In Victoria, Catholic primary schools have a particularly strong emphasis on engaging students in a faith-based education where high standards are maximised in all areas of the curriculum, particularly in literacy and numeracy. Our schools provide an environment which encourages your child to be confident and excited about learning from the start of school life.
The child is at the centre of all learning arrangements in Catholic schools. Catholic schools recognise that students are individuals, each with diverse learning needs. Teachers design learning experiences that are responsive to the different ways in which students achieve their best.
Our schools provide facilities that enable your child to use and develop skills in various technologies, as well as to learn in engaging and effective ways.
Deep learning and powerful teaching
In their approach to learning, teachers in Catholic schools:
- aim to maximise growth and progress for all students
- enable students to develop deep understandings about the world and how to operate effectively in that world
- build capacity for lifelong learning
- use questions and issues as drivers for learning
- create flexible learning opportunities in response to the different ways in which students learn and achieve their best
- encourage children and young people to be empowered about their rights and participate in decisions affecting them
- encourage effective use of technologies to deepen and accelerate student learning, both inside and outside school
- encourage learners to think and work creatively, explore and experiment, plan and reflect, communicate and collaborate
- create learning opportunities in different environments within and beyond the classroom.
Our primary school curriculum
The curriculum is planned carefully to ensure the development of the whole child, including intellectual, spiritual, physical, emotional and social dimensions.
The curriculum is based on the dignity of the human person, a culture of community, and a commitment to social justice and service for the common good. It is designed to prepare students to be lifelong learners who can respond creatively to the challenges of the future, including rapid developments in science and technology, the environment, global activity and social change.
All our schools meet the curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements set by the Victorian and Australian governments. Catholic schools base their curriculum on the Victorian Curriculum F–10, including Towards Foundation Levels A–D, which sets out what every student should learn during their first 11 years of schooling.
The curriculum is the common set of knowledge and skills required by students for lifelong learning, social development, and active and informed citizenship. The Victorian Curriculum F–10 incorporates the Australian Curriculum, and reflects Victorian priorities and standards.
Most of our primary schools use an integrated curriculum to structure the teaching and learning program. This helps students make meaningful links between different learning areas and supports the exploration of ideas and themes of study, particularly through an inquiry approach to learning.
For more information on the Victorian Curriculum, see https://victoriancurriculum.vcaa.vic.edu.au.
Our schools invite and support students to discover God’s presence in their daily lives. With a faith-oriented world view, founded in Scripture and in the traditions of the Catholic community − its stories, its worship, its experiences and its teachings, students are challenged and supported to understand themselves and the society in which they live.
Religious education is at the centre of the Catholic school curriculum, and is reflected in a visible Catholic symbolic culture and active sacramental and liturgical practice. Religious education explores students’ life experiences in the context of Church teachings and tradition. Participation in religious education is compulsory for all students in all of our schools.
Christian education in sexuality
Our schools are encouraged to implement an evidence-based curriculum program in positive human relationships and human sexuality, in line with the universal teaching of the Church, based on the particular character of the local community and in partnership with parents.
In accordance with Ministerial Order No. 1359 and the Child Safe Standards, schools also seek to support children and young people to understand respectful and responsible behaviour towards others, identify safe and unsafe situations, and develop skills and strategies for seeking help and learning self-protection.
English and literacy
The study of English helps create confident communicators, imaginative thinkers and informed citizens. It helps students to become ethical, thoughtful, informed and active members of society. English also helps students to engage imaginatively and critically with literature to expand the scope of their experience.
Literacy is fundamental to your child’s learning progress. Our schools devote a high level of resources to literacy programs to improve learning and student achievement across all years of schooling, but especially in the first few years.
Our schools monitor student literacy achievement and use results to plan for students’ distinct learning needs. Where learning needs are identified, in consultation with parents, teachers will differentiate and implement appropriate adjustments and interventions to support the student’s personalised educational program.
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 social lives.
To address the needs of all students, teachers use assessment data to develop learning experiences that build understanding, as well as consolidate and extend mathematical knowledge and skills.
Health and physical education
Health and physical education teaches students how to enhance their own and others’ health, safety, wellbeing and physical activity. The health and physical education learning area has strong foundations in scientific fields such as physiology, nutrition, biomechanics and psychology, which inform what we understand about healthy, safe and active choices. Health and physical education offers students a curriculum that is challenging, enjoyable and physically active.
Our schools promote the development of a healthy lifestyle by providing a well-organised and active environment in which students can participate in a wide range of sports and physical activities. As well as improving fitness, participation in sport and physical education develops a sense of fair play, self-confidence and an ability to work with others as part of a team.
Physical education is timetabled for all students from Foundation (Prep) onwards. Opportunities are provided for students to participate in a large range of sports at school levels.
Technologies ensures that all students benefit from learning about and working with the many forms of technology that shape the world in which we live.
This learning area encourages students to apply their knowledge, practical skills and processes when using technologies and other resources to create innovative solutions that meet current and future needs. The technologies learning area includes design and technologies, and digital technologies.
The humanities learning area comprises history, geography, economics and business, and civics and citizenship.
History aims to ensure that students develop knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the past and the forces that shape societies, including Australian society, as well as understanding and use of historical concepts, such as chronology, evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, and significance.
Geography is a structured way of exploring, analysing and understanding the characteristics of the places that make up our world, using concepts like place, environment, sustainability and change. It addresses scales from the personal to the global and time periods from a few years to thousands of years.
Economics and business explores the ways individuals, families, communities, businesses and governments make decisions in relation to the allocation of resources. It aims to enable students to understand the process of economic and business decision-making and its effects on them and others, now and in the future.
Civics and citizenship enables students to investigate political and legal systems, and explore the nature of citizenship, diversity and identity in contemporary society.
The arts learning area enables exploration of the dynamic relationships between the six arts subjects: dance, drama, media arts, music, visual arts and visual communication design. This involves students making and responding to artworks in many forms using various materials, techniques and technologies. Within all arts subjects, design facilitates the creative and practical realisation of ideas.
Science provides a way of answering interesting and important questions about the world. The knowledge it produces has proved to be a basis for action in our personal, social and economic lives. Science is a dynamic, collaborative and creative human endeavour arising from our desire to make sense of our world through exploring the unknown, investigating universal mysteries, making predictions and solving problems.
All students in a Catholic school are entitled to benefit from a quality language-learning experience. The study of languages is an integral part of a broad and balanced education for all learners. An understanding of more than one language offers students cultural and intellectual advantages, and the potential to become genuine citizens of the world.
For details of programs offered by the Victorian School of Languages, see www.vsl.vic.edu.au.
Capabilities are explicitly taught and developed in Catholic schools, supporting students to manage their own wellbeing, relate well to others and make informed decisions about their lives. Students develop as citizens who behave with ethical integrity, relate to and communicate with people and across cultures, think creatively and critically, work for the common good, and act with responsibility at local, regional and global levels. These capabilities encompass the knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions that, together with curriculum content in each learning area and the cross-curriculum priorities, will assist students to live and work successfully in the twenty-first century.
Leadership and peer support programs
Where opportunities are available, students are encouraged to be involved in student representative councils (SRCs) and programs within their local community.
There are several leadership and peer support programs available in schools to encourage self-awareness and personal development. The ‘buddy’ system, where an older student is assigned to support a younger student, is common in schools and has two main benefits − the older student learns to take on leadership and responsibility, while the younger student knows there is a student at school to whom they can turn for assistance.