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Our Learning & Teaching
Our Lady of the Assumption
Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Primary School
At Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Primary School we seek to prepare our students for their future by teaching them to be critical and creative problem solvers, who can work collaboratively with others to achieve shared goals. Teachers plan, assess and report according to the standards of the Victorian Curriculum and adjust their teaching in order to ensure that all students enjoy access to the full curriculum.
The focus of learning for students is on Religious Education, English, Mathematics, The Arts, Health and Physical Education and the Personal and Social capabilities, with students having the opportunity to explore Science and the Humanities through an inquiry based approach.
Once a week students enjoy Specialist classes in the areas of Physical Education, LOTE (Japanese), Visual Arts and STEM as a means of providing a well rounded approach to the learning areas of the curriculum. All year levels also enjoy a term of Performing Arts.
We encourage the natural curiosity of our students and support them to become lifelong learners, equipped with the necessary skills to solve problems in a progressive world.
Developing our students, staff & parents faith
We have a rich prayer life at OLA and offer many opportunities for students, staff and parents to further develop their faith. Children pray every day as a class group; we have whole school Masses in the Church and we have other opportunities for either whole school or year level Prayer Services in Brigid Hall. Masses and Prayer Services offer an opportunity to celebrate as a community.
Recently we changed the way we plan our Religious Education Curriculum. We have incorporated the renewed curriculum framework to make it more inquiry-based. Whilst most of the unit is planned by teachers, there is room at the end to explore different areas and wonderings provided by students - each class takes a slightly different direction. Looking across a two year cycle, we allocated a Catholic Social Teaching to each term and created two brand new units; Women in Faith and Connecting to Others (interfaith understandings). All units are designed to address traditions and scripture while also keeping in mind topics relevant to the world of our students and families.
The model of ‘Head, Heart and Hands’ is incorporated into the renewed curriculum. We learn the knowledge of our faith, we develop wonderings, opinions and feelings around the content and world issues; we reach out to help others. This helped shape our theme for 2020 - ‘We pray with our head, heart and hands’.
Literacy forms the foundation for all learning
The English curriculum is an integral component of many areas of the broader curriculum. At OLA we aim to equip our students with the skills necessary to become active and informed members of their community. The three modes of the English curriculum (Reading, Writing and Speaking & Listening) are explicitly taught each day. Teachers work collaboratively to plan for and implement pedagogical approaches and programs that best support student learning.
Students need to confidently communicate their ideas with others in both spoken and written form. We seek to develop a love of reading and appreciation for the richness of language and the ways it may be used to evoke feelings, convey information, persuade or present an argument.
Teachers utilise whole class and small group instruction to ensure that the learning needs of all students are met, based on student assessment data and the stage of the curriculum that is reflected in these assessments. Teaching teams meet regularly to discuss and evaluate current practices, in order to ensure that meaningful adjustments are made to support student learning.
Uncovering mathematics in our everyday lives
At OLA we recognise the valuable ways that knowledge and understanding in Mathematics enables our students to access important ideas and skills that will be relevant for daily life. We seek to build students’ understanding in the curriculum areas of Number, Measurement, Geometry, Statistics and Probability, helping them to view themselves positively as Mathematical thinkers.
Our aim in teaching mathematics is to ensure that our students:
develop efficient mathematical skills for everyday life, work and as citizens in a technological world
identify connections and apply mathematical concepts to pose and solve problems across a range of curriculum areas
inspire a positive attitude towards mathematics and a desire to investigate mathematical concepts in everyday life
feel confident in their knowledge of mathematics and able to apply this knowledge, in addition to learning new skills and knowledge when necessary.
In addition, students in Years 3 to 6 are given the opportunity to participate in the Australian Mathematics Competition each year. All classes Prep - Year 6 also participate in weekly chess lessons for one term to promote logic and problem solving.
The WIN room
Over the last few years the staff at OLA have been involved with professional learning that has focused on implementing suitable learning adjustments to ensure that all students achieve meaningful growth and experience success during the school year.
For many students, quality classroom instruction is all that is necessary to ensure that they achieve growth and progress; some of our students require either targeted support to help develop their skills in an area such as Reading or Mathematics, or the opportunity to be extended in these areas. Teacher expertise and the invaluable work of our Learning Support Officers intersect, in order to ensure that students receive the opportunities that they need.
Our WIN Room, which stands for ‘What I Need’, is a dedicated learning space where students who have been identified as requiring support or extension in Literacy and Mathematics have the opportunity to receive targeted instruction by a teacher in a small group setting.
Intervention sessions are timetabled throughout the week, usually in 40 minute blocks. We use the Early Reading Intervention Knowledge (ERIK) program to instruct students in Years 1-3 whose phonological awareness skills need further development. We use the Levelled Literacy Intervention (LLI) program with students from Years 1-6 to help develop students’ comprehension strategies.
For those students who achieve above the standard expected for their year level extension lessons are provided in reading, writing and mathematics.
The WIN Room enables students to receive what they need in order to achieve success and grow in confidence within themselves as learners.
Discoveries and experiences
Tell me and I forget
Show me and I may remember
Involve me and I will understand
The last part of this saying is the essence of Inquiry based learning. At OLA, we provide students with many opportunities to:
create new knowledge.
discuss discoveries and experiences.
reflect on new knowledge.
Inquiry based learning is an umbrella term that incorporates many current learning approaches including project based learning and design thinking. The students at OLA are involved in the following characteristics that serve as hallmarks of inquiry based learning:
communicating, reflecting, collaborating, analysing and content.
genuine curiosity, wonderment and questioning.
student ‘voice’ is evident – elements of the curriculum / learning are negotiated and student questions are taken seriously and addressed.
prior knowledge is ascertained and built upon.
significant concepts and essential questions are identified which unify knowledge and understandings.
students are actively involved in constructing understandings through hands-on experiences, research, processing and communicating their understandings in various ways.
learning takes place in a social context – students learn from each other, together with others, and from those outside of the classroom context.
“The meaning of ‘knowing’ has shifted from being
able to remember and repeat information
to being able to find and use it.”
(National Research Council, 2007).
Our Specialist Program
Once a week students enjoy Specialist classes in the areas of STEM, Visual Arts, Physical Education and Language (Japanese) as a means of providing a well rounded approach to the learning areas of the curriculum. All year levels also enjoy a term of Performing Arts led by class teachers as well as another term of lessons leading up to our end of year concert.
Science. Technology. Engineering. Mathematics.
STEM skills and capabilities are needed more now than ever before. At OLA students engage in STEM lessons in our Makerspace, which is a dedicated space for this learning area and includes custom furniture to facilitate collaborative work amongst students.
Through STEM, students develop key skills including:
Continual advances in technology are changing the way that students learn, connect and interact every day. Skills developed by students through STEM provide them with the foundation to succeed at school and beyond. ‘Within our Catholic context, capabilities of ethical thinking and acting for justice and the common good are incorporated into STEM learning opportunities.
Embracing and fostering the inner artist
At OLA our students enjoy Visual Arts lessons. They engage with and develop knowledge of Visual Arts skills, techniques and processes, using materials as they explore a range of forms, styles and contexts. Our Arts Festival that takes place every second year is a fantastic community event during which students from Prep to Year 6 exhibit their artistic creations.
All year levels also enjoy a term of Performing Arts that includes Drama, Music and Dance. Students in Years 5 & 6 are also invited to audition for and be involved in Wakakirri each year, which is a national performing arts event.
The school Hip-Hop Concert, that takes place on alternating years, is another community event to which many of our families look forward.
Healthy bodies, healthy minds
Health and Physical Education plays an integral role in students’ development. OLA has undertaken the ‘Sporting Schools’ initiative which has provided the opportunity for all year levels to focus on and benefit from specialist training in a range of sports. Throughout the year students also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of clinics that include sports such as cricket, golf, AFL, soccer and athletics.
Students in Prep to Year 4 enjoy an intensive swimming program to develop water safety skills and to learn to swim. Students in Years 5 & 6 complete a Beach Safety program.
Students in Years 3 to 6 have the opportunity to be involved in Cheltenham District Athletics, Swimming and Cross-Country Competitions and all students from Prep to 6 attend our annual Sports Expo.
Learning a second language broadens students’ horizons about personal, social and cultural opportunities that exist in our increasingly diverse and interconnected world. Students in Years 3 to 6 are able to join our Taiko Drumming Club and participate in our Japanese Festival. The Japanese Festival is held biannually and is a highlight of the school year.
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