Learning & Teaching

Educational Philosophy Statement

As a school we will provide students with planned curricular and co-curricular learning to equip students with the knowledge, skills, capabilities and confidence to flourish in a school environment and live productive and fulfilled lives. Student achievements are acknowledged and celebrated in and outside of the classroom, at school assemblies, newsletters and local media.

St Bernard’s provides staff with informed best practices in teaching and learning, that instil a love for learning in all students. 

St Bernard’s Religious Education program instils in children an understanding that they are made in God’s Image and Likeness, are loved by God and called to be in relationship with Christ through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Students develop their knowledge and understanding of the traditions and teachings of the Catholic faith and incorporate a life of virtue and good works as part of their expression of faith.

Social and emotional learning is an essential component to the education of the whole child. St Bernard’s works in partnership with numerous community organisations to support the emotional and social well being of students and their families. 

St Bernard’s is committed to supporting the diverse needs of our learning community so as to enable each student to reach their full potential. St Bernard’s systematic and personalised learning program engages students at every level with developmentally appropriate learning outcomes and criteria for success.

Parents are key to the child’s success in school.  “Parents have a particularly important part to play in the educating community, since it is to them that primary and natural responsibility for their children’s education belongs” (Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium, #20).  St Bernard’s recognises the importance of a strong relationship between home and school, and is committed to open communication and a viable partnership with parents for the greater good of the children we serve.

Integration of Faith and Religious Education

“The community of a Catholic school offers not only teaching of religion but also other opportunities, other moments and ways for educating to a harmony between faith and culture, faith and life.”

Mission in Schools: Reflections and Guidelines, #54, 2003

Through the teaching of gospel values and celebrating the sacraments as a community, St Bernard’s strengthens and nurtures the spiritual development of each child.

Through sharing the Word of God, the Sacramental life, and the teachings of the Catholic Church, students grow in their love for God and for each other, guided by the example of parents, staff, and the St Bernard’s community.

St Bernard’s School has always been closely linked to the St Bernard’s Catholic Parish community.  A relationship of mutual trust and collaboration is a source of support and strength for the Parish and School communities.

Pastoral

St Bernard’s Parish School supports the growth of each child by modelling respect for one another, promoting compassion and understanding for each other, providing opportunities to develop and celebrate each child’s gifts, creativity and individuality.

The curriculum at St Bernard’s Parish Primary school is broad, balanced and relevant in order to cater for the needs of all students.

The school works actively towards developing student skills, broadening student knowledge and assisting in the development of positive values.

The school strives to provide a common curriculum in the learning areas of: Religious Education, English, Mathematics, Health and Physical Education, Humanities, LOTE (Mandarin), the Arts, Science and Technology.

Special curriculum features include: Bounce Back, MiniLit and MacqLit interventions, incursions, excursions, camps, an inter-school sports program at senior levels and access to private musical instrument instruction.

Teaching of the curriculum is guided by and referenced to the Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic School (Religious Education), Victorian F-10 and EAL Curriculums.

Religious Education

“The endeavour to interweave reason and faith…makes for unity, articulation and coordination, bringing forth within what is learnt in school a Christian vision of the world, of life, of culture and of history!”

The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium, #14

St Bernard’s Religious Education curriculum supports the Christian formation of each student in each of the five content areas: Church and Community; Scripture and Jesus; Prayer, Liturgy and Sacraments; God, Religion and Life; and Morality and Justice.  Learning and Teaching in Religious Education is integrated with the Church’s Liturgical calendar and in accord with developmentally appropriate practices.

Sacramental Preparation

Sacramental preparation is a privileged time for families to grow together in faith through the sharing of prayer, learning and experience. It is an opportunity for children to fulfil the Sacramental life that was begun in them at their Baptism, and an invitation to families to grow in their knowledge and love of God.

The Sacraments celebrate the action of God in our lives and communicate to us the depth and reality of God’s love for us. St Bernard’s Sacramental program incorporates the family and particularly the parents as primary educators of their children, as an important part of formation. St Bernard’s Sacramental formation. In collaboration with St Bernard’s Parish and the parish priest, St Bernard’s Sacramental formation aims to develop an awareness of God and His abiding presence in each child’s life. In preparation for the reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Grade 2), First Eucharist (Grade 3) and Confirmation (Grade 5), students are invited to recognise and celebrate this uniquely graced moment in their lives when they first receive Christ’s healing and forgiveness, meet Christ in the Presence of the Holy Eucharist, and are empowered by the Holy Spirit to witness by the example of their lives.

Literacy

At St Bernard’s Parish Primary School, daily literacy experiences are provided which aim to develop each student’s joy of reading, writing, language and discussion. Through a variety of contemporary teaching and learning strategies, students explore how to use literacy skills to think critically and strategically.

Literacy is delivered in meaningful contexts across all curriculum areas. This allows for authentic reading, writing, speaking and listening opportunities and creates an environment where all individuals are enabled to develop  their knowledge and skills to flourish in wider society. The literacy experiences delivered are purposeful, with learning scaffolded and risk taking, encouraged. Learning sequences are planned to ensure that students have ample opportunity to practise and refine the skills they have been taught.  Real life connections are created and outlined to deepen their understanding. A variety of resources are carefully chosen by teachers to stimulate thinking and promote engagement. Ongoing professional learning is prioritised to increase teacher knowledge of content and pedagogy, which maximises student outcomes.

Ongoing monitoring and assessment of student’s individual literacy progress is used to inform teaching and guide next steps for learning. Classroom teachers conduct Focus Teaching Groups as a component of literacy sessions. Teachers record the learning intention, title and level of text resources, key observations made, and an evaluation of student attainment (yes/no) of the learning intention. Focus teaching documents are scanned/downloaded and saved every term, for school records.

Through differentiated learning opportunities, students are able to engage in learning at their individual point of need. Personalised learning plans (PLPs) and intervention opportunities are available to students who are identified as needing additional support. Teachers follow the EAL (English as an Additional Language) Curriculum to ascertain and target the language needs of each student who comes from a language background other than English (LBOTE), supporting them in their acquisition of English literacy skills. 

Numeracy

St Bernard’s Parish Primary School is committed to a whole school approach that embeds the mathematical proficiencies of understanding, problem solving, fluency and reasoning through evidence-based teaching strategies, open-ended learning tasks and a variety of concrete and visual resources. A positive attitude towards mathematics is promoted through contemporary teaching and learning strategies and a range of collaborative and independent learning experiences.

Mathematics sessions at St Bernard’s encourage students to articulate the strategies they use to consolidate their learning, deepen their understanding and extend their knowledge of the concepts taught. Students are presented with differentiated experiences, based on their data, allowing them to engage with the content and develop their mathematical understandings at their point of need. Teachers demonstrate to students the ways in which mathematical skills and knowledge taught, may be adapted and transferred in society, beyond the school setting. 

Ongoing monitoring and assessment of student’s individual numeracy progress is used to inform teaching and guide next steps for learning. Focus Teaching Groups are conducted to support students in developing specific mathematical skills identified by their data, and to move them forward from their current level of attainment.  Teachers record the mathematical skill of focus, key observations of strategies employed, and an evaluation of student attainment (yes/no) of the mathematical skill/strategy taught. Focus teaching documents are scanned/downloaded and saved every term, for school records.

Ongoing professional development for teachers is a priority in ensuring that both mathematical content knowledge and pedagogy is continually developed.