teaching  learning 1At St Thomas’ we provide our students with an engaging curriculum of breadth, balance and depth. It encompasses a wide range of excellent educational opportunities that prepare students to be active, creative and informed members of the 21st century. Our teaching and learning is based on the Western Australian Curriculum, which outlines the essential knowledge, skills, values and behaviours that students need so as to face the challenges of this era with confidence.

 

Our Teaching and Learning programs reflect our school mission of ‘Educating the Whole Child’ in an environment that promotes excellence and encourages students to become successful, confident and creative learners and active and informed citizens.

 

Literacy

 

Our school has a strong focus on literacy and is committed to helping all students reach their potential. The St Thomas’ School Literacy program draws heavily on current research both nationally and internationally and is aimed at the teaching and learning of literacy and whole school improvement across all strands of English. This program has been developed in accordance with the West Australian Curriculum, the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy of the Catholic Education Office of WA and the Early Years Learning Framework.

 

As we believe early childhood education provides a basis for life and learning, our strong literacy focus begins in Kindergarten and is maintained through to Year Six.

 

Literacy Dedicated Time

 

Our Literacy Program is based on blocks of time, usually ninety minutes, dedicated to Literacy teaching and learning each day. In order to cater for the diverse range of needs evident across classes, teachers have the opportunity to work at a whole class, small group and at an individual student level during these times. A strong focus on explicit teaching is evident throughout the school.

 

Data Gathering

 

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Data gathering is essential if teachers are to design learning opportunities that meet the needs of every child. Assessment of student progress is rigorous and comprehensive, reflecting the curriculum and drawing on a combination of the professional judgment of teachers and standardised testing, including National Testing.

 

Information from these ongoing assessment tasks is used to guide instructional programs. This assessment data is also useful in monitoring progress in student learning over time and providing an ongoing picture of how our programs are impacting on student learning.

 

Literacy Intervention 

 

Even with the best classroom teaching available, some students will have difficulty in early literacy learning. Once identified, these students make accelerated progress by accessing comprehensive short-term intervention programs with specially trained staff.  In literacy this is the Reading Recovery Program which is undertaken in Year One.

 

Literacy support and enrichment are offered in classes for students achieving at the lowest levels in the class as well as for those students requiring extension.

 

Numeracy

 

At St Thomas’ our aim is to ensure all children from Kindergarten to Year Six reach their potential in numeracy. Our programs are based on the WA Curriculum, the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy of the Catholic Education Office of WA, and the Early Years Learning Framework.

 

Numeracy Dedicated Time is a block of time, usually sixty minutes each day dedicated to numeracy teaching and learning. This time is structured allowing the teacher to work at a whole class, small group and individual level, enabling the teacher to meet the needs of the differing levels of student achievement within each class. Explicit teaching is integral to this curriculum area.

 

During this time we aim to:

  • Engage students in rich and meaningful mathematics involving concrete materials and hands on learning experiences.teaching  learning 3
  • Make maths real-life and linked to student experiences.
  • Allow students to take risks and make errors.
  • Lead students to build on existing knowledge, to challenge and rehearse for fluency.
  • Develop maths-specific language.
  • Encourage students to think of the process rather than the product.
  • Develop a multitude of problem solving skills.

 

Data is collected to determine the starting point for instruction. This can involve one on one assessments as well as NAPLAN data, standardised tests, class tasks, informal assessments and teacher judgment.

Numeracy support is offered in classes for students achieving at the lowest levels in classes as well as for those students requiring extension.

 

E-Challenge and Extension

 

Educational provisions are made for St Thomas’ students to have opportunities to discover and perform to their potential. We aim to identify and maximise the learning outcomes of the Gifted and Talented students in our care. The program has been named E-Challenge to incorporate both enrichment and extension in challenging ways.

 

This enrichment and extension class incorporates literacy, science, design and technology, thinking skills and society and environment modules with an emphasis on higher order thinking. The diverse, challenging and differentiated program enables the students to progress beyond standard curriculum requirements to take risks, and build knowledge and skills in a safe, flexible context.

Enrichment and extension of literacy and numeracy throughout the school from Years One–Six is integral and runs in conjunction with the E-Challenge program.

 

The Arts

 

teaching  learning 4St Thomas’ has a strong Arts program conducted throughout the school where students are encouraged to develop their creative skills, critical appreciation and knowledge.

 

We have a specialist Visual Arts teacher and Visual arts classroom, where students are encouraged to pursue their artistic talents using a range of resources. Students participate in specialist Art lessons once a week and classroom teachers integrate visual arts activities into their weekly programs. All children present work for display around the school and at the bi-annual St Thomas’ Art Show.

 

We also have a specialist Music teacher at the school. Students participate in weekly lessons where they learn songs, create music and have the opportunity to learn instruments. Instrumental students also play at schools gatherings, liturgies, masses and the Catholic Performing Arts Festival.

 

EduDance is integral to our dance curriculum. This is a highly motivating and externally provided weekly program that runs throughout Term 2 of each year. Drama is covered as part of each classroom teacher’s program and is often integrated into other learning areas.

 

Health & Physical Education

 

Health Education is taught by classroom teachers during weekly lessons, with the focus being on developing inter and intra personal skills, promoting resilience and fostering social skills. A range of programs are utilised within the health learning area, including Friendly Schools, Challenges and Choices and Rainbows.

 

Students at St Thomas’ participate in a physical education lesson each week with a specialist teacher.  These lessons focus on the skills needed to lead healthy and active lifestyles and to provide opportunities for students to develop the skills to be involved in individual and team sports. Students participate in morning fitness and a Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) Program operates in Early Learning.

 

All year levels are involved in annual school athletics and swimming carnivals, with our students having the opportunity to participate in interschool swimming, athletics, interschool sport and cross-country events.

The school also offers a range of extra-curricular sporting activities, such as running and swimming clubs.

 

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Science is a specialist Learning Area at St Thomas’ for all students from Kindergarten to Year Six.

 

Within Science lessons, students learn to investigate, understand and communicate about physical, biological, chemical and earth and space sciences. They have the opportunity to become critical thinkers by using evidence to evaluate the use of science in our lives.

 

Society & Environment

 

Society & Environment programs are created to develop, through a process of inquiry, students’ knowledge, understanding, skills and values regarding the natural and social world in which they live. Students develop their understanding of how individuals and groups live together and interact with their environment. Teachers often engage in excursions to support the teaching of this learning area.

 

A focus on environmental sustainability and Aboriginal and Torres Islander histories and cultures are integrated across the curriculum and embedded in all learning areas.

 

Technology & Enterprise

 

The Technology & Enterprise Learning Area provides students with opportunities to become actively involved in dealing with a changing world and meeting the needs of individuals and groups in society.

 

At St Thomas’ we believe that technology should be integrated across all learning areas within every classroom and as such each class has access to a bank of iPads, with students in Years 3-5 working in a 1:1 iPad classroom. The school also has a state-of-the-art Mac Lab that classes utilise on a regular basis throughout the week.