Learning & Teaching
At Stella Maris Catholic Primary School we are committed to supporting all students to become successful learners, confident individuals and active and informed citizens as articulated in the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. www.mceetya.edu.au
- develop their capacity to learn and play an active role in their own learning
- have the essential skills in literacy and numeracy and are creative and productive users of technology, especially ICT, as a foundation for success in all learning areas
- are able to think deeply and logically, and obtain and evaluate evidence in a disciplined way as the result of studying fundamental disciplines
- are creative, innovative and resourceful, and are able to solve problems in ways that draw upon a range of learning areas and disciplines
- are able to plan activities independently, collaborate, work in teams and communicate ideas
- are able to make sense of their world and think about how things have become the way they are
- are on a pathway towards continued success in further education, training or employment, and acquire the skills to make informed learning and employment decisions throughout their lives
- are motivated to reach their full potential.
Confident and creative individuals…
- have a sense of self-worth, self-awareness and personal identity that enables them to manage their emotional, mental, spiritual and physical wellbeing
- have a sense of optimism about their lives and the future
- are enterprising, show initiative and use their creative abilities
- develop personal values and attributes such as honesty, resilience, empathy and respect for others
- have the knowledge, skills, understanding and values to establish and maintain healthy, satisfying lives
- have the confidence and capability to pursue university or post-secondary vocational qualifications leading to rewarding and productive employment
- relate well to others and form and maintain healthy relationships
are well prepared for their potential life roles as family, community and workforce members
- embrace opportunities, make rational and informed decisions about their own lives and accept responsibility for their own actions.
Active and informed citizens…
- act moral and ethical integrity
- appreciate Australia’s social, cultural, linguistic and religious diversity, and have an understanding of Australia’s system of government, history and culture
- understand and acknowledge the value of Indigenous cultures and possess the knowledge, skills and understanding to contribute to, and benefit from, reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians
- are committed to national values of democracy, equity and justice, and participate in Australia’s civic life
- are able to relate to and communicate across cultures, especially the cultures and countries of Asia
- work for the common good, in particular sustaining and improving natural and social environments
- are responsible global and local citizens.
Learning & Teaching Overview
Our Catholic school at Stella Maris is a sacred landscape where faith, culture and life are in dialogue and where learners are empowered to shape and enrich their world with meaning, purpose and hope derived from their encounter with life and the teachings of Jesus.
At Stella Maris our Curriculum is based on the Victorian Curriculum. We ensure that the learning and teaching offered to our students is rigorous, relevant and personalised. The learning and teaching approach in Years P–6 is inquiry integrated based that aims to engage our students in the contemporary world by:
- Supporting the learner.
- Enabling the learner.
- Engaging the learner in a contemporary world.
Our curriculum is designed to engage students in the contemporary world leads students to develop deep understandings about themselves, others and the world. Building learning relationships within the global and local community creates authentic opportunities for students to learn from and with others.
Powerful learning experiences enable students to take responsibility for themselves and commit to authentic action.
Teaching and Learning programs at Stella Maris also support and promote the principles and practice of Australian Democracy which includes a commitment to the elected Government, equal rights for all before the law, freedom of Religion, speech and association and the values of openness and tolerance. The nine values for Australian Schooling are on display in the foyer of the school. The values are; Care and Compassion, Doing Your best, Fair Go, Freedom, Honesty & Trustworthiness, Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Understanding, Tolerance & Inclusion. The children discuss and embrace these values through their application in their everyday lives.
At Stella Maris School we believe that active and effective participation in Australian society depends on the ability to speak, listen, read, view and write with confidence, purpose and enjoyment. At Stella Maris we are committed to providing positive and purposeful Literacy experiences trough a balanced, challenging and engaging program. Our students are empowered to think critically, read widely and communicate confidently in order to be successful and independent life-long learners. Students develop effective communication skills and gain meaning and enjoyment whilst developing their language for life.
The Stella Maris English Program aims to:
- Provide a comprehensive curriculum which meets the needs of all students and follows the guidelines set out in the Victorian Curriculum.
- Keep detailed data on each child so that assessment is current and drives the teaching in the classrooms
- Develop in students a knowledge of the ways in which language varies according to context, purpose, audience and content, and the capacity to apply this knowledge in Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing
- Use contemporary tools and a broad of a range of texts to enhance student engagement in English
- Provide opportunities for students to develop the capacity to relate texts to aspects of contemporary society and personal experience.
- Provide opportunities for students to develop a knowledge of the ways textual interpretation and understanding may vary according to cultural, social and personal differences, and the capacity to develop reasoned arguments about interpretation and meaning.
- Provide a Reading Recovery Program and other special intervention programs for students with specific needs
- Provide Leadership support for English
Reading Recovery is a short term, early literacy intervention, which assists students in Year 1 who have not yet established effective reading and writing processes. Students are selected for Reading Recovery based on individual measures of assessment and teacher judgement. Their classroom literacy program is then supplemented with daily one-to-one lessons of 30 minutes. The series of lessons runs for 12-20 weeks with a specially trained teacher.
Mathematics provides students with essential mathematical skills and knowledge in Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, and Statistics and Probability. It develops the numeracy capabilities that all students need in their personal, work and civic life, and provides the fundamentals on which mathematical specialties and professional applications of mathematics are built.
At Stella Maris, we use various forms of pre and post testing to inform the teaching and learning of Mathematics. A range of formal and informal assessments enable us to support the students as they develop a deep understanding of mathematical concepts. Rich, open-ended learning tasks are used within each classroom to cater for the various levels of understanding and enable students to build upon and extend their current knowledge.
The teachers integrate the use of concrete materials, cooperative tasks, games, computers, and the teaching of problem solving strategies for real life situations. Teachers and students both use the Mathletics online resource for planning, lessons, assessment and games.
The Visual Arts Curriculum at Stella Maris is exciting and dynamic with a wide range of materials and techniques being explored. All students enjoy creating and making art works with the VELS Curriculum in areas such as drawing, painting, pastels, collage, ceramics, textiles, printing, recyclables, environmental objects, sculpture and mixed media.
The primary ‘Elements of Art’ are Line, Shape, Colour, Tone and Texture. These are taught, refined and explored along with the ‘Principals of Art’ such as Balance, Movement, Proportion, Contrast, Unity, Variety, Pattern, Symmetry, and Depth.
Visual Arts at Stella Maris is a wonderful exciting and educational part of the whole school Curriculum. Students often work outside as well as the classroom.
At Level 1 entry the students are introduced to a variety of art mediums with a focus on refining and developing those early fine motor skills.
At Level 2 the students will be more confident with the specific techniques and accompanying skills within the adventurous creative Art Curriculum.
From Level 3 on the students expand their understanding of the Visual Arts in a wider sense with the integration of an exploring and responding component. The wider community and established Australian and International Artists are incorporated with the practical fun creating of 2D and 3D art works within the classroom.
At Level 4 the students have developed a real sense of their own art ‘style’. Their confidence and preparedness to experiment with the materials and techniques further enhances the final art pieces produced individually and collaboratively.
In Performing Arts, students select and combine dramatic elements such as voice, movement and gesture to produce exciting dramatic pieces. Students discover communication skills through engaging activities and games that foster creativity and positive relationships.
Each year the whole school participates in Music Count Us In. Through this program, song writing, use of instruments and performance are explored.
Students learn about the function of Performing Arts in the community by participating in our bi-annual whole school concert.
Information Technologies (ICT) at Stella Maris is used as a learning tool designed to transform students learning and enrich their learning environment. The use of a wide range of ICT software develops new thinking and learning skills to produce innovative and creative insights. Students are able to produce more productive ways of working and solving problems individually and cooperatively through the use of ICT.
Students participate in digital learning classes once a fortnight.
Students are progressively introduced to a broad range of skills including applied technology, databases, desktop publishing, graphics, multimedia, operating environments, programming, spreadsheets, telecommunications and word processing. Skills in these areas are applied to complete a variety of projects as the children explore the world of learning. The students become familiar with the use of a variety of ICT hardware and software, they learn how to operate equipment safely and apply the protocols of internet safety.
Students have access to computers, including desktops, laptops and Ipads, in their classrooms at all times of the day. Various applications are used by teachers in all areas of learning and particularly in Mathematics and English. Students are introduced to computers when they begin Prep and continue through to Year 6.
The Cybersmart website is a useful source of resources and information about being safe online, for parents and children.
Government Cybersafety Advice: https://education.gov.au/cybersafety-schools
Health & Physical Education
Health and Physical Education offers experiential learning, with a curriculum that is relevant, engaging, contemporary, physically active, enjoyable and developmentally appropriate.
Students develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to strengthen their sense of self, and build and manage satisfying relationships. Engaging in physical activity, and games, contributes to a sense of community and social connectedness. It helps students to be resilient, and to make decisions and take actions to promote their health, safety and physical activity participation.
When humans develop autonomy in all fundamental movement skills, such as the run, skip, jump, catch and kick, we acquire the movement competence to be able to play a wide range of sports. Our level of movement competence and health-related physical fitness also promotes lifelong participation in physical activity, sports and outdoor recreation. The benefits of lifelong participation are vital to increased health and wellbeing.
Health is taught in collaboration with the classroom teachers and the Physical Education (PE) specialist. Aside from weekly PE lessons, upper primary students participate in the Cheltenham district interschool sport competition in the first semester, and a school Bike Education Program in the second semester. Foundation to Year 6 students participate in the annual school athletics carnival and Years 3 – 6 also compete in the annual cross country and swimming carnivals.
What do we want to achieve in Primary School?
- Enjoyment of a healthy & active lifestyle
- Efficient fundamental movement skills
- Positive social and teamwork skills
- Memories of a variety of movement experiences
All Stella Maris all students, from Preparatory to Year Six, learn Japanese. The focus is to equip our youngsters to feel comfortable and confident with another language and to be familiar with the culture of Japan. This is done through the use of games, songs and stories. Curriculum content is related to the Integrated Units covered by the classroom teacher and links across curricula are made wherever appropriate.
As the children progress through the school their skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing in Japanese are developed. The Hiragana phonetic script is introduced at the Preparatory level and is developed as students advance through their years at school.
Where possible, opportunities are provided for Japanese native speakers to visit and spend time in classes with the children. This benefits the children enormously in terms of experiencing authentic Japanese culture first hand and creating empathy and cultural connections.
Years Five and Six students also have the opportunity of communicating with students in Japan, both live (via Skype) and by correspondence. Skype exchanges with school students in Japan are scheduled at least once each school term.
Stella Maris will establish a formal “sister school” relationship with the Tsutsujigaoka Primary School in Japan from term two in 2016. The school is in Nabari, a city of about 80,000, located in the central Mie Prefecture on Honshu Island, the largest and most populous island of Japan.
Stella Maris Library
Students are encouraged to borrow fortnightly in class visits from our extensive library collections which are continually being updated to ensure their interest and relevance for students and staff.
Our Library is a welcoming and friendly space which is open on Thursday lunchtimes for students to read, borrow, talk about books or assist with library tasks. Year 6 students have the opportunity to be Library/ICT Leaders. As a leader students assist with Library organisational tasks such as shelving and creating displays. The Library promotes whole school events such as Premiers Reading Challenge and CBCA Book Week.
The programs of and the teaching in Stella Maris School support and promote principles and practice of Australian democracy, including a commitment to:
- Elected Government;
- The rule of law;
- Equal rights for all before the law;
- Freedom of religion;
- Freedom of speech and association;
- The values of openness and tolerance.