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Curriculum

OVERVIEW

AusVELS The curriculum for Foundation (Prep) to Year 10 in Victoria is known as AusVELS. This represents the integration of the new Australian Curriculum subjects into the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS). VELS was the previous Victorian curriculum framework used by schools. Implementation of AusVELS began in 2013, when schools used the achievement standards for reporting to parents. The AusVELS curriculum currently incorporates the Australian Curriculum for English, Mathematics, Science and History, with adjustments made where necessary to reflect Victorian priorities and standards. The remaining domains have been taken from the earlier curriculum entitled VELS. AusVELS uses an eleven level structure to reflect the design of the new Australian Curriculum whilst retaining Victorian priorities and approaches to teaching and learning.

The Australian Curriculum has three dimensions: learning areas, general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities. The Australian Curriculum has eight learning areas. Some learning areas include more than one subject and some are introduced at different phases of the primary school Learning areas include:

Subjects

English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities & Social Sciences, History, Geography, Economics & Business, Civics and Citizenship, The Arts (Drama, Dance, Media Arts, Music, Visual Art), Technologies, Design and Technologies, Digital technologies, Health & Physical Education, Languages (French). In each curriculum, the content descriptions specify what all young people should be taught, and the achievement standards set out the depth of understanding and sophistication of skill expected of students at points in their schooling. Other information is provided to support the content descriptions and achievement standards. Each curriculum includes a rationale, aims, year or band level descriptions, information on the organisation of the curriculum, content elaborations, annotated portfolios of student work samples and a glossary.

General Capabilities and Cross-Curriculum Priorities

The Australian Curriculum pays explicit attention to how seven general capabilities and three cross-curriculum priorities contribute to, and can be developed through each learning area. The seven general capabilities are Literacy, Numeracy, Information and Communication Technology Capability, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability, Ethical Understanding, and Intercultural Understanding. Learning continua are available for each capability, which describe the relevant knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions at particular points of schooling. The Australian Curriculum focuses on three cross-curriculum priorities: 1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures 2. Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia 3. Sustainability.

At Middle Park Primary School, we plan a two year program except for Prep and our students work in multi-age classrooms with teaching teams taking collective responsibility for the delivery of our learning programs via team planning meetings and Professional Learning Team meetings. The students form relationships across the two grade levels and teachers plan and implement differentiated learning tasks regardless of age or grade. Foundation Level - Prep Levels 1&2 - Grades 1 & 2 Levels 3&4 - Grades 3 & 4 Levels 5&6 - Grades 5 & 6 The VCAA has two websites to support the AusVELS. AusVELS Curriculum website Provides the curriculum content descriptions and achievement standards to be used by Victorian government and Catholic schools to plan, assess and report to parents. AusVELS Resources and Support website Information and resources to support AusVELS include: · Assessment · Consultations · Diversity of learners · Domain based resources · Implementation · Professional learning · Whole school planning Another useful link is that of ACARA (Australian Curriculum Assessment & Reporting Authority) where the curriculum expectations are clearly laid out in 11 levels, taking each child from Foundation to the end of Year 10 prior to commencing VCE studies with a national curriculum focus. http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/

 

ENGLISH AND LITERACY

English
 
The English curriculum aims to develop in students:
 
· the ability to speak, listen, read, view and write with enjoyment, purpose, effect and confidence in a wide range of contexts,
 
· a knowledge of the ways in which language varies according to context,
 
· a knowledge of the linguistic patterns used to construct different texts, and the capacity to apply this knowledge, especially in writing,
 
· a broad knowledge of a range of texts and a capacity to relate this to aspects of contemporary society and personal experience,
 
· the capacity to discuss and analyse texts and language critically,
 
· knowledge of the ways textual interpretation and understanding may vary according to cultural, social and personal differences, and the capacity to develop reasoned arguments about interpretation and meaning.
 
The development of literacy is central to the English curriculum. Literacy involves speaking, listening, reading, writing, and thinking within a cultural context. It enables a user to recognise and select language appropriate to different situations.
 
As part of English the Early Years Literacy Program has been implemented.
 
The Early Years Literacy Program
 
Middle Park Primary School is dedicated to providing learning experiences for our students that enable them to develop into strategic, self-regulating, reflective and thinking learners. We develop and implement teaching and learning programs that reflect on assessment of students’ prior knowledge and skills to inform our differentiated and explicit teaching approach.
 
Our English program incorporates a range of essential strategies and features to ensure the success of all students at MPPS. The essential strategies and features are:
 
• Daily reading sessions incorporating explicit teaching groups (guided reading) and differentiated learning centres catering for small group needs
 
• Daily writing sessions incorporating: explicit teaching of text types (Writer’s Workshop & Big Write sessions); explicit teaching of thinking tools to developer higher order thinking skills and a springboard for students’ writing; spelling investigations; handwriting; VCOP (Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers & Punctuation) activities
 
• Literacy support program to provide additional support for identified students
 
• Ongoing professional learning for staff.
 
 

MATHEMATICS

 

Our review of national and international research and practice informs us that the mathematical knowledge, skills and understanding people need today, if they are to be truly numerate, involves considerably more than the acquisition of mathematical routines and algorithms, no matter how well they are learned. Students need to learn mathematics in ways that enable them to recognise when mathematics might help to interpret information or solve practical problems, apply their knowledge appropriately in contexts where they will have to use mathematical reasoning processes, choose mathematics that makes sense in the circumstances, make assumptions, resolve ambiguity and judge what is reasonable.”

 (Commissioned by the Human Capital Working Group, Australian Governments)

Through learning and investigating mathematics at school students will:

·       acquire mathematical skills and knowledge so that they can deal confidently and competently with daily life

·       develop knowledge and skills in using mathematics in their employment, further study and personal interests  

·       be able to interpret and communicate quantitative and logical ideas including statistics 

·       recognise the fundamental importance of mathematics to the functioning of society

·       understand and appreciate the nature of mathematical thinking

·       appreciate mathematics’ role in the history and culture of society

·       understand the dynamic role of mathematics in social and technological change

·       set mathematics learning goals and evaluate & reflect on their learning

·       gain competency in the four proficiencies associated with mathematics – reasoning, understanding, problem solving & fluency

·       develop a growth mindset which promotes an optimistic view that making mistakes is how we learn and that meeting difficult challenges is a valuable way towards achieving full understanding of maths concepts and solving maths problems

Fulfilment of these goals requires that mathematics at school is a positive experience in which students develop confidence and a sense of achievement from what they learn.

Students at every level of schooling will engage in learning tasks which develop:

·        knowledge and fluency in calculating, measuring and estimating

·        an ability to communicate thinking using clear and consistent mathematical language

·        a range of explicitly taught strategies to solve mathematical problems (use a table, look for a pattern, make a list, act it out, draw it, estimate, make a diagram)

·        an ability to apply what has been learned to solve real life problems

·        confidence to ask questions to support their mathematics learning

·        ability and confidence to conduct mathematical investigations 

·        a growth mindset when faced with difficult mathematical challenges

·        effective use of calculators and digital software for mathematical solutions and representations

·        a love of mathematics through authentic learning experiences, simulated maths experiences, maths investigations, maths games, maths challenges & maths competitions

·        an ability to justify their solutions & the strategies used to find solutions

·        an ability to understand what a maths question is asking and to select an appropriate strategy to solve a problem 

·        collaborative skills to share maths problem solving when in group settings

 

“If numeracy is about using mathematics effectively to meet the general demands of life at school, at home, in paid work and for participation in community and civic life, then it is clearly the role of the school  curriculum – both documented/planned and implemented/enacted – to enable young people to learn  to use mathematics to meet these demands and ‘to bridge the gap between mathematics and the real world”

(Willis, 1998, p.37) taken from The National Review of Numeracy Review Report,  (Commissioned by the Human Capital Working Group, Australian Governments).

SPECIALIST PROGRAMS

 
Visual Arts
 
Students participate in a 50 minute session in the art room each week during semester 1 or semester 2. The program combines a thematic approach usually based on classroom themes with the development of the student’s skills and knowledge of materials.
 
The aim is to create an atmosphere in which students are able to develop self esteem to gain enjoyment and satisfaction in the production of their art work. Individuality is encouraged and students are given opportunities to explore a variety of media and develop skills in drawing, painting, modelling, threads and textiles and construction.
 
Students are taught the correct use of tools, equipment and materials and are given basic instruction in techniques.
 
 
 
Music
A specialist music program will operate at MPPS in 2014. Every student will receive a weekly 50 minute music lesson. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in a school choir. 
 
In classroom music sessions, students are encouraged to sing, dance, explore sound, use a range of instruments and sound production techniques and step out of their comfort zone and perform for their peers on a regular basis.
 
Private keyboard, piano and instrumental tuition is also available in various forms. Information regarding access to this is available via the General Office or the School newsletter.
 
 
 
LOTE - French
 
Students participate in a 50 minute weekly session of LOTE - French. In 2011 MPPS changed from an Italian LOTE program to a French LOTE program to align our school with the language being offered at our local State Government Secondary College - Albert Park College.
 
 
 
Physical Education
 
The major focus of the sports and PE program at MPPS is to encourage the students to participate in all skill and game based activities to improve technique and to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. The PE program utilises a strong emphasis on skill acquisition, demonstrating and improving on skills in modified andminor games and activities. There is a strong focus to develop spatial awareness, problem solving, strategic thinking and decision making skills for students of all abilities. It is a holistic program that caters for a wide range of students through different activities and sports through personalised learning, learning intentions and differentiation in all lessons.
 
The Sports Program for Grade 3 - 6 students is designed to complement the Gala Day calendar and provide students with the opportunity to refine their game-play for certain sports. A Sport Education Physical Education Program (SEPEP) model has been implemented, which involves students taking a lead role in organising and coordinating the sports program, including making necessary announcements, selecting and coaching teams, setting up equipment, developing draws and collating results, as well as writing reports about the sports program. The philosophy behind this approach is to assist the students to develop a range of sporting and organisation skills.
 
Main Objectives:
 
· Participation of all students in PE and sport activities;
 
· Encourage positive sporting behaviour to be displayed by all students;
 
· Assist all students in improving on their skill development;
 
· Encourage all students to lead a healthy and active lifestyle; and
 
· The PE and sport programs promote enjoyment, inclusion, responsibility and the improvement of a range of sporting skills for all students.
 
 
Key Values:
 
· Respect
 
· Fairness
 
· Cooperation
 
· Inclusion
 
· Honesty
 
· Responsibility
 
· Support
 
· Acceptance
 
 
 
Promoting Learning through:
 
· A Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum
 
· Structured Units and Lesson Plans
 
· Skill Based activities and focus
 
· Learning Intentions
 
· Success criteria / Rubrics
 
· What/Why am I learning this?
 
· Differentiation
 
· Giving the Big Picture
 
· Feedback - Teacher, peer and Self–Assessment
 
 
 
Swimming & Water Safety Program
 
The Swimming and Water Safety Program operates at the world class Melbourne Sports and Aquatics Centre (MSAC), which is only a 10 minute walk from the school. All students are expected to participate in the 5 day program that caters for children of all abilities and is operated in accordance with the AustSwim ability levels by suitably trained MSAC swimming teachers. Parents are encouraged to join students during transit and are welcome to observe the swimming program in action.
 
Grade 3 - 6 students have the opportunity to participate in the District Swimming Carnival that provides the opportunity for students to qualify for higher levels of competition within the Victorian Primary Schools Association (VPSSA) structure. District swimming trials are conducted before this event at MSAC to ensure all students have the opportunity to qualify for the District carnival. 
 
 
 
All students, P-6, have the opportunity to participate in a tailor designed Lifesaving Beach Event at Middle Park and Port Melbourne Beaches. Students participate in a range of fun activities to develop their knowledge and understanding of water safety and first aid techniques. This new program proved highly successful in 2012/13 to ensure our students were effectively educated and aware of beach safety. 
 
 
 
Athletics Program
 
Grade 3 to 6 students take part in a modified Athletics Carnival during which serves as the basis of selecting the school athletics team for the District Athletics Carnival. All students in these year levels are expected to participate in the various athletic disciplines in their appropriate age group while representing their house team. This District Carnival provides the opportunity for students to qualify for higher levels of competition within the VPSSA structure.
 
 
 
Junior Athletics Day
 
The Junior Sports Day is held in Term 4 for Prep, Grade 1 and 2 students. This day encourages all participating children to enjoy a fun day that incorporates a number of activities the children have learnt throughout the year. Parents are welcome to take part in these activities also.
 
 
 
Gala Days and District Sports Program
 
Several interschool gala days are organised each term for Grade 5 and 6 students. These sports vary each year to provide a range of sporting experiences for the students. A Grade 3 and 4 gala day is also held each year. These days provide an opportunity for all students in these year levels to participate in a friendly and enjoyable sporting activity at a local venue against students from surrounding schools.
 
The District Sports body for the VPSSA plays a lead role in organising and coordinating a range of sporting activities for the students within our district. All GalaDays, District Swimming and Athletics events are organised by teachers within the district who volunteer their time beyond their teaching duties.
 
 
 
Perceptual Motor Program
 
The Perceptual Motor Program (PMP) operates for all Prep children. It consists of a range of simple, small group, gym and movement lessons using specifically designed equipment to promote the development of each gross motor skills. Parental assistance is encouraged to help this program operate effectively.
 
 
 
Information Technology in Lessons
 
We also effectively use ICT as a learning tool in Physical Education lessons. This includes implementing performance analysis software which l enables students to receive immediate feedback during learning times.
 
 
 
External Sports Programs
 
All students are encouraged to seek external sporting pursuits outside of school hours to assist their sporting development. The school has supported a number of sports teams for many years and will continue to provide support and promotion of these teams in the future. Many sports such as basketball, soccer, Auskick, junior AFL, netball, tennis, cricket, and hockey, amongst many others, are easily accessible in the local area.
 
 
 
Information Technology
 
Middle Park Primary School provides all students with access to a computer laboratory, as well as networked computers in their classrooms, iPads and laptop computers. All students from Prep to Grade 6 attend Information Technology sessions with their classroom teacher in the computer laboratory. The Information Technology curriculum is designed to develop students’ computer skills and knowledge of computer hardware and software programs as well as how to incorporate this learning into Literacy, Numeracy and Inquiry. The program has the main focus of educating students to use technology in a safe and responsible manner to research, communicate with others, visualise their thinking and create presentations and information products. Students use a variety of software packages as well as a variety of quality online services.
 
 
The school requires students to adhere to an acceptable set of behaviours in the digital world throughout their time at MPPS, but essentially we ask them to:
 
 
  • Be empowered. Do awesome things. Share with us your ideas and what you can do. Amaze us.
  • Be nice. Help foster a school community that is respectful and kind.
  • Be smart and be safe. If you are uncertain, talk with us.
  • Be careful and gentle. Our resources are limited. Help us take care of our devices and networks.
  • Be a good digital citizen. Acknowledge other people's work. Respect the law and speak up if you see something wrong.

 

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