15 am to 9:30 am.  This is called 'Sacred Time' and it is particularly important that no interruptions occur during this time of morning prayer.  It is the aim of this school's Faith Education Program that children be exposed to the full spectrum of prayer experience; which can take many forms - traditional, scriptural, liturgical and creative.   These forms of prayer may be expressed in many ways: stillness, listening, reflection, dialogue, music, drama, song or dance. 

The celebration of the Eucharist is an integral component in the spiritual development of students.  Opportunities for student participation and involvement occur through whole-school Masses and liturgies, combined year-level Masses and liturgies at Holy Family Church, and individual classes attending Mass at Sacred Heart Church each Wednesday morning.  Parents and other members of the community are warmly invited to celebrate with the children in liturgical celebrations throughout the year.  Dates and times for these events are available from the online calendar and published in the weekly newsletter. 

Every class sets aside a half hour each day for formal religious education.   The Program is based on the Canberra Goulburn Archdiocesan Guidelines "Treasures New and Old".   This document identifies key concepts on four major content areas.   Each content strand is given focus for one term and the strands together are given coherence through the following theological statements:

God:                   Communion of Love, Source of all being, Eternal Word and Holy Spirit.

Jesus Christ:     Word made flesh, the wisdom, freedom and Compassion of God.

Church:              Body of Christ, Communion in the Spirit, community of disciples, witness to unity and justice, pilgrims in service to the world.

Prayer:                Growing in faithful relationship, listening, trusting and celebrating the living God.  

Each unit of work is planned to accommodate the current recommended teaching praxis.  This consists of five movements:

  1. Naming life experience of self, others and the world,
  2. Critically reflecting on life experience,
  3. Teaching and learning about the Christian Story and Vision,
  4. Integrating reflection on life experience and Christian Story and Vision and
  5. Responding in order to live out the Christian Story and Vision.

Christian values dominate our entire school Program and are not taught exclusively during Religion lessons.   They are an integral part of our Values Program and have links to all other key learning areas.   They serve to define our school ethos and promote appropriate social values, beliefs and actions.

Sacramental Programmes

The prime responsibility for the children's preparation lies in the example and Catholic practice of the family, and the school and Parish will do their utmost to assist in any way they can.   Information regarding the Sacraments is published at appropriate times throughout the year.  

The Sacramental Programs for Penance, Eucharist and Confirmation are Parish-based and centre on the home.   The school teaches specific Programs in preparation for each Sacrament.   The Parish offers special Preparation Programs for parents, to help parents assist their child in preparing and celebrating the Sacrament.   Sacraments are then celebrated within the Parish community.

  • Year 3 - Preparation for reception of the Sacrament of First Reconciliation
  • Year 4 - Preparation for reception of the Sacrament of First Eucharist.
  • Year 6 - Preparation for reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation.

English

The English Curriculum is developed on the premise that children learn to read by reading and learn to write by writing. The Australian English Curriculum provides the framework for teaching and learning in English.

It is built around the three interrelated strands of Language, Literature and Literacy. Teaching and learning programs balance and integrate all three strands. Together the strands focus on developing students’ knowledge, understanding and skills in listening, reading, viewing, speaking, writing and creating. 

Through the Australian English Curriculum we provide opportunities for our students to become life-long learners who appreciate the need to be open to learning and discovery in an ever changing world.

At St Francis we have a whole school approach to literacy. Four mornings a week are allocated to literacy blocks. This is uninterrupted time devoted to the instruction of literacy from Kindergarten to Year 6.The literacy block consists of a reading and a writing workshop.

Arts

Arts is an essential component of a balanced education. The arts curriculum includes drama, dance, visual arts and music. Arts education skills and concepts are taught through a variety of activities in all curriculum areas enabling the children to develop an understanding of the essential elements of each arts area and includes scope for creativity.

Mathematics

The Australian Mathematics Curriculum provides the framework for teaching and learning in Maths.  The Mathematics curriculum provides students with a carefully paced, in-depth study of critical skills and concepts.

It encourages teachers to help students become self-motivated, confident learners through inquiry and active participation in challenging and engaging experiences. The Curriculum is divided into three strands and develops the numeracy capabilities that all students need in their personal, work and civic life. These strands are:

Number and Algebra

Measurement and Geometry

Statistics and Probability

St Francis supports the explicit teaching of Mathematics knowledge and skills during our daily Numeracy blocks through our Numeracy Intervention Program for selected Year 2 and 3 students. Through this program we provide targeted assistance for those students not achieving Numeracy benchmarks.

Numerous opportunities are provided for students requiring extension in Mathematics as we strive to provide a Mathematics education that meets the needs of each student.

Science

The Science Curriculum at St Francis of Assisi is based on the Queensland School Council Science Syllabus Years 1 - 10.   This syllabus has five content strands and is outcomes-based.   It provides a framework for planning learning experiences and assessment tasks through which students have opportunities to demonstrate what they know and can do in Science.   The five strands included are:

  • Science and Society
  • Earth and Beyond
  • Energy and Change
  • Life and Living
  • Natural and Processed Materials

Both the Science and Technology Curricula aim to give students a basic understanding of their physical, environmental and technological world.   Key concepts will be treated with increasing complexity as students progress through the grades.   The practical investigations, which are central to our core curriculum, enable students to gain direct experience as well as develop theoretical ideas.

Technology

We live in an environment that is largely constructed and manipulated by human action.   People must have the capacity to contribute to and participate productively and innovatively in the construction, reconstruction and management of that environment.   Technology programs equip students with knowledge and experience of the made world and the ability to participate in construction and reconstruction and involve students in generating ideas and acting on those ideas in practical ways.  

Personal Development, Health and Physical Education

Our Health and Physical Education Curriculum (HPE) is based on the ACT Every Chance to Learn Curriculum.   Our Curriculum:

  • Encourages understanding and valuing of self and others;
  • Promotes physical activity;
  • Emphasizes informed decision-making leading to effective and responsible social action.  

The content of the HPE Curriculum covers strands including;

  • Fundamental Movement and Physical Activity
  • Health Choices
  • Self and Relationships

Physical Education develops knowledge, skills, understanding and motivation required for personal health and fitness, while at the same time, promoting a sense of enjoyment, an awareness of personal health issues and knowledge of their personal development and growth.   Students at St Francis of Assisi are encouraged to develop their awareness of the interconnectedness of all life.   Knowledge about their health and personal and physical development should lead them to understand the connection between good health, informed decision-making and rewarding social experiences.   Students, irrespective of gender, should have equal opportunity to develop self-esteem and self-confidence through experience in a wide range of enjoyable physical activities.   A variety of experiences including sports and health programs are offered to our students during the year, which cater for the diverse needs and abilities of each child.  

The school organizes a Swimming Program for our children in Years 1, 2 and 3.    School Teams are entered in a variety of sports in the local Murrumbidgee district inter-school competitions.    

St Francis of Assisi also has a comprehensive Personal Development Program for all students.   These include the Protective Behaviours Program and BounceBack.  

Information and Communication Technology

The nature of our society requires school leavers to be familiar and competent with the use of Information and Communication Technologies in work and school environments.   At St Francis of Assisi Primary School, students have access to laptops in classrooms and class sets of iPads which teachers may borrow from the library.  All classrooms are supplied with either an interactive white board or interactive panel for teacher and student use.  In addition to this, in Term 4 2016, St Francis of Assisi Primary School will be launching a BYOD program for Years 4-6 further aimed at meeting and developing digital competencies.

At St Francis of Assisi we aim to promote and develop ICT by integrating competencies across the curriculum through every Key Learning Area.   All students have access to the Internet, laptops and iPads as tools for learning and we enhance student’s educational experiences with a variety approaches that best the support the way students learn.

Library

Our library is an integral part of our school.  Its role is as a digital resource centre for all curriculum areas as well as encouraging the students to read for pleasure. Borrowing occurs during class times and at lunchtime.  Parents are invited to assist with many tasks associated with the efficient operation of the library.

A Teacher Librarian, supported by a Library Technician, staff the school library.  Our Teacher Librarian has the responsibility of working with classroom teachers and assisting them in promoting a variety of quality literature to encourage good reading habits in students.  The Teacher Librarian will also assist with resourcing and developing units of work appropriate to each class level, teaching a developmental Information Literacy and Technology Skills Program to students in Years 3 - 6; providing opportunities for the borrowing of books and assisting the school with the purchase of learning resources.

Each class attends a weekly Library lesson in literature appreciation and information management.  The Library is also open at lunchtime from Monday to Thursday.

Story-time happens every Monday morning at 9am in the Library.  Siblings of children or pre-school children enrolling at St Francis are invited to participate in a short story and craft activity.  This is a great way to introduce and become familiar with St Francis before starting school.

Music

Our Music and Dance Program provides children with the opportunity to participate in many musical experiences including singing, moving and listening to a wide range of music.  Students in Years 3 – 6 also play the ukulele and descant recorders. All children from Kinder to Year 6 are taught by a specialist teacher. 

Individual Music Tuition

From Year 2 all children have the opportunity to participate in individual tuition in piano.  Lessons are conducted in school hours by a specialist tutor.  Parents pay separately for these tuition fees.  Children are invited to join our Music Tuition Program provided by Musicorp Australia. Lessons, which include strings, woodwind and brass, are conducted in school hours by a specialist tutor.  Parents pay separately for these tuition fees and the hire of instruments.  

Gross Motor Program

As we are committed to the development of the whole child at St Francis of Assisi, our Physical Education Program caters to the physical development of each child.  This commences in Kindergarten where the children are introduced to our Gross Motor Program.  This program, which extends to Year 1, is supported by a team of trained parent tutors and has been a valuable inclusion to our curriculum.  Complementing this program is an exciting Adventure Playground outside which enables all children to enjoy exercise outdoors.  

Early Intervention Literacy Program

The home /school program, ‘Forward Together’ is designed to assist children who are experiencing difficulties in Year 1 with reading , handwriting, letter sounds and story writing. 

Parents attend 6 evening sessions lead by the Learning Support Teacher and a Learning Support Assistant.  The Year 1 children work in small groups with the Learning Support Assistant at school for a period of 10 weeks.  Parents continue the program at home by playing the same games, working on the same activities and supporting their child with the same strategies.  

Excursions

Excursions are designed to enhance the children’s experiences while working on a particular unit of work.  Notification will be provided when your child is to be involved.

Generally, excursion charges and costs are covered by the Excursion Levy, paid with the school fees each term.

Kindergarten – Year Four participate in a Learn to Swim Program as part of the Physical Education Program in Term 3 each year.

Years 5 and 6 participate in an annual overnight camp.  Information on these activities are explained more fully to parents during the term of involvement.  All children are expected to participate in these activities.