The academic core of Whittlesea Primary School’s curriculum is the development of literacy and numeracy skills in students across all year levels.
- Students participate in focused English and mathematics lessons on a daily basis where they are supported in developing their understanding and skills through a variety of teacher led, small group and individual tasks.
- Our teachers use the Victorian Curriculum to assess and plan for student learning in English and mathematics.
- Individual learning needs are catered for by students working on tasks addressing their specific needs and learning goals.
- We support our students to identify and set personal learning goals that assist them to progress in their learning.
- We value and support effective parent involvement and provide parent helpers’ training in literacy and numeracy.
Literacy & Numeracy
Our school literacy program focuses on supporting students to develop a strong understanding of reading, writing and speaking and listening. These three language modes are immersed in and taught across all curriculum areas. A whole school reading model, developed and implemented by our staff, identifies key lesson features and evidence-based teaching practices that our teachers employ to support student learning in Reading.
In the Early Years, our school focuses on providing students with rich language experiences that support them to learn new ways to apply the skills of reading, writing and speaking and listening while developing their understanding of language and vocabulary. Students are explicitly taught the relationship between the sounds (phonemes) of spoken language, and the letters (graphemes), groups of letters, or syllables of written language through the Write to Read program. Our teachers support students to develop and apply their understanding and skills through a variety of teacher led, small group and individual learning tasks focusing on specific student needs.
As our students progress in their learning, our staff teach and support them 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. We support our students to 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.
Our numeracy program encourages students to develop a strong understanding of number and how to apply this knowledge to solve problems. Before students are able to use numbers flexibly and with understanding they need to have the basic skills; trusting the count, place value, multiplicative thinking and partitioning. Teachers enable students to gain a deep understanding of core concepts and apply new knowledge in different situations. Students take greater responsibility over their learning through strategic scaffolding between concrete, pictorial and abstract supports.
At each level, students are exposed to the three strands of Mathematics in a variety of ways.
- Number and algebra – Students engage with the ‘Big Ideas’ in Number to help develop their number sense.
- Measurement and geometry – Students explore measurement using informal e.g. hand spans, and formal units e.g. mm, cm, m and km. They also discover the properties of 2D and 3D shapes and explore locational language.
- Statistics and probability – Students explore the concept of chance and probability and collect and analyse data using a variety of methods.
As learners develop their mathematical proficiencies our curriculum focuses on developing increasingly sophisticated and refined mathematical understanding, fluency, reasoning, and problem-solving skills. These proficiencies enable students to respond to familiar and unfamiliar situations by employing mathematical strategies to make informed decisions and solve problems efficiently.
Developing deep understandings in a wide range of maths skills is achieved by our continued focus around hands-on and applied mathematics. Using a tried and tested approach to STEM (integrated Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics curriculum) students learn through project-based learning tasks which link their current understandings to real-world problems. They learn collaboration and problem-solving skills all while answering the vital question; what does this have to do with my life, when will I need to know this? Through this program, students are equipped with transferable skills that set them up for a lifetime of success.
We provide training for classroom helpers and interactive sessions that develop partnerships between schools and parents. Our classroom helpers’ training sessions take place in Term 1 and Term 3 and are advertised to the school community.
To support the development of positive learning habits and skills at home please refer to the following Department of Education and Training (DET) resources:
Inquiry learning helps students to learn HOW to learn. Through inquiry learning, students come to understand and manage themselves as learners. At Whittlesea Primary School, teachers address all aspects of the Victorian Curriculum our students learn about the Humanities; Civics and Citizenship, Economics and Business, Geography and History and Science using the inquiry model over a two-year cycle. The inquiry model follows a sequence of activities and experiences to build on and challenge student’s perceptions. The sequence is inquiry based, i.e. it begins with student’s prior knowledge and experiences and moves through a deliberate process that helps the student’s knowledge to be extended, challenged and refined.
Explicit instruction is an essential part of the Whittlesea Primary School Inquiry Plan. Explicit instruction refers to the process whereby teachers make the skills and knowledge to be learnt explicit to students. The teacher then directly assists the students to acquire the skills and knowledge involved following the Victorian Curriculum. The key point with explicit instruction is that the student is aware of the skills and knowledge to be acquired and is actively involved in the acquisition process. Students are provided with opportunities to gain competence with these skills and knowledge, and then to use them in practical and meaningful activities.
Teachers adopt a gradual release of responsibility approach where classroom lessons move more systematically from extensive teacher input and little student responsibility to total student responsibility and minimal teacher involvement at the conclusion of the inquiry cycle.
Students undertake a personalised inquiry for each of the units taught. Personalised inquiry is an opportunity for learners to pursue questions/interests/passions/challenges that they determine. Individual learners design inquiries that allow them to travel on a learning path of their choosing. They might be inquiring into how to design and make something, how to improve a skill or inquiring into a question they find fascinating.
Students may choose to present their inquiry findings in a range of different ways, including an oral presentation where students will be assessed on the Victorian Curriculum Speaking and Listening mode.
At Whittlesea Primary School, teachers use an inquiry cycle that has been adapted from the Kath Murdoch Inquiry cycle.
Whittlesea Primary School offers all students an integrated Arts program incorporating both Visual Art and Performing Arts (dance, drama and music), as outlined in the Victorian Curriculum. It is a valuable curriculum learning area that assists in educating the whole child, inspires them to take risks in their learning and helps develop their overall confidence. It also allows an avenue and outlet for creativity, divergent thinking, relaxation, expression, enjoyment and performance.
The Arts program encourages the students to develop their skills in communication and self-expression through many different forms, including sharing stories and symbols from their own and other cultures, re-enacting well-known stories and using creative arts, such as drawing, painting and sculpture, drama, dance, movement and music to communicate with others. They create and explore imaginary worlds through dramatic play and through artworks.
Students participate in weekly Arts lessons. Outside of these, students will have opportunity to be involved in the school choir, the Victorian State School Spectacular, performances at our whole school events or they can even take private instrumental lessons with an instrumental music teacher who visits the school weekly.
Physical Education / Sport
The Health and Physical Education program at Whittlesea Primary School has the development of the whole child at its centre. We aim to provide students with a strong foundation for lifelong physical activity participation by developing proficiency of their fundamental movement skills, as well as concepts and strategies to enable students to confidently, competently and creatively participate in a range of physical activities. The program aims to build resilience, develop and strengthen students’ sense of self, and help students build and manage respectful relationships with their peers and the wider community.
Whittlesea Primary School also has a range of whole school events and interschool sports opportunities to complement the Health and Physical education curriculum. Each year we have our annual house athletics carnival, cross country carnival and swimming lessons for every student. Once students reach Year 3, they are given the opportunity to represent our school in a wide range of team sports, as well as individual events such as swimming, athletics and cross country.
Rich Learning Experiences
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