At St Joseph’s, in partnership with parents/carers, we promote educational and personal excellence in our students as they grow as whole persons, attending to their spiritual, intellectual, physical, social and emotional development.
Our educational practice is expressed in our Learning Statements, based on sound educational research and formulated in consultation with staff, parents and children.
St Joseph's Learning Statements
- Children learn best in a supportive and empowering environment where children are motivated and inspired by their teachers.
- Children learn best when they are encouraged, take responsibility for their learning, and have the opportunity to reflect on and demonstrate their learning.
- Children learn best when teachers and parents work in partnership accepting, acknowledging and celebrating each child’s personal achievements.
- Children learn best when learning is purposeful and engaging, using learning activities that are well-structured, modified and relevant.
- Children learn best when teachers work as a team, plan collaboratively and draw on expertise within and beyond the school, e.g. teacher librarian, special education, ESL.
- Children learn best in a social context where they develop the skills of listening, discussion, cooperation, and reflection.
- Children learn best in an environment of wellbeing and positive mental health.
Key Learning Areas
St Joseph’s follows the curriculum documents from the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), for the six key learning areas of English, Mathematics, History and Geography, Science and Technology, Creative Arts, and Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) and Religious Education – Sharing Our Story, from the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta.
Professional learning opportunities for teaching staff are provided to assist in the Australia Curriculum areas.
More information about the curriculum is available on the Australian Curriculum website.
At St Joseph’s, we believe that literacy is integral to all key learning areas and is vital to the development of the whole child. We are committed to providing quality teaching and learning experiences that cater for individual needs and learning styles, and improve academic outcomes of all students. We provide a balanced English program including reading, writing, talking and listening based on the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) English K–6 document, to achieve success for each child. We incorporate modelled, shared, guided, and independent teaching and learning experiences. All staff members are given ongoing professional development opportunities to ensure best practice is maintained at our school.
Assessment and reflection informs our classroom practice. We are committed to early intervention for children at risk through the provision of specialist programs and resources. Learning support programs assist teachers and students, and cater for individual student needs. We use quality literature, an essential part of an effective English program, and information technology is integrated naturally into each stage of our English program. Parents are encouraged to help during the Literacy Block.
At St Joseph’s, we believe that Mathematics is an essential life skill that helps us make sense of our environment. We think that Mathematics should be meaningful for children, and we encourage the development of mathematical thinking to solve problems. Through identifying and exploring patterns and relationships, children learn to apply concepts and skills to problems in their world.
Students are provided with a well-balanced Mathematics program covering each of the strands from the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Mathematics K-6 document:
- Working Mathematically
- Patterns and Algebra
- Space and Geometry.
Through exploration, discussion and the sharing of discoveries and experiences, students’ understanding develops from the concrete stage to the abstract.
Music plays an integral part in the life of St Joseph’s students. It enhances the prayer life of the community; it is a source of entertainment at events, such as school assemblies, discos and end-of-year functions; and it provides students with an opportunity for meaningful self-expression. At St Joseph’s, music is taught in accordance with the guidelines set out in the NESA NSW Creative Arts K-6 syllabus. Each student participates in formal music lessons within their classroom. Music is also integrated into other key learning areas. Part of our music program involves performances by professional musicians. Students at St Joseph’s have the opportunity to participate in the school’s choir, talent quests and in the Diocesan Creative Arts Expo.
The children at St Joseph’s are fortunate to have their artistic talents expressed, fostered and valued. Each class participates in Visual Arts lessons. During these sessions, the learning experiences are adapted to school or class contexts, paying close attention to the needs of individual students. The children are exposed to a variety of art-making techniques, which include drawing, painting, colouring, and paper craft.
The Drama program is designed in accordance with the NESA NSW Creative Arts K-6 syllabus. This document organises dramatic skill and understanding into the areas of creating, performing and appreciating. Students from K-6 participate in lessons that explore many aspects of dramatic experiences, including mime, improvisation and movement. Lessons incorporate learning specific skills and performance opportunities. Students move from the familiar, such as nursery rhymes and traditional stories, through to abstract experience in the creation of their work. They are encouraged to develop and extend their skills, both individually and in groups, and respond constructively to others.
In Dance, students develop knowledge, skills and understanding in composing, performing and appreciating their own dances, and those of others. Our students participate in cultural experiences, including Indigenous Australians' dance, and are given the opportunity to perform in our talent show in Term 3. Dance is also a component of the PDHPE key learning area.
History and Geography
The aim of History and Geography is to develop in students the values and attitudes, skills, and knowledge and understandings that:
- enhance their sense of personal, community, national, and global identity
- enable them to participate effectively in maintaining and improving the quality of their society and environment.
Learning in History and Geography involves sharing ideas and working cooperatively in groups. Many opportunities are made for the students to work together, enabling them to better understand the diverse nature of people in the classroom, school, broader community, and the world. Students in K-6 participate in lessons where they learn about change and continuity, culture, the environment, and social systems and structures. Skills are taught in acquiring information, using the inquiry process, and social and civic participation.
Science and Technology
Science and Technology is the area through which all students learn about the natural and made environment by investigating, designing and making, and using technology.
Due to the rapidly changing nature of development in the science area, the outcome of Science education is to provide students with the processes and skills required to access knowledge. Science education assists students to understand themselves and the environment, and provides opportunities for them to develop independent rational thought and responsible action. Students in K-6 participate in lessons where emphasis is on first-hand experiences, investigation, design and make, problem solving, and clarifying understandings.
As technology continues to influence and shape our world, it is not surprising that it is also bringing about dramatic change in the classroom. The technology within the school is enhanced by the use of computers, ipads and interactive whiteboards within the learning spaces. The library has a bank of computers which are used specifically for research, using the internet and accessing specific software. With internet access throughout the school, emphasis is on utilising technology to support learning. The children are encouraged to access the internet, and are supported in its use to enrich learning, to locate information and to broaden their knowledge and understanding of world issues.
The children are very comfortable using ipads, computers, digital cameras, data projectors, and network printers to enhance their learning and presentations. Students learn skills in basic graphics, information and communication, spreadsheets, software, word processing, and multimedia. They are also supported to be discerning in their internet use and ethical use of information.
Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE)
The aim of the PDHPE curriculum is to develop in each student the knowledge and understanding, skills, values and attitudes needed to lead healthy, active and fulfilling lives. This syllabus is directly concerned with supporting the development of the student as a whole person. Learning in PDHPE extends beyond the planned classroom lesson and is reinforced by the pastoral care program, the school canteen, the Religious Education program, and other ‘health-promoting’ activities. Each class receives two hours of structured physical activity per week.
PDHPE is an important key learning area as it:
- encourages an understanding and valuing of self and others
- promotes physical activity
- emphasises informed decision-making leading to effective and responsible action.