Teaching and Learning
At St Mary’s we teach a varied curriculum to develop the spiritual and academic dimensions of each child. Religious Education is a key focus area of the school curriculum.
The teaching of English, Mathematics, Science & Technology, History, Geography, Personal Development, Health and Physical Education and Creative Arts is informed by the Board of Studies' NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum. Information and communication technology skills are a focus in all year levels and integrate across key learning areas through the use of iPad, laptop and desktop technology. Opportunities for private music tuition are available. These include a Concert Band program for students in Years 3-6, piano and Skool of Rock. Close links exist between Carroll College, Broulee and St Bernard’s, Batemans Bay enhance educational opportunities for our students and provide a K-12 Pathway for Catholic Education on the South Coast.
Religious Education/Sacramental Program
Religious Education is woven into the daily life of the school through formal religion lessons. Christian attitudes and values are integrated into all Key Learning Areas and students are supported to live fully Christian lives. The Religious Education Program 'Treasures New and Old' is implemented from Kindergarten to Year 6.
Opportunities for experiencing prayer and celebrating liturgy are regularly provided for the whole school community. The school celebrates significant Feast Days and events in the calendar of the school community and parish with whole school Masses at our Sacred Heart Church. Classes prepare focus assemblies highlighting a Christian value or reflecting a signifcant Feast Day or event. Parents are welcome and are encouraged to attend these occasions. Morning tea always follows our focus assemblies to allow parents the opportunity to meet one another and spend time in the school.
The Sacramental Programs for Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation are Parish based with parents, Parish Priests, Fr John Armstrong and Fr Dominic Byrne, Religious Education Coordinator and school working closely together. There is an expectation of significant parental and family involvement.
There is a strong focus on the development of Literacy teaching and learning at the school. This has been supported by the recent professional development of staff and parents led by Professor Kaye Lowe and the ongoing purchase of quality literature for all classrooms. The emphasis is on developing highly literate and engaged students through the implementation of teacher-led inquiry.
The Library is an integral part of the school, enhancing every aspect of the school curriculum. The users of the school library are students, teachers, other members of staff and the school community.
The library aims to provide an environment which is welcoming and stimulating for individual and group learning. Students visit the library with their class once a week. Students borrow books at this time. To aid the development of a positive attitude toward book care, all children are required to have a library bag.
The NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum is the source document for this key learning area. ‘Count Me In Too’, ‘Working like a Mathematician’ and investigative activities are implemented in classes to ensure Mathematics is a ‘hands on’ authentic learning experience for the children. Staff are continually updating their skills with regular professional development to ensure the most effective delivery of the curriculum.
History and Geography
History and Geography is implemented throughout the school from 2016. Content is taught in stages over a two year cycle. Each unit of inquiry involves students exploring the history of themselves and others in the past up to the present. There is an emphasis on developing student's problem solving, research and critical thinking skills.
Science is taught weekly in collaboration between a specialist science teacher and the class teacher. Students are encouraged to respond curiously to their world, shaping sustainable futures and informed attitudes about the current and future use of science and technology based on reason.' Primary Connections', produced by the Australian Academy of Science is the supportive document used, linking science with literacy.
Information Technology (ICT)
The field of ICT is constantly changing, with new technologies being regularly updated. The students face a vastly different world now and in the future due to this technology. We embrace our responsibilty to prepare the students so that they are well equipped to be 21st century learners.
St Mary’s aim is to ensure the children are competent and confident in using computers to support and enhance their learning. Students have access to a range of technology such as iPads, laptops, desktops, cameras and recording devices. This technology assists us to integrate Information and Communication Technology into all aspects of the curriculum. Interactive Whiteboards (IWB’s) are installed in all classrooms. Interactive TV and Apple TV’s are also used by staff and students. Our school is fully networked with each classroom containing multiple networked devices.
Teachers are committed to ongoing professional development to improve our pedagogy through the use of technology.
Network Usage Agreements and filtering services are in place to protect students from inappropriate content.
A computer technician who maintains and manages our network and computer systems one day a week.
Personal Development, Health and Physical Education
This key learning area includes a range of outcomes from healthy eating, changes experienced as we grow, to choices we make in regards to our personal development, sport and other physical activities. The children are exposed to a variety of sports, which aim to improve their physical fitness and coordination. Our emphasis is on enjoyment, skill development and willing participation.
In the Infants grades the emphasis is on the development of motor skills, coordination and team participation. In the Primary classes, team sports, for example, soccer, kanga cricket, netball and football are introduced. Regular exercise and fitness are an integral component of the curriculum. Specialist coaches regulary work with class teachers in the school to provide expert instruction in various sports.
St Mary’s is a keen participant in Regional Catholic School competitions and local gala days.
The curriculum area of Creative Arts includes visual arts, music, drama and dance. Students are given opportunities to respond creatively to a range of experiences. The children experiment with a variety of media to produce individual artworks. They are exposed to, and are encouraged to appreciate the work of artists, crafts people and designers in their weekly Creative Arts sessions. The Arts are integrated across the curriculum. Interested students are able to participate in guitar lessons and join the school choir. There are opportunities for students to display their art and perform for audiences within the school and local community.
Private music tutors work at St Mary’s two days per week. This initiative provides specialist music tuition in guitar, keyboard and concert band instruments. This is an optional addition at the school for families wishing to involve their children. These sessions are within school hours and are organised on a cyclic timetable to minimise disruption to student learning. This initiative has been well supported by the school community. Students in Years 3-6 have the opportunity to join the school Concert Band. Individual tuition and Concert Band performance times are scheduled each week.