The Holy Family Merewether Beach Community strives to develop an atmosphere of acceptance, forgiveness and reconciliation

Curriculum Information

       This school aims to:

  • provide quality teaching and learning practices that develop academic, spiritual, social and emotional intelligence.
  • provide a learning environment that is safe, motivating, inclusive and meets the needs of the individual learner.
  • impart the necessary skills in each Key Learning Area, so that the child will, in the future, be able to make a unique contribution to society.
  • foster and maintain school and parent partnership in the education and development of each child.
  • use restorative justice practices to promote compassion, empathy and resilience in the development of each child.
  • provide teaching programs that include a carefully planned sequence of learning, differentiated to meet the needs of each child.

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION

Religion

Our Religious Education programme is based on the K-12 Religion Syllabus with newly designed resource units for each grade. These units are aligned with the particular developmental process at each stage of learning.

Focus in Stage One is on developing an awareness of the value of each child’s uniqueness and gifts, especially their spiritual gifts. The children are introduced to language which helps them to express these concepts.

The Middle Primary units are designed to support the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation. The school offers support to parents in the preparation of their children for the reception of the sacraments in workshops and information evenings. Parents are invited to participate in a parish-based sacramental programme. The children’s involvement in such programmes is based on their readiness, rather than reaching a certain age.

The Upper Primary units in Religious Education focus on beliefs and social justice issues.

Each term, classes gather for liturgical celebrations. Liturgies for feast days or special occasions are attended by the whole school. Parents and friends are most welcome to attend any of these celebrations and are encouraged to do so.

Human Development and Christian Values

The Human Development and Christian Values programme is another document produced by the Directorate of Catholic Education and is mandatory in the schools of this Diocese. This programme endeavours to develop within each child a deeper understanding of themselves, an appreciation of the purpose, function and importance of family life, the art of living in friendship with others and a reverence for the God-given goodness and beauty of their sexuality.

ENGLISH

In the Infant grades, literacy skills are explicitly taught using the two pronged approach of the SWELL access to literacy program and the Jolly Phonics program. The SWELL program was established at Macquarie University and is based on sound research into the development of literacy skills. This integrated approach has produced excellent results in the achievement of literacy outcomes at Holy Family.

Programming for literacy in Kindergarten is based on the results of the ‘Best Start’ assessment process, so that differentiation of the literacy program to meet individual learning needs may occur. Learning activities include interactive Smart Board activities, talking and listening activities, songs as well as reading and writing activities. Children are tracked through the Infants and Primary years on a literacy learning continuum so that skills are developed sequentially and at individual students’ rate of development.

In the Primary grades, literacy skills are explicitly taught and related to fiction or non fiction text. Grammar, writing structure and vocabulary are aligned to the text type in focus. Literacy skills are integrated and applied to Science, Human Society, Religion, PDH&PE or Creative Arts tasks.

In the Primary grades, the ‘Book Web’ reading program and the ‘Ants in the Apple’ spelling program support the further development of talking and listening, reading fluency, comprehension and writing skills.

MATHEMATICS

The Mathematics curriculum focuses on the strands of:

  • Number
  • Patterns and Algebra
  • Data
  • Measurements
  • Space and Geometry

Mathematics is explicitly taught, with a variety of strategies introduced to solve mental computations. These skills are practised daily with increasing number values as children progress through the stages.

The Mathematics program at Holy Family is underpinned by the ‘Go Maths’ program, which focuses on working mathematically and applying processing skills to solve problems related to time, measurement and money. Children reflect on and discuss their various approaches to solve problems.

Interactive sites such as ‘Mathletics’ and ‘Studyladder’ support learning and allow students to practise skills, compete nationally and internationally with other schools or students and be extended in the concepts being taught.

Each student’s learning is tracked on a numeracy learning continuum, ensuring skills are developed sequentially and paced according to individual need and stage of development.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

The Science and Technology curriculum focuses on gaining knowledge about the natural and modified environments.

This involves learning skills of enquiry, investigating, designing and problem solving, acquiring a knowledge of design processes and understanding the interaction of technology and society.

Science workshops are provided at various times by specialist teachers to provide the opportunity for students to participate in experiments in a simulated laboratory situation.

HUMAN SOCIETY AND IT’S ENVIRONMENT

The H.S.I.E curriculum focuses on the four strands of:

  • The Social Changes and Continuity in Our World
  • Cultures
  • Australian and Global Environments
  • Social Systems and Structures.

At Holy Family, skills in accessing, analysing, reflecting and evaluating information through the internet and various sources are explicitly taught. Students are offered the opportunity to develop communication and social skills and practise team building, leadership and cooperative work ethics while working individually and in small and large groups to gain knowledge and understanding about the history of Australia, its geography, social institutions and place in the world. The students are supported as they develop empathy for other cultures and life styles and develop a social conscience in these issues as well as issues related to maintaining or improving the environment.

CREATIVE ARTS

The Creative Arts syllabus comprises of:

  • Music
  • Arts
  • Dance
  • Drama

This involves developing technical competence and skills of designing and performing, as well as learning appreciation and self-expression in the visual and practical arts which include music and drama. Drama is often integrated into other Key Learning Areas. However, a specialist drama teacher offers drama classes from 8.00am – 8.50am each Wednesday.

A specialist music teacher programs and teaches the music program at Holy Family. She exposes the children to various forms of music through practice and performances by musicians such as the Musica Viva group. The music teacher organises and coordinates a biannual musical which incorporates all the students from Kindergarten to Year 6.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT, HEALTH AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION

The strands in PDHPE focus on skills promoting:

  • Health Education
  • Physical Education
  • Personal Development

Developing an active, healthy lifestyle, developing skills in interpersonal relationships and positive values, attitudes and beliefs and participating in regular physical activity are vital in this curriculum area.

The school is actively involved in a variety of sport competitions for all children in all the major games.

Specialist teachers provide weekly skill development in all areas of athletics, gymnastics and ball skills each Monday and Tuesday. These skills are practised in game formats in PE lessons each Friday.

Various programs at Holy Family support the ‘Safe Schools Initiative’ introduced by the Federal Government in 2012. The ‘Friendly Schools Plus’, ‘Live Life Well at School’ and ‘Grow’ programs are integrated into the Personal Development and Health strand of the PDH&PE program to support the development of emotional and social intelligence and resilience in the students at Holy Family. The ‘Celebrating Relationships’ policy offers strategies for effective and assertive communication skills, offers various strategies to prevent bullying and provides very specific consequences for any bullying which may occur.