As per the NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES), Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP), Parramatta guidelines, Holy Spirit implements the following key learning areas:
KEY LEARNING AREA - RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
As a Catholic school we work in partnership with our families and parish in the faith development of our students. Our motto provides a particular focus for all we do and is the inspiration for our work in Religious Education.
‘At Holy Spirit we seek
To live our lives like Jesus,
Work and love as a family,
Learn, and challenge each other,
So that …
TOGETHER WE GROW’.
Our formal Religious Education Program is based on the Diocesan Religious Education Curriculum Sharing Our Story, which integrates Scripture, Theology, Tradition and Life Experience. The Parish Sacramental Program is supported by classroom activities. Our aim is to provide a sound knowledge and understanding of our Catholic faith.
We nurture the spiritual development of Holy Spirit students by providing class prayer and school and grade liturgies which offer them opportunities to express their faith and celebrate it together. Special time is set aside for class prayer throughout each day e.g. in the morning, at midday for the Angelus, before eating and prior to dismissal. Augustinian Prayer is celebrated each Friday fortnight in individual classrooms at 3:00pm. Parents and carers are welcome to join the classes at this time in prayer.
The Holy Spirit school community supports a variety of social justice initiatives by supporting the missionary activity of the Catholic Church through raising awareness of the activities and fundraising to support organisations e.g. Caritas’ Project Compassion, Catholic Mission and St Vincent De Paul.
Celebration of life experiences and special events are conducted through class liturgies and masses in the parish church, Multi Purpose Area and classrooms.
Whole school masses are celebrated at the beginning and end of each school year, with significant events in the life of the school or parish also being celebrated in this way. At Holy Spirit, First Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation are parish-based Sacraments and these programs are supported by units of work covered at school.
All classes have Religious Education integrated into their day as well as specific Religious Education lessons based on the Sharing Our Story program.
KEY LEARNING AREA - ENGLISH
This Key Learning Area is one of the most important aspects of Holy Spirit’s curriculum as reading, writing, speaking and listening form the basis of learning in all aspects of schooling.
Teachers plan, implement and evaluate class programs in conjunction with their stage partners. This is usually organised through a range of activities such as themes, particular stories, different types of text and authors. We believe English is best taught and learnt through meaningful experiences integrated into the curriculum.
Literacy at Holy Spirit is an exciting and stimulating time. The daily literacy sessions include opportunities for the children to engage in speaking, listening, reading and writing activities in a series of whole class, small group, pair and individual experiences.
All students experience a balanced and coherent program of literacy instruction for a minimum of 100 minutes daily, incorporating:
Daily Reading Aloud to Students
Daily Shared Reading
Small Group Reading - Instructional Practices
Guided Reading for Developing Readers (generally K-2)
Small Group Reading for Experienced Readers (generally Years 2-6)
Daily Independent Reading of familiar texts
Daily Modelled Writing or Shared Writing
Daily Independent Writing
Multiple opportunities to demonstrate learning which meets the achievement standards as defined by the NSW English K-10 syllabus and diocesan reader profiles.
This approach enables a teacher to lead a group of children (maximum of 6 students) to talk, read and think their way purposefully through an instructional text. This approach allows students to become fluent, independent readers. The teacher observes and supports each child, and their progress is monitored according to their own individual progress.
This is the next stage after Guided Reading. The children who participate in Reader’s Circle groups (maximum of 6 students) are fluent, independent readers. In these sessions, texts range from picture books to novels. The children critically read their way through the text and share their responses about the text and the author’s message. The essence of Reader’s Circle is as an instructional strategy to teach comprehension: literal, inferential and critical analysis. All children contribute to the discussion through their written responses and the discussion of these responses.
This instructional reading strategy is where dialogue between the teacher and children (maximum of 6 students) is used to develop the comprehension strategies of predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarising. Information texts, newspapers and magazines are used in this type of reading session at an instructional level.
Modelled, guided and independent writing are the steps which explicitly teach the skills of drafting, revising, conferencing, editing, proofreading and publishing a text. Producing texts also includes planning, recrafting and the development of computer skills used in the production of text, graphics and multi-media presentations.
KEY LEARNING AREA - MATHEMATICS
Our mathematical communities are dynamic places of learning, where Mathematics is seen as being specific to life. Children are given the opportunity to investigate, explore and manipulate both concrete materials and abstract ideas through rich, open-ended tasks. The process of their learning is expressed orally, pictorially and symbolically. Visualisation assists the children to problem solve. In Mathematics the children articulate their thinking and reasoning, enabling deeper conceptual understandings. This allows them to learn to apply learning and skills to other areas.
Mathematics at Holy Spirit is based on the EMU Program (Extending Mathematical Understanding) and is linked to the NSW Mathematics K-10 Syllabus. The emphasis is on warm ups, open-ended tasks, problem solving and reflection. This challenges our children to become lifelong learners in Mathematics.
All students at Holy Spirit engage in Mathematics comprising of:
A number warm up;
Rich and open-ended tasks;
Reflect individually (‘the zone of confusion’)
Students working in flexible groups and structures;
Students articulating and reflecting on their thinking and strategies.
KEY LEARNING AREA – HISTORY & GEOGRAPHY (H.S.I.E.)
The aim of Geography is to stimulate students’ interest in and engagement with the world. Through geographical inquiry they develop an understanding of the interactions between people, places and environments across a range of scales in order to become informed, responsible and active citizens.
The aim of the History syllabus is to stimulate students’ interest in and enjoyment of exploring the past, to develop a critical understanding of the past and its impact on the present, to develop the critical skills of historical inquiry and to enable students to participate as active, informed and responsible citizens.
KEY LEARNING AREA – SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Science is of increasing importance and integral to our rapidly changing world. A student's sense of wonder and curiosity about the natural and made world is fostered through actively engaging in the processes of Working Scientifically and Working Technologically. Through questioning and seeking solutions to problems, students develop an understanding of the relationships between science and technology, and the significance of their contribution to and influence on society.
Scientific inquiry is a distinct way of finding answers to interesting questions and solutions to important problems about the natural world locally, nationally and globally, including shaping sustainable futures.
Scientific knowledge provides explanations for a variety of phenomena and enables sense to be made of the Natural Environment and the Made Environment. As students engage in posing questions, testing ideas, developing and evaluating arguments based on evidence, they demonstrate honesty and fairness in using the skills of Working Scientifically.
Through applying the processes of Working Scientifically, students use scientific inquiry to develop their understanding of science ideas and concepts and the importance of scientific evidence in making informed decisions about the uses of science and technology in their lives. They recognise that science advances through the contributions of many different people.
KEY LEARNING AREA - PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT, HEALTH AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION (P.D.H.P.E.)
The aim of the Personal Development, Health and Physical Education Curriculum is to develop in each student the knowledge and understanding, skills, values and attitudes needed to lead healthy, active and fulfilling lives. This syllabus is directly concerned with supporting the development of the student as a whole person. Learning in P.D.H.P.E. extends beyond the planned classroom lesson and is reinforced by the Pastoral Care Program, the Healthy School Canteen, Sharing Our Story (Religious Education Program) and other ‘Health–Promoting’ activities.
P.D.H.P.E. is an important key learning area as it:
Encourages an understanding and valuing of self and others
Promotes physical activity
Emphasises informed decision making leading to effective and responsible action.
KEY LEARNING AREA - CREATIVE ARTS
The Creative Arts Syllabus is made up of three components - Music, Visual Arts, Dance and Drama.
Music plays an integral part in the life of Holy Spirit. It enhances the prayer life of the community; it is a source of entertainment at events such as school assemblies, discos and end of year functions; and it provides students with an opportunity for meaningful self-expression. At Holy Spirit music is taught in accordance with the guidelines as set out in the NSW Creative Arts K-6 Syllabus. Each student participates in formal music lessons taught by a specialist Music teacher. Students also have the opportunity to receive string lessons (cello, viola and violin).
The children at Holy Spirit are fortunate in that their artistic talents are expressed, fostered and valued. Each class is given the opportunity to participate in Visual Arts lessons. During these sessions the learning experiences are adapted to school or class contexts, paying close attention to the needs of individual students. The children are exposed to a variety of art making techniques, which include—drawing, painting, colouring and paper craft.
The Drama and Dance Program is designed in accordance with the NSW Creative Arts K-6 Syllabus. This document organises dramatic and movement skills and understanding into the areas of Creating, Performing and Appreciating. Students from K-6 participate in lessons that explore many aspects of dramatic experiences including mime, improvisation and movement. Lessons incorporate specific skill teaching and performance opportunities. Students move from the familiar such as nursery rhymes and traditional stories through to abstract experience in the creation of their work. Students are encouraged to develop and extend their skill both individually and in groups and respond constructively to others.