“Growth in religious understanding and faith occurs throughout life. The Catholic school, through its defining culture, its curriculum and its classroom-based religious education programs, plays an important formative role in support of families in the religious education of those to whom it ministers.” (p. 4 Diocese of Sale Religious Education Curriculum)
Religious Education is the heart of the curriculum at St Thomas the Apostle Catholic Primary School. The school uses the Sale Diocesan Religious Education curriculum “To Live in Christ Jesus.” Students are educated, engaged and challenged with learning opportunities to inquire about the Triune God, the Life and Mission of Jesus, the Sacramental Church, Christian Life and Catholic Social Teaching. These strands of the curriculum are explored through scripture, Church tradition, Christian prayer and liturgy and religion and society.
At our school, we provide regular opportunities for students to celebrate communal prayer of the Church.
All classes participate in celebrating the Eucharist (Mass) and students who have received their first Reconciliation are given opportunities to receive this Sacrament throughout the year. The school community gathers to celebrate the Eucharist on certain feast days within the different seasons of the Church, as well as other significant events in the life of the school community.
Prayer occurs at the beginning of each school day and at different times during the week with the purpose of building and developing a relationship with Jesus Christ.
St Thomas the Apostle Parish has a Family-centred, Parish-based, School Catechist supported approach for the Sacraments of Reconciliation, First Holy Communion and Confirmation.
The candidates for Reconciliation must be baptised Catholics and at least 7 years old. To enrol in the First Holy Communion preparation program, the children must have received the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The final Sacrament in the Family-Parish-School Catechist based program is Confirmation.
Details of these programs are advertised in the Parish and School newsletters. Enquiries can be made to the Sacramental Program Co-Coordinator at the Parish Office; telephone: 5998 0947.
Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting
At St Thomas the Apostle we use the Victorian Curriculum as a progression of learning. Evidence of student learning is gathered in multiple ways (assessment and observation) and teachers work in a collaborative planning team to identify where students have grown in their learning and where they are at in relation to the curriculum. Future learning is then planned next to meet them at their point of need.
The Victorian Curriculum is framed around learning standards and capabilities as listed below. Each of these have learning descriptors that identify the content, skills and processes students are required to learn right through to the Victorian Certificate of Education.
To ensure the students have access to the domain curriculum areas of The Arts, Physical Education and Languages; teachers trained specifically in these areas meet the children weekly for a 40-minute lesson. In 2021 this is Japanese, Performing Arts, Physical Education and Visual Arts.
For those students who require support with learning English, the English as an Additional Language Curriculum is then implemented and reported alongside the other standards in the Victorian Curriculum. Students who require additional adjustments made to the learning environment, how the learning is presented and taught, will receive this support. Should there be a formalised process of adjustment coupled with school or external professionals, parents would work with our Inclusive Education staff and engage in Parent Support Group Meetings.
Students are reported against the standards twice per school year (End Terms 2 & 4). In addition to this, Student Conferences are held with the Students, Parents and Teachers in Terms 1 & 2.
Students at STAPS experience a 40-minute music lesson each week. The music program is founded on Orff-Schulwerk and Kodaly principles which emphasise skills in listening, composition, singing, movement and the use of tuned and untuned percussion instruments. The program aims to develop student awareness of and appreciation for music as a means of well-being. Students investigate creative expression; music within our community; music from other cultures and music from other times. Informal opportunities exist throughout the year for students to pursue their interest in music outside of the classroom.
Each week, classes have a 40-minute session with a PE Specialist. On this day, students wear the school sports uniform. The focus of these sessions includes improving fundamental motor skills and developing students’ interpersonal skills through team-based games and activities. Students in Years 5/6 will participate in the Inter-School sports program in Term 3. Students in Prep, Years Two, Four and Six will participate in an intensive two week swimming program during the year.
Japanese is taught from Prep to Year 6 once a week for 40 minutes. We recognise that learning an additional language can have great benefits for our students. In Junior years, children begin by learning high-frequency functional words and phrases (supported by gestures) to increase their ability to communicate in Japanese.
Students in the middle years are introduced to Hiragana script and build on their proficiency through to Senior level. Students also gain an insight into Japanese culture and lifestyle.
Students who would like to do extra study can also participate in lunchtime activities such as the Hiragana Club.
All students participate in a 40-minute lesson per week with their Visual Art specialist teacher. The curriculum gives students the chance to create, make, explore and respond to various art elements, mediums and tools. Students learn a variety of art making techniques such as painting, drawing, collage, printmaking, modelling, textiles and construction.
You will see students’ artwork displayed around the school showcasing their artistic abilities.
Students store their artworks in an art folio in the Art Room, which is taken home at the end of every year.