Curriculum

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The Queensland Studies Authority and ACARA determine the Curriculum that is required to be taught in all Queensland schools.  As such, the QSA and ACARA curriculum documents form the basis of all the secular subjects taught at St Mary’s School. The following LEARNING AREAS (LAs) are addressed throughout the school:
o   English
o   Mathematics
o   History
o   Geography
o   Science
o   Technology
o   The Arts
o   Health and Physical Education
o   LOTE (Japanese)​
Where practicable, an integrated approach is used across the learning areas. Teachers undertake co-operative planning where this is of benefit to the child.
Home and the family are the first environments where children take their initial steps in their life long Faith journey. The role of St Mary’s School is to support parents and families and the parish in the responsibility for passing on the Faith to their children. Parent participation in all aspects of the School’s Religious Education Program is encouraged. Religious Education seeks to develop the religious literacy of students in light of the Catholic Christian tradition, so that they might participate critically and authentically in contemporary culture.

Curriculum

In 2012, a new Religious Education curriculum was approved by the Archdiocese of Brisbane and provides the basis for the teaching of Religion in the School. The Religious Education curriculum seeks to provide a range of graded activities so that the children may experience Catholic Christian beliefs and values as they are lived out within the daily community life of the school. Education for justice and peace, personal development, care of the needy, pastoral care, prayer, liturgy and the Sacraments are associated elements of our Education in Faith program. 

In the schools and colleges of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, teaching people religion and teaching people to be religious draw upon the Catholic Christian tradition in ways that are mindful of local contexts and the ecumenical and multi-faith realities of contemporary culture. The distinct and complementary nature of both dimensions of Religious Education has been conceptualised in the following Model for Religious Education. 

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The new curriculum is supplemented with a variety of resource materials including online ‘Learning Bytes’ from which a teacher might develop a unit of work.  The study of scripture in a classroom takes the reader into the world of Jewish and Christian believers. Teachers are developing skills to help their students read and interpret scripture. BCE outlines some ‘Core texts’ and these are the prescribed Scriptural texts that need to be taught in depth at each year level. 

Prayer and Liturgy

Children in all year levels are given opportunities to experience class prayer and liturgy regularly throughout the year at their level of readiness and understanding. Class Liturgies are conducted weekly on Fridays by roster. Whole school Liturgy occurs at the beginning and ending of the school year and at special times throughout the school and Church liturgical year. All parents are invited to take part in class and school assemblies, prayer gatherings and liturgies. BCE have outlined the year level at which particular prayers and meditative prayer practices are explicitly taught. 

 

Sacraments

Preparation for the first reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation occurs as part of a Parish based program with the school acting, through its curriculum, in a supporting capacity. Enquiries concerning Sacramental preparation should be referred to the Parish Office. Each year, grades 4 to 7 have an opportunity to attend a second rite of reconciliation. These liturgies are prepared as part of the class religious education program but are celebrated in the evening in the parish church. 
 
All children are encouraged to participate in sporting activities while at school. Years Prep to 6 undertake structured physical education programs that promotes co-ordination, fitness, individual and team skills and formal games.
Swimming lessons are conducted as part of the Health and Physical Education program at the city pool. Availability of pool time determines which classes attend lessons. The purpose of school swimming lessons is for water safety and water confidence. For this reason it is necessary that all children attend swimming lessons unless prevented due to a medical condition.
Mr Paul Heffernan co-ordinates the school’s intra and inter school sport activities. Children are placed in four sports houses and remain in those houses during their time at St Mary's.
During terms 1 and 4 our year 5 and 6 classes participate in inter school sport organised by the Maryborough Primary Sports Association. A variety of winter and summer sports are played.
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY
Our school aims to expose students to a variety of technologies as part of their development as life-long learners. To this end a strategic plan is in place to address technology related in all areas of school life. Students have access to computers and iPads, and to interactive whiteboards. ICT is integrated in most Learning Areas.
Children in all year levels participate in activities exploring both  the VISUAL and the PERFORMING ARTS which encompasses DANCE and DRAMA.  Our specialist ARTS teacher, Mrs Vicky Miles works with each class weekly in the SMARTS Centre.  Each term has a different focus strand of the QSA ARTS Syllabus so that all year levels have opportunities to explore and achieve in Visual Arts, Dance and Drama throughout the year.

In years 4 to 6 instrumental music instruction in strings, brass, woodwind and percussion is available. Children in these classes are also able to participate in St Mary’s School Band and Ensemble programs. The instrumental music program allows children to be exposed to a variety of band instruments as well as the opportunity to play these to performance standard. An extra cost is involved when children participate in the instrumental music program. Details of fees may be found in the section on school fees. Other details concerning the instrumental music program are available from the school office or by contacting Miss Greenfield or Mrs Massey.
St Mary’s also offers an extensive junior and senior choir program. Specialised vocal lessons, led by Mrs Twila Whittingham, are also available. Again, these lessons attract costs above the annual school fees.
St Mary’s students perform in our local eisteddfod each year both individually and with school groups in singing, music and verse.
Arts Council and similar performances visit our school at various times throughout the year.

The school’s recommendation is that homework be given. However, teachers are at liberty to design homework tasks that reflect the needs of the children in their classes. Normally teachers will outline their homework procedures at their Parent/Teacher Information Night held at the beginning of each year. At other times parents should consult their child’s teacher in order to familiarise themselves with the procedure in each class. Parents are expected to support teachers in their supervision of homework.
Reading is an essential activity for the promotion of positive learning and it is expected that every child will read for a short time every night.

 ​ASSESSMENT AND REPORTING
In the first few weeks of the school year Parent Information Nights are held for each class for the purpose of acquainting Parents with Teachers’ expectations for the coming year and to assist in the opening of positive communication channels between school and home. At least one Parent or Guardian is strongly urged to attend these meetings.
It is our policy that children’s development and progress is assessed continuously throughout the year. A variety of methods of assessment are employed, including:
o   Anecdotal records
o   Checklists
o   Work sampling
o   Observation
o   Conferencing
o   Written and oral testing
As difficulties arise every attempt will be made to bring these to your attention as soon as possible.
Written progress reports are provided at the end of each semester. At the end of first semester at least one of the child’s parents or guardians should attend a Parent/Teacher conference for reporting purposes.  An opportunity for a second interview in semester 2 will also be offered.