Learning & Teaching
At St Damian’s we provide a caring and supportive learning environment where each child experiences success. Our aim is to maximize learning growth for all students
The learning and teaching at St Damian’s develops the students’ capacity to manage themselves, their relationships with others and their connections with the world. Learning is enhanced when teachers and students work within a positive culture that reflects gospel values and respects the human person.
At St Damian’s students develop the capabilities required to meet challenges through resilience and positivity as responsible and informed citizens.
Teachers plan collaboratively in level teams to ensure successful implementation of the Victorian Curriculum.
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 sets out what every student should learn during their first eleven years of schooling. The curriculum is the common set of knowledge and skills required by students for life-long learning, social development and active and informed citizenship.
The design of the Victorian Curriculum F–10 is set out below:
- English: Reading and Viewing, Writing and Speaking and Listening
- Mathematics: Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry and Statistics and Probability
- Health and Physical Education
- Arts: Music, Drama, Dance, Media Arts, Visual Arts
- Languages: Italian (Prep to Six)
- Humanities: History, Geography, Civics and Citizenship and Economics and Business
- Technologies: Design and Technologies, and Digital Technologies
- Capabilities: Personal and Social Learning, Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Capability and Intercultural Understanding.
Religious Education forms an integral part of life at St. Damian’s. As a Catholic school our central premise is that we value all members of our diverse community as unique people, who are loved by God.
Religious Education at St. Damian’s encompasses inter-related aspects of Spirituality, Religious Education lessons, Liturgy and Prayer. Preparation for and celebration of the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation are undertaken at Years 3, 4 and 6. A strong emphasis is placed on Social Justice and opportunities are created for the school community to gather together to celebrate Mass.
As part of the prayer life of our school, we participate in daily Christian meditation. Christian meditation is an opportunity to connect with God in a prayerful way.
Daily morning Christian meditation provides a positive, prayerful start to our day. Setting time aside each morning provides our school community with an opportunity to find a moment of stillness and peace where we can connect with ourselves, others and God.
During meditation our community is invited to reflect on various gospel stories and make connections to our lives. We welcome all in our school including parents to join us at this time.
English is a core area of the curriculum at St Damian’s. We provide an English program that aims to teach, support, challenge and engage all students in developing their reading, writing, speaking, listening and viewing skills.
We have a dedicated Literacy block of time each day. During this time, students are engaged in meaningful learning. Learning is personalised to meet the learning needs of each student. At St.Damian’s we encourage an interest in and love for Reading and Writing, by providing children with a variety of rich and stimulating texts, to develop student’s literacy knowledge.
Students are encouraged to develop their literacy skills by engaging in community actions and participating in a variety of external Writing Competitions at different year levels.
We invite and welcome parents to assist in classrooms during the Literacy block. A Parent Helper workshop is offered each year to support parents who are interested in working in the classroom.
A Reading Recovery Intervention Program is offered to our Year One students who are identified as at risk with their reading development. This is an intense daily program covering reading and writing skills on a one to one basis.
English as an Additional Language Intervention is offered to students working with class teachers in collaboration with our English Leader. Students are engaged in a variety of activities focused on building oral language skills for deep learning and intercultural understanding.
Children engaging in an Oral Language activity
Mathematics is a core area of the curriculum at St. Damian’s. In Mathematics students develop problem solving skills, number knowledge, critical thinking and understand that mathematics is reflected in real life situations.
Concrete materials, Maths Walls, problem solving tasks and group work are some ways in which students gain knowledge, skills and strategies. Students are given opportunities to participate in competitions such as the Australian Maths Competition, Maths Olympiad and Maths Games. To assist with home learning in Maths, students are encouraged to engage in math related games as a component of homework and all students have access to the online Mathletics program.
At St Damian’s we believe that social, emotional, moral and physical wellbeing underpins all student learning and student achievement.We value the development of strong and connected relationships within our community. We encourage empathy towards the feelings of others, the development of problem solving skills that promote resilience and emotional and social awareness and respect for the rights of all. At St Damian’s we actively work together to provide support and learning for our students, staff and school community to develop a safe and inclusive school environment which allows each child to flourish and lead optimistic and hope-filled lives of impact.
As education further evolves into digital learning and more and more devices are released to benefit and support this, here at St Damian’s Primary school, we have fulfilled all the requirements and are now a registered eSmart school.
eSmart is an initiative of The Alannah and Madeline Foundation, a national charity committed to protecting children from violence and cyber-bullying.
As an eSmart school, St Damian’s is focused on implemented a whole school culture and behaviour change relevant to the smart, safe and responsible use of digital technologies.
Students are regularly involved in developing and delivering information on the smart, safe and responsible use of technologies to a variety of audiences and are taught a suite of social and emotional skills.
The Lunchtime clubs offered at St Damian’s give students the opportunity to engage and participate in activities that they enjoy and are passionate about. The teachers at St Damian’s volunteer their lunchtime to run clubs for the students as places where they can feel connected and part of a group that share similar interests. We are so lucky at St Damian’s that we have dedicated, enthusiastic and talented teachers that are willing to share their skills with our students! Some of our clubs allow students to find a quiet and calm place where they are able to share their gifts and talents with others. Other clubs allow students the opportunity to try something new such as knitting or gardening and uncover a hidden passion.
The lunchtime clubs and activities may change each term which allows for a range of activities to be explored. The clubs that currently run at St Damian’s include activities such as craft, board games, drama and mindful colouring.
Student Representative Council (SRC)
St Damian’s has an active Student Representative Council (SRC) comprising of an elected member from each of the Year 1 to 6 classes. The SRC provides students with the opportunity to further their leadership skills. The SRC also provides an opportunity for further communication between students and staff and ensures student input is an integral part of the decision-making process where appropriate.
Seasons Loss and Grief is a unique peer support program developed by CatholicCare to help individuals and their families cope with the grief and feelings of loss resulting from separation, divorce, and life threatening illness or death of a loved one. The program is run in small groups of children with similar or like experiences who may benefit from the peer support and reflection that the program provides. A trained facilitator conducts the program.
The St Damian’s Buddy Program involves the Year 6 students being paired with the Prep students. Planned activities between the classes are held so that the students involved become friends and are there to support each other. This provides a ‘ buddy’ for the younger student and gives the older student the opportunity to develop leadership skills and responsibility. The Buddy Program is always of great benefit to our Prep students when they are beginning school. It gives them a friend and mentor in an older class.
St. Damian’s has a dynamic and comprehensive Physical Education and Sports program. The Physical Education program for all children from Foundation through to Year Six is based around the development of fundamental movement skills, concepts and strategies to enable students to confidently, competently and creatively participate in a range of physical activities as defined in the Victorian Curriculum.
Students are allocated in a house team upon entry to the school. These houses are Cosmas (Blue), Damian (Green), Francis (Red) and Clare (Yellow). A whole school sports day occurs annually, where students participate in a variety of tabloid events and running races.
St Damian’s is a member of School Sport Victoria (SSV) which provides students in Year 4-6 the opportunity to participate in Athletics, Cross Country and Swimming Carnivals at a School, District, Zone, State and National level. Year 6 students also have the opportunity to participate on a regular basis in interschool sports and to compete in a variety of team sports against schools in our district.
At St Damian’s the Arts Program consists of Visual Arts, Music, Dance and Drama. Through these specialist programs students are given the opportunity to explore their creative and expressive capabilities. All students participate in a weekly Dance & Drama lesson. Visual Arts and Music lessons are semester subjects.
School Performance, the Arts Show and Nativity & Carols Evening
The St Damian’s School Performance is held bi-annually. The Performance incorporates all areas of the Arts. It is an opportunity for all students to perform to the wider school community.
The school Art Show is held on the alternate year. The Arts show incorporates both visual and performing arts, showcasing students’ talents across these areas.
In Term Four, the St Damian’s Nativity & Christmas Carols Evening is held on the school oval.
These events are highlights of our school year for students, families and staff.
Students in Years 3 to 6 are provided with the opportunity to join the school choir. The school choir performs during school Masses and other events. In 2018 our school choir competed in the Bundoora Eisteford and took first place.
Students from Year 3 to 6 who have a passion for playing a musical instrument or singing are invited to join the school band. Students rehearse songs for enjoyment and performance purposes. The school band performs at various events such as the School Performance, Carols Evening and the Arts Show. Some members of the band support our choir at School Masses.
Digital Technologies are a critical part of our students’ lives. Technology use is growing and changing every day and it is crucial that our students have both the technical competencies and cybersafety skills to enable them to be smart, safe and responsible digital citizens. When used effectively, technology is an important tool to transform student learning.
St Damian’s Primary School is committed to the implementation of the Digital Technologies domain of the Victorian Curriculum which focuses on 3 key areas: Digital Systems, Data and Information and Creating Digital Solutions.
Key features and resources of our Digital Technologies program include:
Google Apps, HAPARA and portable devices include iPads, laptops and robots such as Spheros, Ozobots.
St Damian’s has currently introduced a 1:1 digital device program where all students in Years 4-6 have access to a personal Chromebook.
We offer a camp experience to all students from Foundation to Year 6. The camp experiences provide students with a valuable opportunity to further their learning and develop personal and social capabilities beyond the classroom environment. Student participation contributes towards developing skills, knowledge and behaviours essential to the development of the whole child.
Learning Support is available for students from Foundation – Six who may require additional assistance with intellectual, social, emotional or physical needs.
We offer support in different ways such as:
- Learning Diversity Leader
- Learning Support Officers
- Translators – Mandarin and Cantonese
- Student Wellbeing, Mathematics and Literacy Leaders
- Reading Recovery Program – provides further support to develop effective reading and writing skills for those students in Grade 1
- EAL (English as an Additional Language) intervention
- External agencies providing support and assessments within the school, for example Psychologists, Speech Pathologists and Education Advisors
St Damian’s staff work closely with families in order to ensure that all students are supported in their learning.
Learning Support Officer assisting students with reading 1-1
Reading Recovery Program
At St. Damian’s the students are immersed in the Italian language. Students start to understand and use Italian in structured situations and activities related to their local environment: self, family, home, classroom and community. The content is linked to the Inquiry units of work undertaken in the classrooms..