Learning Approach

Learning Approach

Learning at St Christopher’s Catholic Primary School Panania is:

Attentive to the Learners’ Disposition

The learning experience is rich with opportunities for every learner to use their imagination and develop a creative mindset. Considered risk taking is informed by a rich pool of current thinking and research, but we also allow our natural curiosity to guide us. Everyone has high expectations at St Christopher’s for their own learning and we all strive to become exceptional, resilient learners. We believe that great learning will lead to a higher level of wellbeing.

Rigorous and Challenging

Appropriate and timely data analysis and feedback guide teaching decisions. Learning and thinking is thoughtfully and intentionally designed so thatLearning-approach-in-line experiences are worthy of our learners’ time. Through a focus on real things we encourage deeper connections between the learner and what they are experiencing as well as what it takes to become a creative, reflective learner. We encourage student voice by focusing on choice, ownership and responsibility.

Forged in Relationships

Quality relationships that are characterised by respect for the dignity of all, are the foundation of our learning community. True collaboration, or creating something together, is a key feature of learning at St Christopher’s. We improve our understanding, thinking and practice in the company of our peers. Relationships are important to everything we do.

Our school’s pedagogy reflects the overarching principles and approach to learning outlined in the Sydney Catholic Schools’ Statement on Authentic Learning. By connecting to the real world of students’ lives, authentic learning enables students to become lifelong learners who contribute to society and the wider world as active and discerning citizens. Authentic learning is central to our work as Catholic educators because it promotes the continual growth and wellbeing of the whole person; spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, socially and physically.

All schools including Sydney Catholic schools follow the same Kindergarten to Year 12 curriculum, with our Catholic values underpinning everything that we do.

With a focus on the development of the whole person, courses offered at the school cover the NESA syllabus requirements – developing the core skills of literacy and numeracy – and our Archdiocesan Religious Education curriculum.

Our teachers extend and challenge students to be the best they can be, while recognising that every student is unique and learns differently.

Religious Education is at the heart of Catholic education. It informs all aspects of school life and contributes to the mission of the Catholic Church in announcing the good news of Jesus Christ.

All students are expected to participate in the religious life of the school. This includes being part of formal religious education that follows a curriculum and uses our textbook series To Know, Worship and Love.

In English ‘students learn to read, write, speak, view and represent language. They learn about the English language and literature through working with a wide range of spoken, visual, multimedia and digital texts. Students learn how language varies according to context, and how to communicate with a range of audiences for different purposes. They learn to read for information and pleasure. Students gain a sound grasp of language structures, punctuation, spelling and grammar. They also learn to think in ways that are imaginative, creative and critical.’ – NSW Education Standards Authority, Parent Guide to the NSW Primary Syllabuses.

Literacy is the effective use of knowledge and skills to interpret and use language confidently for learning, communicating and engaging in society. It involves the integration of listening, speaking, reading, viewing, creating, writing and critical thinking. These skills are applied in different curriculum areas for a variety of purposes.

The Sydney Catholic Schools Statement on Literacy provides further elaboration on the principles of literacy and various roles within and across our schools.

In Kindergarten to Year 6, Mathematics ‘focuses on developing students’ mathematical understanding, fluency, communication, reasoning and problem-solving through their study of Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, and Statistics and Probability. These capabilities enable students to respond to familiar and unfamiliar situations, using strategies to make decisions and solve problems relevant to their further education and everyday lives.’ – NSW Education Standards Authority, Parent Guide to the NSW Primary Syllabuses.

Numeracy is the effective use of Mathematics to meet the demands of daily learning and life. Numeracy takes place across the curriculum and throughout the school day in a variety of contexts.

The Sydney Catholic Schools Statement on Numeracy provides further elaboration on the principles of numeracy and various roles within and across our schools.

The Science syllabus covers Science and Technology for Kindergarten to Year 6 students.

Science and Technology ‘fosters in students a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around them. Students are encouraged to embrace new concepts and to learn through trialling, testing and refining ideas. They are supported to participate responsibly in developing innovative ideas and solutions in response to questions and opportunities relevant to them and the world around them.’ – NSW Education Standards Authority, Parent Guide to the NSW Primary Syllabuses.

Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE) ‘provides opportunities for students to explore the past and present to develop an understanding of their personal and community identity. They investigate the interactions between people, places and environments that shape their nation and world. They learn to participate in society as informed, responsible and active citizens.’ – NSW Education Standards Authority, Parent Guide to the NSW Primary Syllabuses.

The focus is on History and Geography in Kindergarten to Year 6.

Creative Arts ‘gives students experiences in the visual arts, music, drama and dance. They have opportunities to explore their creativity in each of these areas. Students learn to appreciate the meanings and values that each art form offers. They perform and express themselves through the visual arts, music, drama and dance.’ – NSW Education Standards Authority, Parent Guide to the NSW Primary Syllabuses.

‘Through Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) students develop self management, interpersonal and movement skills to help them become empowered, self-confident and socially responsible citizens. The learning experiences in PDHPE provide students with a foundation to actively contribute to, and advocate for the health, safety and wellbeing of themselves and others in the community and beyond school. Students are provided with opportunities to participate in physical activity to develop movement skills and recognise the impact of physical activity on health and wellbeing.’ – NSW Education Standards Authority, Parent Guide to the NSW Primary Syllabuses.

A unique Sydney Catholic Schools support structure is in place to optimise learning for all students. High quality inclusive education is provided for students with diverse learning profiles relating to: giftedness, speech, language, communication, vision, hearing, literacy acquisition and post-school pathways. Central and regional office diverse learning teams work with our classroom teachers to enhance their capacity to maximise learning outcomes for students. Specialists in these teams collaborate widely to consolidate an inclusive approach to learning. Each school also has dedicated learning support staff.

Sydney Catholic schools provide reasonable adjustments to assist and support students with disability to successfully engage in learning. All Sydney Catholic schools engage in the annual Nationally Consistent Collection for School Students with Disability. Students with moderate intellectual disabilities and complex developmental needs may benefit from the educational program at Eileen O’Connor Catholic College Lewisham.

 

Newman Selective Gifted Education Program

Exclusive to Sydney Catholic schools, the Newman Selective Gifted Education Program provides a clear educational pathway, underpinned by contemporary research, for identified gifted and talented students from Kindergarten to Year 12. Responding to the pace, depth and curriculum complexity required by gifted learners, students take part in a rigorous program with like-minded peers for a significant amount of time each week. This not only assists with their academic growth but also their social and emotional wellbeing. To sustain a high-quality educational program, teachers undergo training in identifying gifted students and developing curriculum differentiation strategies. All ‘Newman Selective schools’ undergo a comprehensive accreditation process every three to four years.

Specific Learning Support

Through expert support and resources from Sydney Catholic Schools, we collaborate and deliver personalised plans for students who have cognitive or developmental disorders, sensory disability, autism, physical disability, and speech, language and communication disorders. These plans focus on specific educational goals and adjustments related to areas such as curriculum, communication and social skills.

Reading Recovery is a short-term preventative early literacy intervention that provides extra help to Year 1 students who are identified as the lowest achievers in literacy. It helps students catch up to the average reading and writing level of their class and become independent readers and writers. Reading Recovery is delivered by a specially trained teacher.

Students learning English for the first time are supported by dedicated staff within our school, staff from the Sydney Catholic Schools’ regional and central offices, and programs for new arrivals.

We are committed to working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their families to ensure students obtain a high-quality education as a platform for achieving their full potential.

Our teachers know their students and work with them to help them realise their potential as learners. Our focus on authentic learning and authentic assessment ensures that we challenge our students to grow in their learning and achieve their personal best.

Throughout our community of Sydney Catholic schools, we have shown high performance of our students in measures such as NAPLAN and the HSC.

learning-and-achievement

At St Christopher’s Catholic Primary School Panania assessment is seen as a critical aspect of learning and a key tool in challenging students and measuring their success, of which a variety are used – such as NAPLAN, Progressive Achievement Tests (PAT), The Religious Education Test and ICAS assessments – along with classroom-based assessments. We have been able to demonstrate strong growth, particularly in Reading and Mathematics in recent years.

Here are some of our other recent achievements.

  • Our gifted and talented students are selected to compete in Tournament of Minds, Maths Olympiads, and The Literacy Quiz. These competitions ensure that we extend the learning of our brighter students.Learning-Spaces
  • In 2018, St Christopher’s hosted the NSW Catholic Primary Schools basketball championship which was the biggest basketball competition between primary schools in Australia.
  • We also have students at St Christopher’s represent NSW in a number of different sports including Rugby League, Touch Rugby, Basketball and Softball.
  • Students have been able to compete within the creative arts, with two Year 5 students winning the Shakespeare Carnival and going on to perform at The Seymour Centre. Our students also compete in The National Wakakirri Challenge and Dancefever.

 

As part of Sydney Catholic Schools, we employ highly qualified and competent teachers who are accredited by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). To continuously improve our practice, teachers also work towards the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, from proficient teacher to lead teacher level.

The delivery of quality curriculum, pedagogy (teaching methods) and assessment is ensured by our system of schools through the provision of contemporary NESA accredited professional learning in a range of modes. Our Centres of Excellence offer online learning and external face-to-face courses, and timely, collaborative and relevant in-situ learning take place within the context of each classroom. Sydney Catholic Schools’ teachers are strongly committed to their ongoing learning, with many having completed, or are currently undertaking, postgraduate studies in areas related to curriculum, student wellbeing, special education, theology, pastoral care and leadership.

Teachers at St Christopher’s Catholic Primary School Panania are as rigorously challenged and vulnerable as the students through their professional learning experiences. These are some of the processes we have in place to encourage lifelong learning.

Engaging in the School Created RISE Program

Each term, all of our teachers engage in the RISE program (Record, Immerse, Self-reflect, Evaluate), where they partner with a buddy teacher to reflect and set goals. The buddy watches a video of the teacher to identify strengths and some goals to work on.

Collaborating Together

Teachers each have an online learning journal, where they write key things they have learnt from professional learning. This is shared with other teachers, so they can all learn from each others’ experiences and training.

Personalised Learning

Teachers have the opportunity to personalise their professional learning to satisfy their students’ need, for example if there is a child with specific learning needs in their class, they can choose to attend a suitable course to develop skills in the required area.

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