As we begin the process of interviews for students starting school in 2020, it may be a great time to review some aspects of school structures. A few questions recently have been a timely prompt to share more about the busy days of school, curriculum, reporting, teaching and learning. Below is a small overview of some key aspects of life at St John’s.
The Curriculum – Geelong Lutheran College St John’s Newtown and Armstrong Creek both assess and report against the Australian Curriculum. This can be found by going to: https://www.acara.edu.au/
While the website is very dense, it is worth exploring, especially the ‘Parent Information’ pages. The Curriculum subjects are:
- Language Other Than English (LOTE)
- HASS (Humanities and Social Sciences) This includes – Geography, History, Civics and Citizenship (for Years 3 – 6) and Economics and Business (for Years 5&6)
- The Arts (Music, Drama, Visual Art and Dance)
- Physical Education and Health
- Christian Studies (CSCF through Lutheran Education Australia)
Wherever possible, the curriculum is integrated allowing for more relevant and broader experiences to engage the students richly and rigorously. At St John’s we call this our ‘Integrated Units’ which incorporate many curriculum areas and comprises significant teaching and learning time over the week. Science, English and HASS concepts become very rich and relevant learning opportunities when taught in a transdisciplinary way.
Our Teachers – All our classroom teachers are known as ‘generalists’ which means they can teach EVERY curriculum area. However, we are also blessed to have teachers who specialise in such areas as Music, Art, Physical Education and Design Technology (incorporating Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – STEM).
At St John’s we also integrate the French language through the Design Technology lessons. For this reason, we call it ‘Creation et Construction’ (Creation and Construction). A great example of these lessons is how the Preps are learning about arches and the associated Science and Mathematics. They are exploring how arches are formed, how they can ‘stay up’ and then look at famous arches around the world. They then begin creating them using a variety of materials. Throughout this process they are learning French words that support the creating process (eg – French words for glue, sticky tape, boxes, popsticks, coloured paper etc). Of course, many attempts are needed to create such a structure and rich learning ensues as the children reflect, refine and discuss new options for their structure. The discussions are amazing!
Reporting – At the end of Term 1 we hold Parent/Teacher/Student interviews. This is a time to come together and learn more about your children, share successes and identified goals to be reached. In Term 2 and 4 formal written reports reflecting each of the Curriculum areas are sent home. Parents and teachers may meet at any time to discuss student achievements.
We also use the app ‘Seesaw’ to enable parents and carers to have up to date information about what is going on in the classrooms, examples of work, photos and videos of life in the classroom.
Homework – With the busyness of the start of the year, there have been limited expectations around homework. We appreciate that some families enjoy a variety of after school activities from which their children learn many things and therefore, beyond regular reading, prefer not to participate in ‘set’ homework. Others, however, enjoy the structure of homework tasks and prefer their children to establish homework routines early in their schooling. While homework is being sent home, the staff are currently reviewing homework practices across the school and exploring a range of options to make this time as valuable and ‘workable’ as possible. Regular reading with and to your children is one of the key aspects of homework and we encourage this to continue.
Schools are dynamic and exciting places – always with lots going on. Please always contact your classroom teacher, the office staff or me to seek clarification about any aspect of your child’s school experiences.