The study of English is central to the learning and development of all our children at Whittlesea Primary School. It helps create confident communicators, imaginative thinkers and informed citizens.
It is through the study of English that children learn to analyse, understand, communicate with and build relationships with others and with the world around them. The study of English helps develop in children the knowledge and skills needed for their education now and in their future. It helps them become ethical, thoughtful, informed and active members of society.
AusVELS English helps children to engage imaginatively and critically with literature to expand the scope of their experience. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have contributed to Australian society and to its contemporary literature and its literary heritage through their distinctive ways of representing and communicating knowledge, traditions and experience. AusVELS English values, respects and explores this contribution. It also emphasises Australia’s links to Asia.
AusVELS English aims to ensure that children:
- Learn to listen to, read, view, speak, write, create and reflect on increasingly complex and sophisticated spoken, written and multimodal texts across a growing range of contexts with accuracy, fluency and purpose
- Appreciate, enjoy and use the English language in all its variations and develop a sense of its richness and power to evoke feelings, convey information, form ideas, facilitate interaction with others, entertain, persuade and argue
- Understand how Standard Australian English works in its spoken and written forms and in combination with non-linguistic forms of communication to create meaning
- Develop interest and skills in inquiring into the aesthetic aspects of texts, and develop an informed appreciation of literature.
At Whittlesea Primary School the children are engaged in a minimum of ten hours of formal English learning, however English is immersed and taught across all the curriculum areas.
At Whittlesea Primary teachers plan for a minimum of 5 hours of mathematics each week where all lessons are based on data about the students’ prior level of skill and understanding and where activities are differentiated to meet the needs of the individual student.
The learning intention and success criteria is displayed and discussed for each lesson. All students work on tasks beyond their current level of thinking. Each lesson begins with number fluency activities and ends with reflection directed towards the learning intention.
The staff continually develop their knowledge and understanding by undertaking mathematics professional development each semester. The school’s Teaching and Learning Coach assists individual teachers, year level teams and targeted student groups throughout the school, two days per week.
The National Curriculum (AusVELS) is adhered to through the content strands of:- Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry and Data Representation and Chance.
These three main areas are broken up into ten substrands:
- Number and Place Value
- Patterns and Algebra
- Fractions and Decimals
- Money and Financial matters
- Location and Transformations
- Geometric Reasoning
- Units of Measurement
- Data Representation and Interpretation
Inquiry is a student centred approach to learning. It involves students developing questions to investigate, finding out about the world from a range of sources and reflecting on concepts learnt to take action (application). Importantly, Inquiry develops lifelong skills and dispositions for the twenty first century. Thinking, problem solving, organisation and creativity are examples of such skills and dispositions.
At Whittlesea Primary School we believe that integrating ICT across all areas of the curriculum is pivotal for preparing our students for the 21st century. Students at Whittlesea Primary School are provided with regular opportunities to utilise a variety of tools including netbooks, iPads, desktop computers, iPods, flip cameras and digital cameras, creating a dynamic and enriched learner-centred environment. Each classroom also has an interactive television or interactive whiteboard.
ICT is used across all year levels at Whittlesea Primary School to support the AusVELS dimensions for Information Communication Technology. These include using ICT for visual thinking, creating and communicating. Students have access to use a variety of apps, software and websites to support their learning including mapping tools such as Popplet to organise thinking, creating movies using iMovie on the iPads, and using Edmodo and student email for online communication.
Whittlesea Primary School is also involved in the Australian Government eSmart initiative, which places focus on assisting children and parents to understand Internet protocols and teaches children how to be safe online.
At Whittlesea Primary School our Visual Art program develops a student’s ability to create art works, explore materials and techniques, as well as respond to their own and others’ art works.
Our children are involved in painting, printing, drawing, mask making, collage, construction, modelling, threads and textiles and art appreciation. Students also experience and experiment with a wide variety of materials, textures, tools and techniques whilst developing a strong vocabulary in these areas.
In years 3 to 6, Visual Arts incorporates Design, Creativity and Technology. This develops complex thinking skills and an understanding there is usually more than one solution to a problem. Students construct diagrams that include annotations, select appropriate tools and equipment to see a piece of art from the design stage through construction to completion and evaluation.
All children attend a one-hour PE class each week. They participate in activities that are skills based as well as engaging in activities that promote health and fitness. Literacy and mathematics are incorporated into the lessons and the school values linked to goals.
All children have the opportunity to participate in swimming lessons each year and gymnastic lessons by PIT Gym every second year.
The Prep children complete perceptual motor performance (PMP) activities during term one. These include running, hopping, skipping and jumping with and without equipment. Throughout the year they learn and/or extend fundamental motor skills with equipment such as beanbags, hoops, balls, bats and ropes.
Children in years one and two extend their fundamental motors skills and use these in partner and group activities. They develop and extend ball skills such as hitting, kicking, bouncing, throwing and catching. The children practise skipping with a short rope and running into a turning long rope. They complete gymnastic activities incorporating balance, rolling, bouncing, jumping and springing.
The year 3 and 4 students further extend their skills of hitting, kicking, dribbling, throwing and catching and use these in small group and team activities. They begin to use strategies such as leading out and finding space, which they use in major games such as football, basketball and netball. They practise more advanced skills with an individual skipping rope and complete skipping activities with a partner and in a long rope.
The students in years 5 and 6 practise hitting, kicking, dribbling, throwing and catching skills that are required to become a competent performer in major games such as t-ball, soccer, netball, football, volleyball, basketball and cricket. They learn the rules and etiquette for each sport and assist their peers to improve performance. The students assess others and their own skills and use strategies to enhance performance.
Whittlesea Primary School offers an engaging and varied music program. Each class has a weekly one hour session. The Prep to Grade 2 program is heavily influenced by the Kodaly philosophy. Children’s songs, singing games and folk dances are used to develop aural awareness, literacy and performance skills and melodic and rhythmic ability. The Grade 3-6 program combines singing and playing instruments to teach music literacy. Instruments are chosen with reference to physical development and ability to hold instruments. Rhythmic time names are used and students are developing skills in improvisation, composition and performance.
Outside of the weekly music lesson, students can participate in the school choir, ukulele group, the State School Spectacular or take private instrumental lessons with an instrumental music teacher who visits the school weekly.
In the year 2000, scientists from University College London performed scans on the brains of city taxi drivers. What they discovered was incredibly interesting: the part of the brain that deals with navigation was actually larger than that of people from the general population. The researchers also found that the more experience the drivers got, the more this part of their brain would ‘grow’.1
This research is exciting for anyone involved in education. It shows how the brain is just like the rest of the body – activity leads to growth. People can literally change their brain and make themselves smarter.
With that in mind, Whittlesea Primary School is offering a new elective program for students from year 4 to 6. This program will give students the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience and ‘grow’ their brain by focusing on an area that they find interesting.
These electives will run in addition to the Chinese elective with Mrs Chong.
Nine possible electives were offered to students and they selected their preferred course. The electives courses that will be run are as follows:
- Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)- extending computer skills
- Chess and Strategy Games- developing logical thinking skills
- Indigenous Studies- building knowledge about Australian Indigenous peoples and their cultures, both past and present
- Asia and its History- learning about cultures and history of the Asian region
- Forensics and the Law- developing analytical thinking skills used in the justice system
- School Newspaper- developing research and writing skills and finding out about the school community
We look forward to providing future updates on the progress students make in their elective courses.
The year 4-6 teachers.
1Reference: ‘Taxi drivers’ brains ‘grow’ on the job’, BBC News, 14/3/2000, https://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/677048.stm
Year Level Overviews
The Early Years Learning Centre is where students in Years Prep to 2 learn together in a bright, modern and supportive environment. Through the Early Years literacy programs and numeracy programs teachers focus on each individual child’s starting point for learning and then plan to meet these needs through small targeted teaching groups. The early years classes also work on inquiry units focusing on other key learning areas such as science, design and creativity and humanities. These units are based around children’s interests, aim to develop curiosity about the world and provide a real life context for teaching literacy and numeracy.
Year Six Program
Year 6 is a critical year in the cognitive, social and emotional development of children. They move into a period of early adolescence when great changes to their learning structure and environment are encountered. Students in this year of schooling require a mode of curriculum delivery that will effectively meet their unique learning and well-being needs, as well as support them to successfully transition to secondary school.
Whittlesea Primary School is catering for the diverse and unique needs of year 6 students by implementing a specialised Year 6 Program. In essence our program is a secondary model delivered in a safe and secure primary setting. From their first day right through to their last day of year 6, our students are supported through a journey of independent and social development that enables them to transition effortlessly into any secondary school their families may choose.
Some of the features of our Year 6 Program are:
- Six specialist teachers; English, Mathematics and Science, ICT and Humanities, Physical Education, Art and Music
- Specialised learning centres and classrooms for each year 6 specialist class
- Individual student timetables
- Targeted learning opportunities to aid in secondary transition
- Learning opportunities to support cognitive, social and emotional development of adolescence
Whittlesea Primary School’s Year 6 Program is receiving overwhelming support and very positive feedback from the community and our Year 6 students. Please contact the school for further information or for a specialised Year 6 Program school tour.
Assessment & Reporting
The reporting system at our school involves:
- A parent-teacher conference at the beginning of the school year for all prep children. A parent–teacher conversation (’getting to know you’) for Years 1- 6 children early in the year.
- Interim reports in terms 1 and 3.
- A written report and a three way child-parent-teacher conference in June.
- A written report in December.
Teacher parent conversations happen whenever required at parent or teacher invitation.