Learning & Teaching

Learning at St Michael's takes place across seven Key Learning Areas:

  • Religious Education
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE)
  • Science and Technology
  • Creative Arts
  • Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE)

Students in Years 2 and 6 participate in weekly drama literacy lessons, an in depth study of a picture book allowing for language development, comprehension, reading and drama performance.

Students in Year 3 participate in weekly strings lessons as an important skill in learning a musical instrument.

The Empowerment, Engagement and Reflection of all our children is our ultimate goal. In getting to know our children all our curriculum development and teaching and learning programs are based on the analysis and reflection of assessment data.

Literacy and numeracy action plans

St Michael's Primary School, Blacktown South is currently taking part in the NSW State Literacy and Numeracy Project which will continue until the end of 2017.

The State Literacy and Numeracy Action Plan is a NSW Government commitment (using predominately Federal Government funding and some State Government funding) to address literacy and numeracy performance in primary schools. Under this Action Plan, the NSW Government is committing $261 million over 5 years to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes across the State. In order for all school sectors to work towards the achievement of this commitment, CEC (NSW) has accepted the advice of the NSW Ministerial Advisory Group (MAGLAN) for the preparation of sectorial funding agreements which detail the NSW Government's funding allocations and each sector's implementation and reporting requirements.

The Action Plan Priorities (as recommended by MAGLAN) which must be included in the sector's Implementation Plans are:

  • The introduction of a daily numeracy block for Kindergarten to Year 2
  • The embedding of instructional leadership
  • Continued support for the use of a tiered intervention approach to improving literacy and numeracy outcomes
  • The trialling of innovations with the potential to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes
  • The development and trialling of a program to train and accredit volunteers to deliver literacy and numeracy programs in schools
  • The trialling of strategies that strengthen partnerships between home and school, using place-based approaches that work best to identify areas of literacy and numeracy need.
  • Key Learning Areas
    • English
      ‘Developing proficiency in English enables students to take their place as confident communicators, critical and imaginative thinkers, life long learners and informed, active participants in Australian society’ – Board of Studies NSW, English K–6 Syllabus.


      English learning at St Michael’s is grounded in the content and processes outlined in the NSW English Syllabus. Students learn to and about Speaking & Listening, Reading and Writing through a balanced literacy model. In a balanced literacy model, students learn though a combination of teacher modelling and demonstrating, shared or guided activities and independent activities.

      Learning in English is supported by an extensive range of high-quality reading and library resources, and learning technology. Learning programs are provided for students with special education, non-English speaking background and communication needs. St Michael’s has a particular focus on early intervention; using the school's assessment and teaching resources to identify and assist students in need of support before the end of Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2).

    • Mathematics

      The Mathematics K-10 Syllabus contains the syllabus content for Early Stage 1 to Stage 5. Within each stage, the syllabus is organised into three content strands, Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry and Statistics and Probability, with the components of Working Mathematically integrated into these strands.

      The continued development of Mathematics learning at St Michael’s has been a particular area of focus since 2010. Teachers have undergone a professional development process called Extending Mathematical Understanding (EMU) to better understand the demands of the contemporary Mathematics curriculum. Significant acquisitions continue to be made to build upon the school's collection of teaching and learning resources.

    • Human Society and Its Environment

      Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE) seeks to develop within children an understanding of the social and physical world in which they live, enabling them to function within it as just and active citizens. The NSW HSIE K–6 syllabus organises the curriculum content across four strands, namely Change and Continuity, Cultures, Environments and Social Systems and Structures. Students learn in HSIE through using an inquiry process of gathering, analysing, synthesising and applying information.

    • Science and Technology

      In Science and Technology students learn about natural and built environments.

      Study of these environments leads to a greater understanding of:

      • buildings and structures
      • information and communication
      • living things
      • physical phenomena
      • products and services
      • the earth and its surroundings.

      The NSW Science and Technology curriculum facilitates learning about the subject matter of natural and built environments through the development of skills of Working Scientifically and Working Technology.

      Subject matter in HSIE and Science and Technology can sometimes interrelate and often provides a meaningful context to facilitate learning of content and skills in other Key Learning Areas such as English, Mathematics and Creative Arts. Most grade excursions are chosen to support learning in either HSIE or Science and Technology.

    • Creative Arts

      The NSW syllabus for Creative Arts includes four strands; Visual Arts, Music, Dance and Drama. Each develops its own skills in making, composing, performing, listening, organising sound, and appreciating as appropriate.

      The Music strand of the Creative Arts curriculum is provided for in weekly lessons with the school's specialised music teacher. The Music program is further enriched by an annual performance and lesson sequence from one of the many Captivate Performances.

      The school participates in a number of extra-curricular activities involving Creative Arts. The school has a choir directed by the music teacher, participates in Diocesan Creative Arts Festivals held every three years and has reached the state finals in the National Story Festival, Wakakirri.

    • Personal Development, Health and Physical Education

      The state curriculum for Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) seeks to develop the child as a whole person. Its aim is to develop within children a healthy lifestyle, a positive sense of self-worth, as well as sound personal decision making. Learning in PDHPE covers a broad range of knowledge, skills and values and attitudes in the areas of Fundamental Movement and Physical Activity, Healthy Choices, and Self and Relationships. A specialist teacher provides weekly physical education lessons that support the classroom PDHPE program.

      For more information see: Sport

    • Religious Education
      Religious Education Images

       

      St Michael’s Primary follows the Religious Education syllabus for Catholic schools prescribed by the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta titled ‘Sharing Our Story’. In line with syllabus documents from the NSW Board of Studies, the Religious Education syllabus requires students, at various stages, to achieve certain outcomes in the areas of God, Jesus, Sacraments, Prayer, Scripture and Church. Importantly the syllabus requires that teaching/learning activities cater for the different learning styles and levels of ability of the children.

      At St Michael’s we aim to integrate the school's Religious Education program into the whole curriculum to ensure that the children come to follow Jesus in the Catholic tradition, developing values and attitudes that could be described as essentially Catholic. Meaningful lessons in Religious Education are part of the school day and gospel values and attitudes permeate all aspects of school life.

      Children have the opportunity to celebrate liturgies, which reflect the liturgical seasons and the life of the school. They also participate in reconciliation and prayer times as part of the school day. Grade liturgies are held throughout the year. This is an opportunity for parents to pray with the St Michael’s community.

      The parish facilitates family-centred First Reconciliation, First Eucharist and Confirmation programs for the children and the school supports these initiatives within its Religious Education program.

    • Support Programs

      At St Michael’s, we are committed to engaging each student in their learning by recognising and responding to the individual needs, talents and interests of all, and to engaging with a sense of hope for the future by equipping each child with the skills required to work towards their full potential.

      As such, a number of learning support programs exist to meet the special needs of students.


      Diversity Team

      The Diversity Team of teachers and teacher assistants provide learning support in a number of ways to students with recognised diverse learning needs. In addition, the learning of students with diagnosed disabilities is guided by an Personalised Plan (PP) which is written in collaboration with the classroom teacher, the special education team and parents.

      Some students with diagnosed disabilities such as hearing or vision impairment or communication disorders may also receive regular small group or individual support from an itinerant teacher.


      English as a Second Language (ESL) Education

      The wonderful cultural diversity at St Michael’s provides the school with the challenge of meeting the literacy learning needs of students whose language background is not English. Students with a Language Background Other than English (LBOTE) may speak a language other than English themselves, or may be exposed to a language other than English at home.

      St Michael’s also provides additional support to New Arrivals students who require intensive instruction in the English language. This is supported by the work of New Arrivals itinerant teachers who work across schools.

      ESL and New Arrivals Education are just two of the cross-curricular programs in operation in the Diocese of Parramatta.


      Literacy Support

      St Michael’s provides additional small group and individual support to students who are identified as requiring support in their literacy development. The focus for literacy support is on early intervention. This is so that needs are identified and start to be addressed in the early years of school.


      Indigenous Education

      Indigenous students at St Michael’s and across the Diocese are supported by Aboriginal Education Assistants from the Jarara Indigenous Education Unit Jarara provides this assistance in order to ensure the appropriate education and pastoral care of Indigenous students and families. This involves working to address the specific learning needs of Indigenous students, as well as providing opportunities to help students strengthen their Indigenous identity.

    • Extra Curricular Activities

      To ensure that students are provided with a wide range of opportunities to cater for all learning styles the following activities, programs, facilities and events are part of school life at St Michael’s:

      • Interactive white boards, Apple TV's and iPad's
      • Specialist Physical Education teacher
      • Specialist Music teacher
      • Life education program
      • Sporting activities and carnivals
      • Representative teams for netball, soccer, touch football, basketball swimming, athletics and cross-country
      • Involvement in local community art competitions
      • Inter-school visits with others schools
      • String lessons with a specialist teacher
      • Drama literacy lessons with specialist teachers
      • Individual music lessons
      • Participation in Diocesan Captivate Performances for Creative Arts
      • Inter-school Debating Competitions
      • World of Maths
      • Author visits
      • Harmony & NAIDOC celebrations
      • Book Week activities
      • Literacy and Numeracy week activities
    • Sport

      Sport within St Michael’s plays a very important part in the education of the whole individual. The major emphasis of the Physical Education (PE) Program is that of skills development. The children practise a wide range of skills covering a number of sports.

      The PDHPE Program  is well planned, and geared to the needs, interests and development level of the children, thus it is expected that all children participate at all levels.

      There are four sport colour houses – Red, Blue, Green and Gold. Children are put into a colour when they start at St Michael’s. Families are kept in the same colour.

      Children compete first at the school level and then progress to zone, diocesan and inter- diocesan levels in athletics, swimming and cross-country. At present we participate in gala and knockout days in:

      • netball
      • touch football
      • soccer (girls and boys)
      • basketball
    • Library

      The St Michael’s school library is a centre for learning and technology.

      Each class has an assigned borrowing time, and children are encouraged to borrow regularly and return books promptly for others to use.

      All students are required to have a material library bag to carry books. School library bags are available from the clothing pool. Alternatively, home-made or shop-purchased bags are acceptable. Please ensure names are clearly marked.

      Parents are invited to assist with routine tasks such as shelving books or covering new resources.  This helps maintain resources and keep the library organised.

      A parent library is being developed and parents are invited to browse and borrow resources before and after school.


      Borrowing limits

      Librarian

      At St Michael's school library, students borrow each week at a regular class borrowing time. They may also borrow and return at lunchtimes, Monday to Thursday, when the library is open.

      The following limits apply, but may be increased at the class teacher's discretion.

      • Kindergarten: 1 book in Terms 1 and 2, then 2 books.
      • Year 1: 2 books
      • Year 2: 2 books
      • Year 3: 3 books
      • Year 4: 3 books
      • Year 5: 3 books
      • Year 6: 3 books

      Year 6 students may borrow up to 10 books during all holiday times.

      All students from Kindergarten to Year 5 are expected to have a cloth library bag for carrying books.


      Parent library

      Do you know we have a parent library?

      At St Michael's the school library has a special section for parents. Parents can borrow from it by calling at the library, but remember ... please return what you borrow as soon as you have finished with it so other parents can use it.


      Damaged books

      Students are expected to take care of books when in their possession. However, accidents can happen.

      If pages become loose, we ask that you do not mend them, but return them to the library for repair as we have special tapes for the purpose.

      Damaged books should not be put back on the shelves, but handed to Mrs Buhagiar or your child’s teacher.

      If you find writing or drawing in library books, please report it immediately to Mrs Buhagiar.


      Overdue and lost books

      Students are asked to return books promptly for others to share.

      Books are usually borrowed for one week, but most may be ‘renewed’ for a further week if unfinished.

      High demand books must be returned in one week. If unfinished, students will have to re-borrow them at a later date. This is to ensure as many students as possible have access. (If you have a ‘high demand’ book, it would be a good idea to concentrate on that and not read others in the same week.)

      ‘High demand’ books include the Harry Potter stories, Where's Wally?, Amelia Bedelia, Racing Cars and others that, from time to time, become popular. There will also be time limits imposed on books required for class projects. 


      Reminder notes/bills

      Reminder notes will be sent to students with overdue books each term.

      Students with overdue books will not be able to borrow until late books are returned. This is to develop a sense of responsibility when using school property.

      All books should be returned at the end of each term – except for Years 5 and 6.

      A bill will be sent for lost books that cannot be found after one month. The money collected will be used to replace the lost book.

Learning & Teaching

  • Learning at St Michael's takes place across seven Key Learning Areas:

    • Religious Education
    • English
    • Mathematics
    • Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE)
    • Science and Technology
    • Creative Arts
    • Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE)

    Students in Years 2 and 6 participate in weekly drama literacy lessons, an in depth study of a picture book allowing for language development, comprehension, reading and drama performance.

    Students in Year 3 participate in weekly strings lessons as an important skill in learning a musical instrument.

    The Empowerment, Engagement and Reflection of all our children is our ultimate goal. In getting to know our children all our curriculum development and teaching and learning programs are based on the analysis and reflection of assessment data.

    Literacy and numeracy action plans

    St Michael's Primary School, Blacktown South is currently taking part in the NSW State Literacy and Numeracy Project which will continue until the end of 2017.

    The State Literacy and Numeracy Action Plan is a NSW Government commitment (using predominately Federal Government funding and some State Government funding) to address literacy and numeracy performance in primary schools. Under this Action Plan, the NSW Government is committing $261 million over 5 years to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes across the State. In order for all school sectors to work towards the achievement of this commitment, CEC (NSW) has accepted the advice of the NSW Ministerial Advisory Group (MAGLAN) for the preparation of sectorial funding agreements which detail the NSW Government's funding allocations and each sector's implementation and reporting requirements.

    The Action Plan Priorities (as recommended by MAGLAN) which must be included in the sector's Implementation Plans are:

    • The introduction of a daily numeracy block for Kindergarten to Year 2
    • The embedding of instructional leadership
    • Continued support for the use of a tiered intervention approach to improving literacy and numeracy outcomes
    • The trialling of innovations with the potential to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes
    • The development and trialling of a program to train and accredit volunteers to deliver literacy and numeracy programs in schools
    • The trialling of strategies that strengthen partnerships between home and school, using place-based approaches that work best to identify areas of literacy and numeracy need.
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