At St. Joseph's we follow The Victorian Curriculum, to which each student has full entitlement. The staff at St. Joseph's are 'discerning consumers of research'; ie, we constantly engage with the latest research of evidence-based teaching practices and we incorporate into our teaching those practices with the greatest impact on student learning.
For more information on the content of our curriculum please go to http://victoriancurriculum.vcaa.vic.edu.au/
The Victorian curriculum is structured as follows:
English: Each day the students participate in a two-hour Literacy session, which begins with a half-hour spelling lesson, and goes on to incorporate reading comprehension, creative writing and skills within speaking and listening. During the week, the literacy block also includes a focus on handwriting and explicit teaching of grammar and punctuation. It is our belief that literacy skills need to be taught directly and explicitly, whilst also giving the children the opportunity to engage with a wide range of literature and language. Regular assessments allow us to not only monitor student growth in English but also to identify areas where children need to be accelerated through the curriculum or supported to establish key skills and understanding.
Small group/ individual intervention programs are in place to support additional needs in English.
Mathematics: The daily one-hour Mathematics Block consists of whole-class, group and individual tasks that are ‘differentiated’ to cater for different levels of understanding in mathematics; at the beginning of each lesson the students participate in a short 'warm-up' session where they work on mental problem-solving strategies, times tables and number bonds. ‘Open-Ended Tasks’ are used within lessons and are designed to enable students to extend themselves beyond their current understandings or be supported and scaffolded in their learning where required. We believe that students learn best in Mathematics when they are engaged in real-life mathematical situations and able to work collaboratively to problem solve and learn from each other. Ongoing assessments are used throughout mathematical topics to inform teaching and to target learning needs.
Term Topics: Each term the students engage in a unit of work (topic) that has a key learning area, such as Science or History, as its foundation. Topic lessons are timetabled across the week, amounting to approximately five hours of lesson time.
The children are taught key skills and knowledge in the focus subject and are given the opportunity to engage with the subject area in a variety of creative and challenging ways, and through experiments, learning expos, projects and presentations etc.
Students are challenged to explore, question and engage with significant ideas and practices so that they move beyond superficial understandings to develop higher-order, flexible thinking. To support this, teaching sequences are sustained and responsive and explore ideas and practices.
The students use technology to enrich and extend their learning. The teachers provide creative and imaginative ways to engage students with their learning, incorporating excursions/ incursions and guest speakers. In Religious Education, the students are encouraged to take their learning from the curriculum and apply it to their faith in a meaningful way through a 'faith inquiry' process.
Specialist Lessons: Each week all students participate in four specialist lessons, with our talented team of specialist teachers. Each lesson is 45 minutes long and the specialist subjects are Music/ Performing Arts, Italian, Visual Art and Physical Education.
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL): We have a strong emphasis on the social-emotional wellbeing of students, with a range of programs and practices in place to assist students to develop a positive sense of self and positive relationships with others. Teachers use the 'Personal and Social Capability', from The Victorian Curriculum, to form the foundations for the social and emotional learning of students. SEL lessons take place weekly, with daily practices of mindfulness and regular circle time.
An example of a basic weekly timetable: