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Learning & Teaching

St Paul Apostle North Primary School

The staff, students and parent community of St. Paul Apostle North are committed to providing a personalised, inclusive learning environment which strengthens the Catholic identity of our students and enables all students to flourish; academically, emotionally, socially, spiritually and physically.

We teach the whole child and understand the importance of knowing each student; their personalities, interests, family background, strengths and challenges – so we place relationships and wellbeing at the centre of our teaching. Student learning is enhanced by ongoing partnership between key stakeholders within our school and local community. A cohesive and collaborative whole school approach ensures consistency and positive outcomes for students as they progress along the learning continuum. We endeavour to equip our students with the critical tools and skills to adapt and succeed in an ever-changing and increasingly global community. By inspiring and empowering them to be the change-makers within our school and local community, we aim to instill a belief that they can enact change, to make a difference in our world.

Education in Faith

St. Paul Apostle North Primary School is a learning community committed to developing the faith of all students, staff and families. We celebrate our Faith in the tradition of the Catholic Church, where the teachings and values of Jesus Christ and our Patron Saint, Paul,  encourage us to lead our lives as active witnesses in   the local and wider community.     

 

The central focus of the Religious Education program at St Paul Apostle North Primary School is to make meaningful links between faith and life, building positive relationships with one another to enhance the sense of belonging within our school community. Our deep learning experiences through contemporary and consistent practices provide opportunities for students and families to participate in the life of the school and wider community as we act for justice and seek the common good for all.  Our school respects the diverse cultures, worldviews and backgrounds of students and families. Students are empowered to seek truth, ask questions and make meaningful connections in their life.

 

Horizons of Hope – Vision    

Horizons of Hope – Religious Dimension 

 

At St Paul Apostle North, our Religious Education Curriculum is guided by the framework set out in Horizons of Hope, a contemporary guide created by Catholic Education Melbourne.  The Catholic Social Teaching principles are embedded in the Pedagogy of Encounter to bring about the full potential of the Religious experience. The primary Religious Education Curriculum Framework is used to implement the To Know, Worship & Love resources, in which standards and stages of student development are taught through the inquiry process. This ensures that a faith seeking understanding approach is achieved.

 

Students explore concepts pertaining to:

  • Knowledge and Understanding by demonstrating skills to assist students to live the values of the Gospel.

  • Reasoning and Responding by developing critical and analytical thinking skills.

  • Personal and Communal Engagement by encouraging students to behave as active and socially just citizens in the school, Parish and wider Community.

  • Scripture and Jesus by developing students’ understanding and ability to interpret  scripture in light of Jesus as a positive social role model.

  • Prayer, Liturgy and Sacraments; by providing students and parents with support and opportunities to pray, meditate, celebrate Mass and liturgy and commence or continue on their personal sacramental journey.

  •  God, Religion and Life by encouraging students to make  connections between Catholicism, Christianity and the morality of everyday life in the school, Parish and wider community.

At each level, learning is focused on the dimensions of religious learning and the key practices and beliefs students need to engage with at that stage of their faith journey. 

Sacrament Program

St Paul Apostle’s Sacramental Program is parish based. The school works in partnership with parents to support the child’s faith journey.  The children prepare for the Sacraments at the following levels:

  • Grade 4 Reconciliation and Eucharist

  • Grade 6 Confirmation

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Literacy

“Literacy is the jump-off point from which all of life’s successes take flight”

 

At St Paul Apostle North we believe that every learner flourishes through the explicit and effective teaching of literacy skills. Our Literacy program aims to develop and nurture each student's love of reading and writing as they actively engage in an ever changing world.

We provide many opportunities for our students to interact orally, to read and write every day within a real life context which involves whole group, small group and individual instruction. Students at St Paul Apostle North are encouraged to problem solve, self regulate and monitor their own learning in a collaborative setting.

 

Our students for whom English is an additional language are supported through the use of the EAL Developmental Continuum which assists teachers to identify students’ current stage of English language development. This assessment can be used for reporting purposes and to plan for purposeful teaching for individuals and small groups of students with similar needs.

 

 We believe our effective Literacy Program:

  • uses ongoing assessment to personalise the learning for every student

  • uses the Victorian Curriculum to inform all learning, teaching and reporting

  • focuses on building oral language through the use of big books, the oral language program and our play based curriculum.

  • builds comprehension skills through questioning, text studies and explicit teaching 

  • teaches spelling through the SMART spelling program which allows for personalised learning 

  • provides Literacy Intervention to students at risk –Fountas and Pinnell Levelled Literacy Intervention, ERIK (Enhanced Reading Intervention Knowledge), ERIKsen (Enhanced Reading Intervention Knowledge Second Edition), Moon Dog and Cars and Stars comprehension 

  • incorporates explicit and scaffolded teaching during whole class shared reading/writing and small focus reading/writing groups

  • is structured, sequential and incorporates evidence based practices and strategies

  • provides students with opportunities to practise skills and strategies during independent learning time

  • provides professional development to build teacher capacity to enable high quality teaching

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Numeracy

At St Paul Apostle North we understand that mathematics is integral to the successful participation in modern society. Mathematical competence enhances a student’s understanding of the world and increases a student’s ability to participate effectively in society. We recognise that maths is all around us and endeavour to integrate it across the curriculum.

 

Mathematics is more than numbers, we make connections to other disciplines and apply mathematical concepts, skills and processes to pose and solve problems, aligned with the Victorian Curriculum.

 

The staff gather data through purposeful assessments, to inform planning so that students are at the centre of all learning experiences, targeting their point of need. The content is delivered in a stimulating learning environment equipped with resources, including concrete materials, technology and learning aides, so the children can deepen understanding, while developing collaboration and critical thinking skills. We strive to nurture students to be creative thinkers, resilient, inquisitive and confident risk takers. 

 

The staff continue to utilise evidence-based, best practice models, while integrating proficiency in problem solving, reasoning, fluency and understanding across all areas of the Mathematical Curriculum. Mental Maths is an important focus in our school, as it is a skill set that helps students make connections between ideas, facilitating the learning of new concepts. It is a process whereby students perform calculations in their head, without the use of aides or materials. 

 

 

 At St Paul Apostle North we believe that all students can achieve success and enjoy Mathematics.

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Walker Learning

Personalised Learning

Walker learning is a highly structured and responsive approach to learning for each individual student. It creates an ethos in which all students are able to participate, progress and achieve.

Walker Learning is about ensuring that every student achieves their full potential during their school years and are better prepared for life-long learning. It is concerned with transforming education and schooling to best fit citizens in the 21st century. Personalised Learning is about the tailoring of pedagogy, curriculum and learning support to meet the needs, interests and aptitudes of all learners.

St Paul Apostle North Primary School is passionate about placing the student at the centre of learning and teaching strategies. Our students are actively engaged in their own personal investigations to meet learning intentions and goals. Students learn with the explicit teaching of skills and understandings at the point of need within dynamic learning environments.

Our students display:

  • Higher levels of engagement and motivation

  • Higher oral language skills

  • Increased writing

  • Increased social skills

  • Decreased behavioural problems

 

At St Paul Apostle NORTH School we value the individuality of each member of our community and the unique gifts and talents they bring.

Therefore we believe:

  • Learning occurs in different ways and at different rates.

  • Learning needs to be meaningful, challenging, relevant, exciting and build on previous knowledge and skills.

  • Opportunities should be given for learners to practise and apply the skills they have learnt in a variety of ways.

  • Collaboration and discussion about learning are important.

  • Learning should incorporate goal setting and taking responsibility for our own learning.

  • Learning is a lifelong journey that, while at school, we are undertaking together as a community.

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Inquiry

At St Paul Apostle North, we believe in a student-centered pedagogy where students’ interests, passions and spirituality inform our teaching. We provide a safe and nurturing environment that allows every child the opportunity to flourish; developing a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around them. Designing authentic, purposeful units of learning, which intertwine all curriculum areas, to reflect real-world experiences, developing relevant, life skills that will set them up for success in our globalised world. 

Aims

At St Paul Apostle North, we are committed to:

  • Equipping students to be active participants, encouraging students to engage, question and explore the world around them. 

  • Nurturing an excitement of learning within all students building upon their interests to encourage creativity, independence and responsible learners. 

  • Ensuring that learning is both meaningful and relevant to the students. 

  • Developing ethical and socially-aware students with an ability to solve problems and make informed, evidence-based decisions, in line with the Catholic Social Teaching

 

Implementation

Two Year RE & Inquiry Cycle 

Our two year RE & Inquiry cycle is developed with community, students and curriculum at the forefront. The cycle encompasses eight concepts, strategically chosen by the school community, as we believe they are essential to our students’ knowledge and understanding of the world, in conjunction with the entitlements of the Victorian Curriculum - incorporating all Humanities (Geography, History, Civics & Citizenship, Economics & Business), Science (Chemical, Physical & Biological), Technologies, Capabilities (Intercultural, Ethical, Personal & Social, Critical Thinking) and English & Mathematics where applicable.

 

Each term throughout the whole school, teachers design rich learning experiences that are focused on a particular concept, with the aim of nurturing students’ innate sense of curiosity, wonder and awe, engaging them to ask questions, investigate and problem solve. Teachers develop specific investigations that build knowledge of given topics while at the same time expanding students’ ability to gather, process and make thoughtful use of information. 

Whole School Two Year Plan

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STEM

At St Paul Apostle North Primary School we strive to educate our students for the future. By incorporating STEM throughout the curriculum, our students become passionate learners, with inquisitive minds, who take control of their own learning. The rich and authentic STEM experiences that the students engage in incorporate a variety of science, technology, engineering and math opportunities.

Our Walker Learning program allows students to have a voice from Prep to Grade 6 by sharing their interests to delving into research projects. This method of learning fosters curiosity, creating engaged learners who can adapt their thinking. In our ever-changing world these skills are more vital than ever before.

We believe that learning happens in a wide variety of environments; therefore bringing children outside to allow them to experience the world around them is an important part of our STEM program. Our school’s location allows us to take advantage of the tranquil reserve that we have right on our doorstep. Outdoor education allows us to teach life skills and provide hands on experiences, enhancing students’ engagement in learning. 

At St Paul Apostle North we use a variety of devices as tools of learning, including laptops, Chromebooks and iPads. In our junior school, children have opportunities to develop their skills through the use of ipads. As students progress into the middle and senior areas of the school 1:1 Chromebooks are required. This allows students to deepen their understanding of the use of technology and the responsibility involved. 

The teaching of robotics and coding assists our students with an early understanding of programming whilst also developing their mathematical understanding and skills. We aim to deliver programs which provide meaningful computational thinking, computer programming and 21st-century education in an engaging, hands-on way. Engaging with robotics teaches the importance of collaboration, as well as developing students’ critical thinking skills. We are developing our robotics program through the use of Beebots and unplugged activities in the Junior school and Edison Robots, Coding programs and Makey Makey in the Senior school.

At St Paul Apostle North, we believe in the vital partnership between home and school, therefore one important component of our learning is our digital portfolio. This is an ongoing, flexible record of students’ learning in all areas of the curriculum, driven by the students’ interests and creativity. Across the school, students record their

thinking and learning through videos and photographs that are shared with families in real time through the Seesaw platform. Thus bridging the gap between home and school to embed a real sense of community.

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Visual Arts

All grades have fortnightly 60 minute sessions in our Art room with the Visual Arts specialist teacher. The Art curriculum gives students the chance to create, make, explore and respond to various elements, mediums and tools. We provide students with the chance to learn and develop new art skills. Students are given the opportunity to use various art materials in the form of construction, sculpture, collage, painting, drawing, printmaking and textiles. Within these forms students are taught various skills including: line, shape, space, texture, colour, form, tone, contrast, balance and pattern.

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Performing Arts

The Performing Arts program is a vibrant part of our school with an emphasis on music education. Through music-making experiences we aim to nurture in children an enjoyment and understanding of the performing arts (Music/ Dance/ Drama) which will enrich the quality and creativity of their lives. Music is also an important part of our liturgical celebrations both at school and in the parish community.

In developing a cohesive and progressive music program, students are given opportunities to acquire musical knowledge (rhythm, melody, harmony, expression, tone colour, style, form, theory, history) through a balanced program of musical experiences (singing, moving, dancing, playing instruments, listening, creating).

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Physical Education

We have a large gymnasium and great outdoor facilities. We provide a well-balanced, comprehensive program covering the following areas :

  • Athletics, Ball handling / Fundamental Motor Skills

  • Fitness Gymnastics / Movement

  • Dance Games / Sport Education

  • Outdoor Adventure Activities (Year 5 & 6 Camp)

  • Interschool Swimming, Cross-Country, Athletics (Year 4- 6)

  • Interschool Sports (Year 5 & 6)

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LOTE - Mandarin

The vision statement of St Paul Apostle North informs the teaching philosophy and goal setting for the school’s Language Other than English (LOTE) program. Students exposed to languages other than English benefit in numerous ways, which include an improvement of general linguistic skills and an appreciation of different cultures and attitudes. Experiencing the contrasts and similarities of a different language and culture assists students in learning more about their own language and way of life. Australia not only enjoys a rich domestic multicultural environment but is also geographically located in the Asia-Pacific region which is in itself a culturally diverse and dynamic region of the world. A strong and rich LOTE program enables students to engage and better understand cultures from neighbouring countries in a growing context of globalisation and modern communication.

In Grades 3 to 6 the emphasis of the program has been placed on developing students’ capacity to communicate orally in Mandarin about topics associated with their interests. Students are involved in a range of spoken models in Mandarin, supported by visual material and gestures that reinforce meaning. Students also develop skills in recording information gained through listening, speaking and oral interaction. Students in Prep – Year 2 also learn to sing songs in Mandarin. Songs and rhymes assist in the development of spoken language in the early years of a student’s education.

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Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden

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