Principles of Learning
Key Learning Areas
The Australian Curriculum forms the basis of classroom teaching and learning and is organised with explicit content descriptors of what is to be taught to students and what is expected of their learning at every year of primary schooling.
The curriculum identifies essential content that all students should be taught and ensures that there is time to pursue deep learning of that content. The Australian Curriculum also allows flexibility for schools and teachers to include local and topical content. Achievement standards have been set to ensure they are challenging and contribute to all students receiving a quality education.
The Australian Curriculum also pays attention to how seven general capabilities and three cross-curriculum dimensions (listed below) contribute to, and can be developed through, teaching in each learning area.
The general capabilities are:
- Information and Communication Technology
- Critical and Creative Thinking
- Ethical Understanding
- Intercultural Understanding
- Personal and Social Capability
The three cross-curriculum dimensions are
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures
- Asia and Australia's Engagement with Asia
Greater detail of the content of our curriculum can be easily accessed by visiting the website www.australiancurriculum.edu.au.
We aim for the children to be nurtured in the Catholic faith and tradition within a Catholic Christian community. They are greatly influenced by the Christian responses they give and receive. The love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, fidelity, gentleness and self-control which they should experience in a community united in Christ, is where the most learning occurs.
Religious Education programming is based upon the Brisbane Curriculum and is taught through the conceptual inquiry model providing opportunities for students to develop connections between curriculum areas. Christian values dominate our entire school program and are not merely ‘taught’ in an RE lesson.
Whole school gatherings are held for significant events and parents are most welcome to celebrate with us.
All children attend Mass every Thursday morning at 9.30 am at St Thomas Aquinas Parish Church and prayer celebrations are conducted throughout the year.
The format for the Sacramental Programs at St Thomas Aquinas is;
- Year 4: Reconciliation and Eucharist
- Year 6: Confirmation
The above year levels are the usual practice. Sacraments are very personal and unique to each individual. In this way if children are considered not to be ready for a particular Sacrament, they can receive the Sacrament at a later date, after consultation with Fr Tom.
Our Parish-based Sacramental program aligns with the Catholic Church's teaching that parents and carers are the first educators. Families play a significant role in the preparation of their children for each Sacrament. Classroom programs support the student preparation as part of the Religious Education curriculum. As a community, the school and parish do their utmost to aid the families in any way they can. All our Sacraments are celebrated in St Thomas Aquinas Parish Church.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
It is the aim of St Thomas Aquinas school to provide all children with “hands-on” experience with technology. Through working with various forms of software and hardware, children not only discover exciting new ways to learn but also are learning how to utilise the technology of the present and the future.
ICT is not an isolated subject but is an integrated part of most areas of learning.
The school has a mobile chrome book pod, with internet, intranet and email capabilities. The school is also networked throughout and each classroom has their own Interactive Whiteboard which is used regularly during all Key Learning Areas. Students in Year 4 are provided with a 1:1 ipad and in year 5 and 6, are asked to provide an iPad to participate in the school’s innovative iPad program.
The Australian Curriculum Languages is designed to enable all students to engage in learning a language in addition to English. At St Thomas Aquinas the students participate in Chinese classes to experience language and cultural activities through the teaching of a second language. We provide instruction each week from Kindergarten to Year 6.
The school provides a range of sporting activities for students. The aim is to promote the positive aspects of team sports and to provide opportunities for all our children to participate in a wide variety of sporting activities for Kindergarten to 6. The Sports Coordinator facilitates teams competing in community based sport under local associations for Netball, Soccer, and the like. The Sports Coordinator organises outside sporting agencies to run specific primary school clinics for all students to experience a variety of team sports.
Children visit the Library on a regular basis each week for borrowing and returning books. Each child’s borrowing records are kept on the computer system.
The Resource Centre is opened at lunchtimes and recess for children to borrow, to sit quietly and read or share a book with a friend.
The teacher librarian conducts regular information literacy and digital technology lessons with all classes. These sessions are not isolated lessons but form part of a cooperative program plan with the class teacher.
All students receive a one hour art lesson each week. You can view our creations around the school.
Students are provided with a variety of musical experiences in the classroom. They are also able to access private music lessons from independent providers.
All classes at St Thomas Aquinas are involved in excursions that enrich and support classroom learning. These excursions are to local venues, with the Year 5 and Year 6 students also attending overnight camps.
St Thomas Aquinas does expect that homework is a part of the learning process but it is not considered overly demanding and excessively difficult to complete. Therefore in K-2 in 2019, children are able to read a book for fun, or be read to. They are also asked to complete a spelling or a letter activity. Children in grades 3-4 are asked to also read and complete a Maths activity. In 5-6, children are asked to do the same, with one assignment a term being added.
Reporting to Parents
This is accomplished in the following ways:
- Early in the school year parents will be given the opportunity to meet their child’s teacher and to familiarise themselves with the class routines and curriculum.
- Parent Teacher Interviews and conferences, known as ‘Three Way Conversations’, which involve parents, the student and the teacher, are held during the year. Written reports are provided at the end of each semester and follow the Government’s A-E reporting format.
- Please feel free to approach your child’s teacher regarding his/her progress. Open lines of communication assist both parents and teachers and ultimately benefit the child. Quite often a word from parents can help teachers to understand marked changes in behaviour and attitude.