ACARA (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority) is responsible for the development of the Australian curriculum from Kindergarten to Year 12. All schools in Australia must follow the Australian curriculum.
ACARA’s work in developing the Australian curriculum is guided by the 2008 Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. The Melbourne Declaration commits “to supporting all young Australians to become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens”, and to promoting equity and excellence in education. The Australian curriculum will “equip all young Australians with the essential skills, knowledge and capabilities to thrive and compete in a globalised world and information rich workplaces of the current century.” The national curriculum will be accessible to all young Australians, regardless of their social or economic background or the school they attend.
The first phase of the Australian curriculum for english, mathematics, science, and history will be introduced in 2012. The second phase for languages, geography and the arts will be introduced in 2013. The third phase will follow in 2014 and includes the other learning areas; design and technology, health and physical education and ICT (Information Communication Technology).
Information about the Australian Curriculum can be found at www.acara.edu.au
Catholic School Curriculum
The curriculum of the Catholic School aims to promote the development of students so they can contribute to society from a Christian Gospel perspective. Guided by this vision, the curriculum contributes to the development of each student as a responsible, inner-directed Christian person and someone of Christian virtue who is capable of making genuinely free choices, as well as value judgements enlightened by a formed Christian conscience.
(The Curriculum Framework – Educating our Children to Succeed in the 21st Century)
High priority is given to the use of Information Technology at Notre Dame Catholic Primary School. Information Technology offers exciting and challenging ways of enhancing student learning. IT tools such as Interactive Whiteboards and computers focus teaching and stimulate learning interaction in the classroom which in turn, can improve student understanding and personal productivity. Information Technology at Notre Dame Catholic Primary School is utilised in the context of meaningful tasks, so enhancing its effectiveness.
This year, a one- one laptop program has been introduced for our students in Year 4. By 2014, all students in Years 4-6 will be a part of the program.
The one-to-one program has an emphasis on the laptop as a learning tool to foster and promote students with their capability to collaborate, share information, share experiences, work across the domains of our curriculum and to lead students to be able to be self-directed in their learning. The program is supported by teachers who have skills and expertise in understanding the curriculum that is to be covered and who are able to ensure that this curriculum is delivered in a manner that engages every child.
Our major responsibility in the next few years is not only to provide all students with an appropriate level of access to these tools, but also to change to a new and effective teaching and learning environment that incorporates these new technologies.
Children at Notre Dame Catholic Primary School have access to support through their class teacher. Support staff caters for those students with individual learning needs. Parents of students with specific learning needs are requested to make an appointment with the Principal to discuss concerns.
An Italian Language Program is provided at the school for children in Pre-Primary to Year Six through the Italo-Australian Welfare and Cultural Centre. This programme gives students the opportunity to learn about the culture as well as the language of Italy.
This year, Notre Dame Catholic Primary School has embarked on another new initiative with the implementation of Chinese (Mandarin) language in Years 4-6. This brings the school in line with meeting the mandated studies on Asia, imperative in the Australian Curriculum and essential to making students more aware of their role in the global world.
Physical Education and Sport
A Physical Education teacher is employed at Notre Dame Catholic Primary School to ensure a well-balanced program is provided for the children. Each class has a minimum of 120 minutes per week; one 50 minute Physical Education lesson covering a whole range of skills, games and activities organised by the specialist teacher, one 50 minute Sport lesson organised by the class teacher and fitness sessions during the week.
Included in the sport programme, are swimming lessons through the Education Department In-Term Swimming Programme for students in Pre-Primary to Year 6, dance lessons for students from Years 1-6 through the Pamela Humphrey’s Dance Studio, and associated interschool sporting carnivals including cross countries and lightning carnivals.
The Music Program at Notre Dame Catholic Primary School is committed to ensuring that all students are provided with the opportunity to access music programs consistent with their needs and talents.
The program is designed to promote music appreciation through a wide variety of musical experiences and styles of music. A developmental approach over a two year, long term plan culminates in every student studying the recorder in Years 4, 5, and 6 . Music theory is introduced in Year 1 and reading musical notation continues in Years 3 and 4, enabling an easy transition to learning the recorder.
Religious Music plays an important role in choral singing at school. The students prepare for Mass using a variety of traditional and contemporary hymns and songs.
The choir is an integral part of the music program with students from Years 3-6 selected to participate. Choral singing affords children the opportunity to participate in both liturgical (through celebration of the sacraments) and performance based modes (Performing Arts Festival) of musical instruction.
The choir rehearses on Tuesday mornings from 8:10am – 8:50am in the multi-purpose room. Involvement in the choir requires a full commitment to attending rehearsals, liturgies and performances.
Science is taken as a specialist subject at Notre Dame Catholic Primary School. In the Science Learning Area students learn to investigate, understand and communicate about the physical, biological and technological world and value the processes that support life on our planet. Science helps students to become critical thinkers by encouraging them to use evidence to evaluate the use of science in society and the application of science in daily life. The Primary Connections Programme is used to develop students’ skills of working scientifically, as they undertake investigations and communicate their understanding about science.
As part of the school’s implementation of the Australian Curriculum, history is taken as a specialist area at Notre Dame Catholic Primary School. Awareness of history is an essential characteristic of any society, as historical knowledge is fundamental to understanding ourselves and others. It helps students appreciate how the world and its people have changed, as well as the significant continuities that exist to the present day.
History, at Notre Dame, is taken as a disciplined process of inquiry into the past that develops students’ curiosity and imagination. This process of historical inquiry develops transferable skills, such as the ability to ask relevant questions; critically analyse and interpret sources; consider context; respect and explain different perspectives; develop and substantiate interpretations, and communicate effectively. By the end of their primary school years, students will have developed an understanding of Australian society from Aboriginal migration forty thousand years ago, through colonization to present day Australia.