Learning & Teaching
St Cecilia's Primary School Glen Iris
Our students and their individual learning needs are at the heart of everything that we do at St Cecilia’s. Our classrooms are alive with quality teaching and strategic, needs-based learning. Our students are engaged, focused and secure in their personalised learning environments, where relationships are nurtured to ensure that every child embarks on their most rewarding academic journey, in safe and productive learning environments.
We teach every child from their point of need, supporting learning challenges and making authentic links to our local and community. It is our vision to see our students progress to secondary school with the appropriate tools for deep thinking and learning and with a solid understanding of themselves as a learner.
Quality learning at St Cecilia’s provides opportunities for whole-class explicit learning (Tell me), smaller needs-based groups (Show me) followed by independent opportunities (Let me) designed to develop and scaffold a resilient, problem solving and inquiring mind and teach learning skills necessary for school and life beyond.
Our approach in the classroom is to provide each child with the opportunity to reach their potential in a supported and inspiring contemporary learning setting. Our contemporary learning spaces are stimulating and inspiring, aiming to meet the varied needs of our students.
Literacy and Numeracy are our high priority learning areas, as the skills and concepts developed during these core areas strengthen learning across the whole curriculum.
Education in Faith
At St Cecilia’s School our Catholic faith is central to our community life together and permeates the whole school curriculum.
We believe in the dignity of the human person and that we are all created in God’s image. We strive to foster the faith development of each person and all members of our community are encouraged to be living examples of Gospel values in their interactions with others.
Religious Education is a curriculum area in its own right, in which a structured program of learning leads the children to develop an understanding of our Catholic traditions, rituals, the Scriptures and sacraments. Wherever possible it is integrated with other curriculum areas and in particular with our Student Well-Being programs.
At St Cecilia’s, we believe that we have been called to carry forward the mission of Jesus Christ through service. Therefore we involve the students in social justice programs and encourage them to make personal responses to their faith and take action in the world.
During Religious Education lessons we employ a range of inquiry and contemporary learning strategies including ICT, song, prayer, liturgy, movement, drama and art to make learning meaningful and enjoyable for the students. We encourage the students to explore and express their wonderings about our Catholic faith.
Parents, as the first educators in faith, are provided with regular opportunities to be involved in the Religious Education program through liturgies, sacraments and other activities.
Religious Education at St Cecilia's Primary School aims to help students grow as faith filled people. We aim to build on the experiences of each student, enhance their opportunity for rich dialogue with others and allow them to form their own understandings and make deep connections with their faith.
At St Cecilia’s Primary School the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, with human dignity at its centre, are embedded in student’s learning experiences across the curriculum and underpin all we do.
At St Cecilia’s we explore Religious Education through an Inquiry based approach; guided by the Catholic Social Teaching Principles we recognise that we don’t live our faith seperate to our life but faith and life are woven together. We encourage students to ask questions and share their wonderings to help make sense of their faith tradition in our world today. Students make connections between their life as a person of faith and their everyday experiences. They share in dialogue to deepen their understanding of what it means to be a faith filled active citizen.
Celebrating our Sacraments highlights and demonstrates that we at St Cecilia’s see the whole school engaging in what Sacramentality means for our community today and how we live sacramentally as integral to our being.
Our Sacramental Season recognises the importance of experiencing sacrament in all aspects of our daily lives. We treasure the opportunity to work alongside Parish and families at the special time of Sacrament preparation for the Sacraments of Reconciliation, First Eucharist and Confirmation. In collaboration with our parish, we offer all baptised Catholic students the opportunity to receive the Sacraments in the following order:
Reconciliation – Year Three
First Eucharist – Year Four
Confirmation – Year Six
In today’s society, to be literate means to have a command of a range of increasingly diverse and complex texts and technologies.
At St Cecilia’s Primary School, we believe that a successful language program is one in which reading, writing, speaking, listening and viewing are integrated in a supportive and stimulating environment.
Our students are exposed to a large range of written, visual and spoken texts in printed and electronic forms. They are supported in making meaning from all text types by developing the knowledge, skills and strategies to read, view and listen critically and to think, speak and write with confidence.
Reading, writing, speaking and listening are important life and communication skills. As students solve problems, share insights and build their knowledge they draw simultaneously on their capacities to read, write, speak and listen. Oral language is considered the precursor to reading and writing and is the necessary stage for children to learn and practise the formal conventions and features of the spoken language and how it links and supports reading and writing.
At St Cecilia’s Primary School the aim of Mathematics in Prep - 6 is to enable students to appreciate Mathematics as an essential and relevant part of life and develop their ability to work mathematically. We believe that key ideas are central to the learning of mathematics, as they link many mathematical understandings in a whole. This supports our students to connect and relate ideas and strategies together.
We develop the students' numeracy capabilities to deal confidently and competently with daily life. We encourage students to become self-motivated, confident learners through inquiry and active participation in challenging and engaging experiences.
Our maths lessons:
include open ended questions where children are thinking, reasoning and communicating
support and enrich children in their learning
develop childrens’ number sense and understanding of number concepts and operations
encourage children to talk about their learning during maths activities
provide opportunities for children to reflect on their learning through sharing and reflection time at the conclusion of each lesson
use materials and technology to support children in their learning
link mathematics to real life experiences and investigations
use ongoing assessment to inform our teaching and plan for individual student needs
are creative, fun and challenging.
At St Cecilia’s it is our role to empower learners by:
Celebrating difference and
Providing educational opportunities that eliminating discrimination
Remaining focused on growth and progress for all.
(Horizons of Hope - CEM)
Class programs are devised to cater for individual needs in the classroom. Students’ individual abilities are measured by a rigorous and comprehensive assessment schedule which is used to inform classroom-teaching practice. Students are grouped according to their ability and are supported and extended within the classroom.
There are a range of support programs to meet the needs of individual students.
In the classroom - through whole/small group teaching & PLP's (Personalised Learning Plans)
LLI (Leveled Literacy Intervention)
Learning Support Staff assistance
Gifted and Talented Program
Gifted & Talented Program
St. Cecilia’s School approaches gifted and talented education from within an inclusive and stimulating learning environment. The term gifted refers to a child's natural ability and the term talented to the attainment of superior skills through systematic development such as study or practice.
Teachers at St. Cecilia’s are aware that, in common with other children, gifted and talented children exhibit a range of behaviours and learning styles and may develop at different rates. They can be gifted in one or several areas. Also, some students with gifts and talents may have specific learning disabilities and can find accessing traditional school programs and/or structures difficult. Directed classroom emphasis on resilience, Multiple Intelligences and higher order thinking are key to our curriculum in the area of gifted and talented education.
The St. Cecilia’s Primary School approach values and implements:
Best teaching practice that embeds higher order thinking across all learning areas. This incorporates student reflection, problem solving strategies, higher order questioning, a risk-taking climate where students can make mistakes and differentiated assessment as part of everyday teaching and learning.
Rich and challenging curriculum which draws heavily on the skills of all teachers in the school, visiting performances, incursions, and online opportunities to stimulate and expand student development, learning and interests.
Teacher expertise in identifying strengths, talents and interests of students without predetermining or limiting future development. Observations in varying situations, formal testing, parent feedback, self and peer reflection, counsellor observations and testing all contribute to the identification of the developing gifted and talented child.
Extension and differentiation across year levels. These structures provide opportunities for targeted extension for identified students. Programs include: Maths and Literacy specialist teachers, Gateways and access to a wide variety of relevant competitions both for individuals and groups, such as Tournament Of The Minds.
Through a model of Inquiry based on Rich Concepts and Understandings, students develop a range of strategies and tools empowering them to discover, inquire and apply their understandings to the world and how it works. Inquiry based learning caters for a diverse range of students’ learning styles and involves students in decision making about their own learning. Experiences are designed to promote students’ capacities to manage themselves as learners, social beings and active citizens. At St Cecilia’s the Inquiry Cycle is a 2 year program that incorporates:
Civics and Citizenship
Economics and Business
Critical and Creative Thinking
Ethical and Intercultural Capabilities
Design and Digital Technologies
We utilise the Horizons of Hope Learning schema where reverence for the sacred dignity of each learner provides a foundation for pedagogy. Through pedagogical choices our educators seek to develop deep learning, powerful teaching and to create animated learners who are inspired by the Holy Spirit to act for justice and strive for the common good. (Horizons of Hope: Pedagogy in a Catholic school, p.2 & 6)
Digital Technologies is taught at St Cecilia’s in the classroom and integrated in all subject areas.
At St Cecilia’s students have the opportunity to develop digital literacy skills and enhance their learning across all curriculum areas. Students at all levels have experience in using coding programs such as Scratch and Scratch junior. The students use a range of hardware, including iPads and Chromebooks which are used extensively as tools to enhance learning.
We have a one to one device program at St Cecilia’s where each of the students from year 1 to year 6 have their own allocated Chromebook for use at school.
Students have access to a wide variety of software to support teaching and learning. The Seesaw application is used by students to share their learning with their families in an effort to strengthen the relationship between school and home.
The school also continues to invest in and develop our digital technology resourcing to keep up to date with the rapid developments in this area of the curriculum, particularly developing school hardware and teacher capabilities in the areas of coding, programming and computational thinking.
Programs related to cyber safety are implemented across all levels. We aim to develop skills and understandings which will enable students to become safe, responsible and respectful digital citizens.
What is STEM? Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Our aim is to develop skills and confidence to design, develop and implement our own STEM-based teaching resources. We provide innovative teaching tools that are relevant to the world of science today and we are extremely excited and enthusiastic to bring these newly developed skills to create high-quality classroom activities that tap new ideas in STEM.
Our Science/STEM Program is taught from Prep to Year 6, engaging and encouraging our students to look at all things scientifically. Our students participate in science lessons, through a variety of ways, including hands-on investigations, incursions and excursions, group discussions and theory based learning. Programs such as Prep – Year 6 Robotics continue to foster and stimulate their curiosity and interest. Students investigate all units of science, including Space science, energy and change, natural disasters, force and motion, sustainability, living things, materials, solids-liquids-gases, and famous Australian scientists. Students and staff are extremely excited about our commitment to the building of a new Stem Centre in the heart of our school, commencing in the second half of 2021.
We believe that a STEM approach to teaching and learning will increase student motivation to learn about real world issues that they can relate to in a relevant and meaningful way. This enables positive impacts on students' attitudes to their learning.
By implementing the many specific STEM resources within the students’ learning, they can develop a deeper knowledge of how to use digital solutions, as well as develop an understanding on the processes associated with being a creator of digital technologies, so that they can take up an active role in addressing current and future needs, as local and global citizens.
Sustainability & Garden Program
Education for Sustainability Vision
At St Cecilia's Primary School we strive to inspire courageous learners to make a difference, respect, care for and share the earth's resources by exploring the sustainability Ethos and Catholic Social Teaching around the Stewardship of Creation.
Physical Education is the acquisition of movement skills, concepts and strategies to enable students to confidently, competently and creatively participate in a range of physical activities. As a foundation for lifelong physical activity participation and enhanced performance, students develop proficiency in movement skills, physical activities and movement concepts and acquire an understanding of the science behind how the body moves. In doing so, they develop an appreciation of the significance of physical activity, outdoor recreation and sport both in Australian society and globally.
Students at St Cecilia’s participate in one 45 minute lesson with a specialist teacher each week. Students may also take part in a more games based lesson with their class teacher weekly, to reinforce the skills being taught through our specialist program.
Inter school sport
St Cecilia’s is a member of Sporting Schools Victoria, and joins in a variety of inter school sport opportunities. In Years 5 and 6 there are events across the school year including cross country, athletics, basketball, soft ball, netball and soccer. Students in Years 3 and 4 also have opportunities in gala days for cross country, athletics, T Ball and basketball.
Intra School Sport
All students compete in their house colours in different carnivals throughout the year, including cross country, Running sprints and house sports.
The swimming program at St Cecilia’s is for all year levels, usually occurring in Term 4 using the local facilities at Bialik College. These lessons are run by an external swimming school.
At St. Cecilia’s, we teach French lessons to all students from Foundation to Year Six.
Why have we chosen to teach French?
1. A world language.
French is one of the most widely used languages in the world. There are forty-nine countries throughout the world that either use French as their official, second or priority language. This represents one quarter of the world’s nations. An estimated 120 million students throughout the world study French, making it the most widely taught second language after English. French is widely taught in Asia and is the official language of many of Australia’s nearest Pacific neighbours, including New Caledonia, which is only two hours flying time from Sydney.
2. A fantastic learning pathway.
All 22 Secondary Schools that the majority of our St. Cecilia students move on to, teach French.
3. The long tradition of French being taught in Victoria continues.
St. Cecilia joins with many primary and secondary government and non government schools providing a strong, innovative French program. French continues to be a popular study at Year 12 level, with approximately 1300 students studying the language annually.
We know that Language is much more than a subject – it is a way to connect with one another, to communicate with the ‘other’, to learn about ourselves and to learn from someone else. At St. Cecilia’s, French is taught at every level.
We also encourage students and families to maintain use of their mother tongue. Language education offers learners different ways to understand and value diverse peoples’ languages and cultures. While English is important in our globalised world, it is also important to maintain and build academic knowledge of home languages or an additional language, so that young people can work, communicate and collaborate with others across the world.
Visual Arts includes the fields of art, craft and design. Students create visual art works that communicate, challenge and express their own and others’ ideas. They learn about the role of the artist, craftsperson and designer and their contribution to society. Students learn about the relationships between the viewer and artworks. Visual Arts supports students to view the world through various lenses and contexts. Learning in the Visual Arts helps students to develop understanding of world cultures and their responsibilities as global citizens.
At St Cecilia’s, students receive a dedicated 45 minutes per week with our Visual Art specialist teacher.
We recognise it is just as important to enjoy the process and flow of creating as it is to complete a finished response. Students are able to both relax and challenge themselves whilst immersed in their art, as they continue and strive to produce a diverse and wide range of artforms which reflects the influence of many historical and contemporary cultures and artists.
Music - Performing Arts
Saint Cecilia is the Patron Saint of Music. This has special significance for our school. The Performing Arts program is therefore a vibrant part of our school with an emphasis on music education.
Music develops confidence in students to be creative, innovative, thoughtful, skilful and informed musicians. They learn skills to listen, improvise, compose, interpret, perform, and respond to different genres of Music. Students learn about music and music practices across global communities, cultures and musical traditions. At St Cecilia’s, all students have a Music lesson weekly with our Specialist teacher.
Through music-making experiences we aim to nurture in children an enjoyment and understanding of the performing arts (Music/ Dance/ Drama) which will enrich the quality and creativity of their lives. Music is also an important part of our liturgical celebrations both at school and in the parish community with our school choir leading the singing at masses once a month.
In developing a cohesive and progressive music program students are given opportunities to acquire musical knowledge (rhythm, melody, harmony, expression, tone colour, style, form, theory, history) through a balanced program of musical experiences (singing, moving, dancing, playing instruments, listening, creating).