Learning1
  
 

Learning & Teaching

Our Philosophy on Learning

At St Margaret Mary’s School we believe that:

  • education should value the uniqueness of students and empower them to reach their full potential
  • education should enable children to value and respect cultural diversity and encourage tolerance
  • education is a lifelong process that values the past and meets the challenges of the future
  • education needs to develop in children the skills of cooperation, independence and interdependence
  • we need to promote a caring and accepting learning environment that encourages individuality and resilience
  • we need to be enthusiastic and open to new ideas ensuring best practice.

At St Margaret Mary’s we follow seven key learning areas:

  • Religious Education
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science and Technology
  • Human Society and Its Environment
  • Creative and Practical Arts
  • Personal Development, Health and Physical Education

Excluding Religious Education, studies of these key learning areas are based on the syllabus and support documents set by the NSW Board of Studies.


  • What we teach
    • Religious Education

      At St Margaret Mary’s school we believe that we are on a lifelong journey of faith development. Therefore the study of Religious Education forms an integral part of the school curriculum. This education enables the children to:

      • know and love God
      • develop awareness that God is our friend who loves us and walks with us
      • grow as an active and supportive member of our Catholic faith community
      • develop an understanding of the traditions and doctrine of our faith
      • know, share and respond to Jesus’ message of love, by exploring and understanding the   scriptures.

      As with all Catholic schools in the Diocese of Parramatta we use the diocesan Religious Education program called Sharing our Story. This program incorporates life experiences, scripture, Catholic doctrine, reflection and prayer.

      At St Margaret Mary’s we strive to model a loving faith community where prayer is integral to the daily life of the school and the children regularly participate actively in liturgies.

      St Margaret Mary’s sacramental programs are parish based with the school supporting and assisting the program.

       

    • Literacy

      At St Margaret Mary’s we place a strong emphasis on quality teaching of literacy. Our open-learning spaces provide a rich focus for all strands of the English syllabus. We are aware of the rich diversity of the cultural backgrounds from which our students come. Our educational agenda reflects social, economic and political changes which have had an impact upon literacy practices. We take responsibility to ensure that as many students as possible will achieve acceptable literacy levels. It is important that our students are supported through explicit teaching of multiple literacy skills, with appropriate intervention programs where needed. Quality literacy learning occurs when the students are provided with the opportunities to appreciate the creative and recreational aspects of all literature and other forms of texts. English is a compulsory subject in all the years of schooling. The English K-6 (1998) Syllabus provides students with the foundation for learning that will enable them to participate fully in society.

      Balanced literacy program

      Open learning across all grades K-6 show evidence of containing all elements of a balanced literacy program. These include:

      • Modelled reading
      • Shared reading
      • Guided reading
      • Independent reading
      • Modelled writing
      • Joint construction
      • Independent writing
      • Modelled talking and listening
      • Shared talking and listening
      • Guided talking and listening
      • Critical literacy.

      Catering for 21st century learners

      We recognize that we must cater for students’ individual needs, abilities and skills needed to lead our students into becoming independent learners. Our open learning spaces lead to flexible and connected English learning. We support the use of technology and our students are encouraged daily to challenge themselves. Throughout our school days and particularly in the teaching of literacy our students have a bank of laptops (Apple and PCs) where they are encouraged to research information, formulate the information into various styles of presentation and to use the interactive whiteboards individually, in small groups and/or with the teacher. Our students also use flip videos, digital cameras and iPods with pod casting facilities. Students are encouraged to borrow books from our school library as well as the local library. They participate in the Premiers Reading Challenge as well as being involved in book week celebrations at school and through the local library, where author’s visit and books are launched. We encourage public speaking in Year 6 where our students participate in Voice of Youth.

      Literacy support

      Literacy Support occurs across all grades daily. Students who require help are identified and receive assistance within the flexible learning spaces. Teacher aide support occurs four days a week with a teacher aide in every space until 1pm. Our specialist team of Special Education teacher and ESL teachers support the students at all levels of learning and the grade teachers work closely with support staff. Accurate records are maintained to ensure the Literacy Support program is consistent with the classroom literacy goals.

      Assessment

      Ongoing assessment occurs through a variety of methods including:

      • running records
      • observation checklists
      • observation surveys
      • anecdotal records
      • rubrics
      • marking scales.

      Accountability for student growth

      A major priority of ours has been to develop, implement and sustain methods for tracking literacy growth, particularly in reading levels and comprehension skills. We use the NAPLAN results to deepen learning and remediate areas of concern. We understand the deep need for student feedback and this is an area that is considered to be of great importance for student growth. We place a high priority on ensuring staff are kept up to date on best practice in literacy. This is done through attendance at professional development courses, professional reading and in-house in-servicing.

    • Mathematics

      Structure of the Numeracy Block

      • Number Warm Ups
      • Open/Rich Tasks
      • Reflection

      Number Warm Up Videos

      Array Busting:

       

       

      Tug of War:

       














       

      Curriculum

      At St Margaret Mary’s school we focus on four core strands from the Australian Curriculum. We integrate technology into our lessons, focus on cooperative learning strategies and base our teaching practices on open learning tasks.

      Working Mathematically

      Students will develop understanding and fluency in mathematics through inquiry, exploring and connecting mathematical concepts, choosing and applying problem-solving skills and mathematical techniques, communication and reasoning.

      Number and Algebra

      Students will develop efficient strategies for numerical calculation, recognise patterns, describe relationships and apply algebraic techniques and generalisation.

      Measurement and Geometry

      Students will identify, visualise and quantify measures and the attributes of shapes and objects, and explore measurement concepts and geometric relationships, applying formulas, strategies and geometric reasoning in the solution of problems

      Statistics and Probability

      Students will collect, represent, analyse, interpret and evaluate data, assign and use probabilities, and make sound judgements.

      Numeracy Parent Session Resources

      Term 4 Parent Session- MAI- PowerPoint
      Term 4 Parent Session- Booklet

      Target Game Resources:
      Board Game- Tens & Ones
      Board Game- Hundreds, Tens & Ones
      Paddle Pop Sticks- Bundles & Loose
      Place Value Mats

      Compare Numbers on a Number line
      Game Link Click Here 

      Count Back Bingo
      Count Back Bingo Game board
    • Science & Technology

      Science & Technology

      Science and Technology is the study of both natural and man made elements within our world. The four main focus areas for student study of Science and Technology are Investigating Scientifically, Designing and Making, The Natural Environment, and the Made Environment. Through the study of Science and Technology students will select and safely use a variety of resources including computer-based technology and communicate messages using a variety of media.


      Investigating Scientifically

      Kindergarten (Early Stage One)

      Students explore their immediate environment by using the senses, questioning, sharing ideas and identifying simple cause and effect relationships.

      Years 1 and 2 (Stage One)

      Students conduct guided investigations by following a series of steps that include questioning, making and testing predictions, collecting and recording data, observing patterns and suggesting possible explanations.

      Years 3 and 4 (Stage Two)

      Students begin to take a more independent role in implementing scientific investigations. Elements such as observing, questioning, predicting, testing, recording accurate results, analysing data and drawing conclusions are all areas of focus for these investigations.

      Years 5 and 6 (Stage Three)

      Students are expected to take a fully independent role in developing and implementing questions for scientific investigation. Students will also begin to identify deeper into their investigations looking for trends in data, evaluate findings and prepare possible explanations.


      Designing and making

      Kindergarten (Early Stage One)

      Students explore ideas, manipulate materials and trial designs through play to develop products and built environments.

      Years 1 and 2 (Stage One)

      Students follow a guided design process to create products, including information products, services and built environments. They draw and model design ideas using accepted methods and practices.

      Years 3 and 4 (Stage Two)

      Students are guided through opportunities to develop and evaluate a design idea that meets certain needs of users or audience with growing independence. They implement the design process and evaluate solutions using functional and aesthetic criteria.

      Years 5 and 6 (Stage Three)

      Students are given the opportunities to independently plan, implement and manage the design process and evaluate the results using design criteria. In the design process they consider many factors such as the implications of design and production on the environment, aesthetic, cultural, ethical, safety and functionality.


      The Natural Environment

      Kindergarten (Early Stage One)

      Students identify and group living and non-living things and recognise the different needs of living things. They recognise different forms of energy and identify their use in daily life.

      Years 1 and 2 (Stage One)

      Students identify and describe ways in which living things grow and change. They identify a variety of energy forms and describe their use in the community.

      Years 3 and 4 (Stage Two)

      Students are asked to identify and describe structures and functions in living things and how they interact with each other and their environment. In doing this they are asked to identify various forms and sources of energy and identify ways in which these can cause change. They also identify features of the solar system and interactions that affect conditions on Earth.

      Years 5 and 6 (Stage Three)

      Students are asked to identify, describe and evaluate interdependent relationships between living things and the environment within ecosystems. These are looked at through identifying and describing various sources, forms, uses, transfers and changes in forms of energy. Students explore how natural forces and human interactions can causes changes to the Earth. Students recognise that the Earth is the source of most materials and resources and must be managed for sustainability.


      The Made Environment

      Kindergarten (Early Stage One)

      Students identify ways in which familiar products, including information products, services and built environments meet the needs of people.

      Years 1 and 2 (Stage One)

      Students identify the difference between natural and built environments and model built environments designed to suit the needs of the users.

      Years 3 and 4 (Stage Two)

      Students identify the ways built environments products and services are constructed and produced. They communicate design ideas to specific audiences through a variety of techniques, media and information and communication technologies. Students explore the properties and uses of both natural and made materials and components.

      Years 5 and 6 (Stage Three)

      Students recognise that built environments are created to meet needs and requirements of people and communities. They identify techniques used to engage an audience and convey meaning when creating information products. Students identify and explain changes that have occurred over time to manufacture products and provide services.

    • Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE)

      At St Margaret Mary’s Primary school staff believes that the study of HSIE is crucial for the future wellbeing of our society. Therefore students are provided with opportunities to interact with each other and with their cultural, social and physical environments.

      Learning in HSIE should result in:

      • developing empathy with others
      • exploring the society to which they belong
      • developing a sense of personal identity and where they stand in the wider community
      • acquiring skills needed to improve the quality of our society and our environment.

    • Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE)

      PDHPE develops the knowledge, skills, understanding, values and attitudes students need to lead healthy, active and fulfilling lives.

      The three broad strands of PDHPE are:

      • Fundamental Movement and Physical Activity
      • Healthy Choices
      • Self and Relationships.

      This key learning area increases the awareness in our students of the importance of a healthy lifestyle and a growing recognition of the need to be active, responsible and informed decision makers.

      Our PDHPE program offers the students the knowledge and practical skills to develop personal fitness, the ability to make informed decisions about health and lifestyle and promote growth in self-esteem and social responsibility.

      The study of PDHPE is an important area within our primary curriculum as it is concerned with:

      • adopting an active lifestyle
      • body movement and coordination
      • physical, social, cognitive and emotional growth
      • personal health choices
      • living and learning in a safe secure environment
      • developing and maintaining positive interpersonal relationships.

      The PDHPE program implemented at St Margaret Mary’s provides opportunities for students to explore and form positive attitudes about themselves and others, to communicate effectively, work cooperatively with others and to develop and maintain positive relationships. It promotes physical activity and emphasises informed decision making leading to effective and responsible actions. This learning area follows the course of studies for Primary schools prescribed by the NSW Board of Studies.

    • Creative Arts

      This curriculum area covers Music, Visual Art, Dance and Drama. These areas make a valuable contribution to a students’ overall understanding of themselves and their environment. We aim to incorporate this key learning area into many aspects of our school. It is taught by all class teachers as well as extra time taught by Creative Arts teachers.


      Music

      Music is used throughout our day at St Margaret Mary’s. We use music to celebrate our faith during mass and during class prayer times. Songs are also used in various learning spaces to facilitate gathering, moving between activities or packing up. We have a developing school band and choir, where students are encouraged to display their talents during school and at out of school performances, such as liturgies and mass.


      Visual Arts

      Visual Arts often forms an integral part of other key learning areas and assists children in expressing their knowledge in another way. Students use many forms of media to develop a range of items that are showcased in their learning space and also during school assembly. Students are encouraged to appreciate different artists and their styles, including Aboriginal artists, and develop their own unique style to display to others.


      Dance

      Dance gives students an understanding of the way their body works and allows all students to perform, compose and appreciate dance using a range of skills. Students are encouraged to participate in a wide range of styles and dance activities including performing for others to develop self confidence and in groups to strengthen teamwork skills. Performances may be in class situations or for wider audiences, such as during liturgies and school assemblies. 


      Drama

      In Drama, students learn how to investigate their world through devising plays, role-plays and imagined situations. During performances, they develop an understanding of dramatists, actors, and playwrights and the skills of being a good audience to others. During Drama students are given the opportunity to be something or someone else in a fun, safe and structured environment.

    • Support Programs

      English as a Second Language (ESL)

      The St Margaret Mary’s school community is very culturally diverse. Therefore, we have a number of students whose first or ‘home’ language is not English.

      At St Margaret Mary’s we believe it is important to cater for the learning needs of all students.  As a result, we have two ESL teachers who work to support the learning of those students who are learning English as a second language.

      The ESL teachers work collaboratively with the classroom teachers in order to develop programs and learning experiences that will help our ESL students develop their language skills. The ESL teachers take small groups of language learners and work with them in their own classrooms so they are not isolated from the rest of their peers or from a familiar environment.

      Some strategies we use to cater for the needs of our ESL students are:

      • modifying/simplifying classroom programs and learning experiences to suit the level that the students are working within
      • providing the students with numerous opportunities to practise their using oral language skills
      • supporting the students with reading and writing by modelling different literacy skills and guiding the students when practising these skills independently
      • using picture cues to help develop understanding
      • fostering a safe and secure learning environment for all students.

      Homework support

      At St Margaret Mary’s we are also very fortunate to have a ‘Homework Group’ which runs once a week, to help our ESL students with their homework. The ESL teachers along with many fantastic volunteers from SPARKS work one-on-one with the students to help them complete their homework and learn from the tasks the teachers have set for the students to complete.  


      Special Education

      At St Margaret Mary’s Primary school, we firmly believe that every student has a right to an education irrespective of a disability of any form and can participate in the school environment, if provided access to the best available resources and support. The Special Education department at the school therefore, implements appropriate programs to support the specific learning, physical, social and emotional needs of students.

      Procedures followed if the class teacher or parents are concerned about a student’s learning progress:

      • The student is referred to the Special Education department of the school.

      • The Special Education teachers administer standardised literacy and numeracy tests to assess the student’s literacy and numeric abilities, when compared with the scores of other similar aged students who have done the same test.

      • These results are then presented and explained to the parents and class teacher.

      • A joint decision is made regarding referral for further testing to be administered by the School’s Guidance Officer who is a registered educational psychologist at the Catholic Education Office. Parents need to give their written consent for such assessments to be carried out.

      • After the assessment is administered, the results of the assessment are explained to the parents and the school.

      • An Individual Education Planning (IEP) meeting is then organised by the school so that the student, parents, class teacher, Special Education teacher and other external agencies working with the student, can collaboratively make decisions regarding the support and facilities needed to support the students specific needs.

      • This IEP is then implemented, with periodic review meetings to monitor the student’s progress. A copy of the IEP is given to all those dealing with the student.
    • Library

      St Margaret Mary's Library is the information centre of the school community.

      Our library focuses on students becoming effective independent researchers, where the students learn to manage and use information effectively.

      We have a large range of fiction and non-fiction books for the students to borrow and enjoy reading.

      All children visit the library to borrow books. They also visit the library for information skills lessons as a class, or in smaller groups, depending on the needs of the children and the cooperative planning of the class teacher with the teacher/librarian.

      The adjoining computer lab is a valuable resource to our information skills lessons.

      Being the information centre of our school, students have the opportunity to have their work displayed for the whole school community to acknowledge. This helps create a pleasant, bright, student-focused environment in which children look forward to reading, playing and working.

    • Sport

      At St Margaret Mary’s, sport is an important and integral part of our curriculum where lessons are designed to teach and encourage the development of gross motor skills and to promote fitness and a healthy lifestyle.

      Lunchtime is also an opportunity for students to be involved in organised team sport or free play, either on the school playground or at a local park. Our sports room is well equipped with a wide range of sporting equipment for the students to use.

      Students in K-2 participate in a tabloid sports carnival each year where they are involved in different sporting games and activities in a fun environment.

      Years 3-6 have an opportunity to participate in both an athletic and swimming carnival throughout the year. Students can compete at a school, zone, diocesan and inter-diocesan level. There are also a number of opportunities for representation in their chosen sport.

      During Term 3, students in Years 1-6 attend an intensive 10-day learn to swim program as part of the PDHPE curriculum.

Learning & Teaching

  • Our Philosophy on Learning

    At St Margaret Mary’s School we believe that:

    • education should value the uniqueness of students and empower them to reach their full potential
    • education should enable children to value and respect cultural diversity and encourage tolerance
    • education is a lifelong process that values the past and meets the challenges of the future
    • education needs to develop in children the skills of cooperation, independence and interdependence
    • we need to promote a caring and accepting learning environment that encourages individuality and resilience
    • we need to be enthusiastic and open to new ideas ensuring best practice.

    At St Margaret Mary’s we follow seven key learning areas:

    • Religious Education
    • English
    • Mathematics
    • Science and Technology
    • Human Society and Its Environment
    • Creative and Practical Arts
    • Personal Development, Health and Physical Education

    Excluding Religious Education, studies of these key learning areas are based on the syllabus and support documents set by the NSW Board of Studies.


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Contact Us

Address
St Margaret Mary's Primary School
7 Chetwynd Road
Merrylands  NSW  2160

P 9637 4600
F 9637 0509

You can contact us by phone on 9637 4600
between 8:30 am and 3:00 weekdays.

Alternatively you can also

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Contact Us

  • Address
    St Margaret Mary's Primary School
    7 Chetwynd Road
    Merrylands  NSW  2160

    P 9637 4600
    F 9637 0509

    You can contact us by phone on 9637 4600
    between 8:30 am and 3:00 weekdays.

    Alternatively you can also

  •  Send us an email
 
   
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