St Monica’s Primary School offers a broad-based curriculum with emphasis given to the care and development of the child as an individual and a contributing member of a community. We recognise the vital place of Faith in the lives of students and are concerned with the awakening, nourishing and developing of this Faith within a sound general education.
In 2011 St Monica’s commenced the process of implementing the Australian Curriculum in English, Science, Mathematics and History and aligning the St Monica’s school based curriculum documentation. Since then further subject areas have been implemented and in 2017, the final learning areas will commence. By the start of 2018 all learning areas will be evident at St Monica’s.
The Australian Curriculum is designed to develop successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens. It is presented as a progression of learning. Australian Curriculum is described as a three-dimensional curriculum that recognises the central importance of disciplinary knowledge, skills and understanding; general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities. The learning areas of English, Mathematics, Science, Health and Physical Education comprise a single subject. The learning areas of Humanities and Social Sciences, The Arts, Technologies and Languages each comprise multiple subjects. This reflects the custom and practice of each learning area.
School Based Curriculum
St Monica's curriculum caters for different learning styles and endeavours to develop problem-solving and thinking skills within a climate of discovery. Students have opportunities to develop an understanding of each subject area through an inquiry approach to learning.
The inquiry process equips students with the skills to make scientific and technological connections to their world and act responsibly within a global community. Overarching our curriculum at St Monica's is the Australian Curriculum.
".. religious education should.. engage the whole 'being' of people, their heads, hearts and lifestyles, and it is to inform, form and transform their identity and agency in the world"
(Thomas Groome, Sharing Faith 1991, p2, TNO p17)
Through our acceptance and support of each other, we recognise the importance and dignity of each individual in their journey of faith.
As a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish - North Belconnen, St Monica's Primary School, upholds the values of our patron saint, St Monica and Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Our commitment to gospel values, family and our faith community is demonstrated through our active participation in Scripture, prayer, reflection and liturgy.
Based on our mission, vision and focus on values and in partnership with our Parish, parents, students and staff, we form a faith community, committed to the integration of faith and life. The Treasures New and Old syllabus document is the basis on which we scaffold all learning experiences from Kindergarten to Year Six. This is used to help develop growth in all aspects of our community.
Every class sets aside a period of time during the day to focus on faith development. Class Masses and Liturgies are conducted throughout the year and parents, grandparents and friends are most welcome to attend.
At St Monica's the Sacramental preparation is a three-fold process in partnership with St Michael’s Primary School, Kaleen.
Parents are the first and most important models of lived faith for their children. It is also the responsibility of parents to take an active role in the preparation of their children for the Sacraments as part of their Christian commitment. This preparation is assisted through participation in and attendance at Sacramental meetings for the sacrament their child is receiving. Parents retain the ultimate decision about when they wish their child to receive each Sacrament.
The Parish Community of St Monica's Evatt and St Michael’s Kaleen, through prayer and witness also supports and shares the responsibility of the parents for the preparation of their children for the Sacraments. The Parish, through the School of Religion, assists the preparation of the parish children who do not attend St Monica's or St Michael’s schools.
St Monica's School works in partnership with parents and the parish to prepare the children to receive the sacraments.
Parish Sacramental Program
Year 3 students
Year 4 students
Year 6 students
‘Literacy is the ability to read and use written information and to write appropriately in a range of contexts. It is used to develop knowledge and understanding, to achieve personal growth and to function effectively in our society. Literacy involves the integration of speaking, listening and critical thinking with reading and writing.'
Source: Department of Employment, Education and Training, Australia's Language and Literacy Policy, companion volume to policy paper, AGPS, Canberra 1991:9.)
At St Monica's we believe that the study of English is central to the learning and development of all students. It helps create confident communicators, imaginative thinkers and informed citizens. It is through the study of English that our students learn to analyse, understand, communicate and build relationships with others and with the world around them.
St Monica’s uses the Australian Curriculum for teaching English. The English Curriculum is organised into three interrelated strands that support students' growing understanding and use of Standard Australian English. Together the three strands focus on developing students’ knowledge, understanding and skills in listening, reading, viewing, speaking and writing. The three strands are:
- Language: knowing about the English language
- Literature: understanding, appreciating, responding to, analysing and creating literature
- Literacy: expanding the repertoire of English usage.
We endeavour to deliver contemporary quality learning opportunities in English and provide a rich language environment where children are encouraged to listen, talk, read and write every day. St Monica’s has adopted the Archdiocesan Literacy priorities which includes the following:
- Minimum 90 minutes a day literacy block
- Minimum 20 minutes a day independent reading
- Minimum 20 minutes a day independent writing
- Student access to quality literature
- Teachers conference with each child on weekly basis around reading and writing
A partnership between parents and school has proven successful in supporting students’ literacy learning. Research has shown that when parents reinforce the efforts of schools, children’s literacy competence, attitudes and confidence improves. St Monica’s provides many opportunities for parents to attend literacy workshops and engage in the learning and teaching process in classrooms.
The “NSW Foundation” handwriting is the preferred handwriting style of our school.
At St Monica's we believe Mathematics is essential for living. Some aspects of Mathematics are required by individuals in order to function
adequately as members of society. These aspects include strategic planning, skills and techniques and involved in understanding and applying number, choosing and using measures, computation, problem-solving and reasoning. The study of Mathematics therefore provides support for concurrent learning in other essential learning areas and builds a sound foundation for further mathematical education.
St Monica’s commenced using the the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics in 2012, The Mathematic Curriculum is organised around the interaction of three content strands and four proficiency strands.
The content strands are Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, and Statistics and Probability. They describe what is to be taught and learnt.
The proficiency strands are Understanding, Fluency, Problem Solving, and Reasoning. They describe how content is explored or developed, that is, the thinking and doing of mathematics. They provide the language to build in the developmental aspects of the learning of mathematics and have been incorporated into the content descriptions of the three content strands described above. This approach has been adopted to ensure students’ proficiency in mathematical skills develops throughout the curriculum and becomes increasingly sophisticated over the years of schooling.
Mathematics lessons occur each day from Kindergarten to Year Six for 60 minutes. All students are tested at the commencement and conclusion of each year, using a range of diagnostic testing tools. Ongoing assessment occurs at various stages throughout the term. All students have use of technology to enhance their learning.
HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES (HASS)
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.
In the Australian Curriculum, the Humanities and Social Sciences learning area includes a study of history, geography, civics and citizenship and economics and business.
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.
The Humanities and Social Science subjects in the Australian Curriculum provide a broad understanding of the world in which we live, and how people can participate as active and informed citizens with high-level skills needed for the 21st century.
Through their learning in each subject or sub-strand, students develop knowledge and understanding relating to broader enduring ideas that underpin the Humanities and Social Sciences in the Australian Curriculum, which are represented in varying ways across the subjects. The key ideas are outlined below:
Who we are, who came before us, and traditions and values that have shaped societies
Students explore their own identity, Australia’s heritage and cultural diversity, and Australia’s identity as a nation in the world. They examine the significance of traditions and shared values within society.
How societies and economies operate and how they are changing over time
Students learn about Australian society and other societies in the world, both past and present; and how they function socially, culturally, economically and politically. Students examine developments that have resulted in or are bringing about change.
The ways people, places, ideas and events are perceived and connected
Students are provided with opportunities to explore different perceptions of people, places, ideas and events. They develop an understanding of the interdependent nature of the world and the interrelationships within and between the natural environment, human communities and economies. They explore how people, ideas and events are connected over time and increasingly interconnected across local, national, regional and global contexts.
How people exercise their responsibilities, participate in society and make informed decisions
Students examine how individuals and groups have participated in and contributed to society past and present. They examine the rights and responsibilities of individuals and groups over time and in different contexts. They develop an understanding of the need to make decisions, the importance of ethical considerations and being informed when making decisions, the processes for decision-making and the implications of decisions that are made for individuals, society, the economy and the environment.
At St Monica’s the Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences will be implemented as a combined F–6 program. The F–6 Curriculum is organised into two interrelated strands: knowledge and understanding and inquiry and skills.
Table 1: Organisation of sub-strands in the Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences (F-6)'
Foundation – Year 2
Civics and Citizenship
Civics and Citizenship
Economics and Business
The teaching of Science focuses on developing a student’s capacity to
- be interested in and understand the world around them, and to reflect on and apply scientific knowledge to new learning situations and problems in personal, social and civic life and
- contribute to an environmentally sustainable future.
St Monica’s follows The Australian Curriculum: Science which is organised around three interrelated strands: Science Understanding (SU), Science as a Human Endeavour (SHE) and Science Inquiry Skills (SIS) which ‘together….provide students with understanding, knowledge and skills through which they can develop a scientific view of the world’. (Australian Curriculum: Science, ACARA, 8 December 2010).
Foundation – Year 2: Curriculum focus: awareness of self and the local world
In this stage of schooling students’ explorations are precursors to more structured inquiry in later years. They use the senses to observe and gather information, describing, making comparisons, sorting and classifying to create an order that is meaningful. They observe and explore changes that vary in their rate and magnitude and begin to describe relationships in the world around them. Students’ questions and ideas about the world become increasingly purposeful. They are encouraged to develop explanatory ideas and test them through further exploration.
Years 3–6: Curriculum focus: recognising questions that can be investigated scientifically and investigating them
During these years students can develop ideas about science that relate to their lives, answer questions, and solve mysteries of particular interest to their age
group. In this stage of schooling students tend to use a trial-and-error approach to their science investigations. As they progress, they begin to work in a more systematic way. The notion of a ‘fair test’ and the idea of variables are developed, as well as other forms of science inquiry. Understanding the importance of measurement in quantifying changes in systems is also fostered.
Through observation, students can detect similarities among objects, living things and events and these similarities can form patterns. By identifying these patterns, students develop explanations about the reasons for them. By examining living structures, Earth, changes of solids to liquids and features of light, students begin to recognise patterns in the world. The observation of aspects of astronomy, living things, heat, light and electrical circuits helps students develop the concept of a system and its interacting components, and understand the relationships, including the notion of cause and effect, between variables.
At St Monica’s we believe The Arts have the capacity to engage, inspire and enrich all students, exciting the imagination and encouraging them to reach their creative and expressive potential. The five Arts subjects in the Australian Curriculum provide opportunities for students to learn how to create, design, represent, communicate and share their imagined and conceptual ideas, emotions, observations and experiences.
Rich in tradition, the Arts play a major role in the development and expression of cultures and communities, locally, nationally and globally. Students communicate ideas in current, traditional and emerging forms and use Arts knowledge and understanding to make sense of their world.
Throughout the Australian Arts Curriculum there is a focus on valuing, respecting and exploring the significant contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to Australia’s arts heritage and contemporary arts practices, through their distinctive ways of representing and communicating knowledge, traditions and experience.
The Australian Arts Curriculum comprises five subjects:
Dance: awakens and heightens an awareness of movement sensations to develop a kinaesthetic sense and develops a knowledge and understanding of the human body and an increasing skill in its use. Dance also develops gross and fine motor skills and an increasing level of fitness.
Drama: requires students, through enactment, to view life from many perspectives, allowing students to anticipate, confront and deal with societal and personal issues. It also develops interaction skills using negotiation, cooperation and collaboration and is an effective medium for increasing self-confidence, self-esteem and self-awareness.
Media Arts: assists students to gain a deeper understanding about characterisations and representation of the community through engagement with a variety of
media: images, sounds and texts. Students use a range of media technologies to express their ideas and share their stories with others. Media Arts is an essential area for critical and creative thinking within the context of an ever-changing digital media landscape.
Music: assists students to develop a knowledge and understanding of the elements and concepts of music and is an essential form of communication. It develops aural awareness, perception and enjoyment of music.
Visual Arts: includes processes of visual thinking, visual problem solving and the development of concepts and technical skills that enables students to diversify their skills and adapt to future changes in society.
HEALTH AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION
In our rapidly changing society, there is increasing community awareness of the importance of healthy lifestyles and a growing recognition of the need for students to be active, responsible and informed decision-makers. The Health and Physical Education Key Learning Area provides students with the knowledge, practical skills and values necessary for meeting these needs and for developing a better quality of life for all, for now and in the future.
The World Health Organisation defines health as:
"..a state of complete mental, physical and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."
Individuals are said to lead a healthy lifestyle when they live in a way that allows them the greatest chance of achieving and maintaining mental and physical, social and spiritual well-being.
At St Monica's Health and Physical Education is an important key learning area as it encourages an understanding and valuing of self and others, promotes physical activity and emphasises informed decision-making leading to effective and responsible action. Children are encouraged to participate in all Physical Education activities in the spirit of good will and cooperation. As this is an integral part of St Monica’s curriculum, teachers will require a note if your child is to be exempt from such a lesson.
To develop and enhance the St Monica’s school spirit, the children are placed into one of four houses. The children are involved in team house activities throughout the year which promote fair play, team work, cooperation and good sportsmanship. Children are allocated to a house when they commence at St Monica’s; siblings are always in the same house.
Blue – Mirri Red – Buru Green - Mugga Yellow - Walga
LANGUAGES - JAPANESE
A specialised teacher teaches Japanese to the children from Kindergarten to Year 6. It is our intention to not only provide the children with a taste of the mechanics of the language but also of the culture. Each class groups receives one 40 minute session per week for at least one semester per year. Funding for this programme is supported by a Commonwealth Community grant to promote community languages in schools and funds from the Curriculum Levy.
Language programs identify five broad categories, which are relevant to all language programs at every level of schooling. The categories are Communication, Socio-cultural, Language as a System, Language and Cultural Awareness and General Knowledge.
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY
Technology is an integral component of education at St Monica’s. This component of student learning focuses on how to use a range of technology to support their thinking, learning and communication. Technology broadly encompasses digital communication systems, including computers, iPads, associated peripherals devices and software.
An Interactive Whiteboard and several laptops, with internet access, are located in each classroom. Classes also have access to banks of laptops and iPads located in various trolleys around the school. Currently, Years 4 to 6 are part of the St Monica's BYODD (Bring your own designated device) program.
Technology is integrated within the school curriculum. Children and teachers have access to software programs and computer hardware including digital cameras, printers, scanners and a digital video camera.
At St Monica’s we believe that all children should have lifelong access to high quality education and training for vocational, social and personal needs to improve the quality of their life and to prepare them to realise their potential in later years.
We recognise that, although all children have individual learning needs, there is within the school a significant proportion of students with special educational needs, for whom additional support is required if their schooling is to be rewarding; and they are to achieve educational outcomes appropriate to their individual learning needs. Some learning needs may arise from a disability, a disorder, a learning difficulty, a sensory impairment or a severe medical condition.
St Monica's has long been committed to the inclusion of children with special needs in its schools. It is the policy of the Canberra Goulburn Archdiocesan Catholic Schools System that, students with disabilities and special learning needs will be educated in age-appropriate settings in regular schools, in the mainstream classrooms. The incorporation of inclusive practices is guided by the principles of justice as reflected in Church, educational documents and legal Anti-Discrimination Acts.