St Joseph’s Primary School is located in Elsternwick, an inner southern suburb of Melbourne. The school is attractive and welcoming, and the main building is housed within a beautiful old mansion; the entrance enhanced by an impressive heritage staircase. The school has undergone several major refurbishments in recent years: in 2014 land was acquired for an adventure playground and fencing was added to improve the external appearance of the grounds. In February 2016, our $2M building project was completed, which resulted in 6 new learning spaces, a new staffroom, a new canteen, a refurbished administration area and extra learning spaces for our increased number of students. In 2017, the playground underwent further development with the laying of synthetic grass in the newly acquired rear playground, and the resurfacing and painting of the front playground. In 2017, an additional shade cloth was installed to increase the shaded area for the students.
In 2015, the Sustainability Garden with box beds containing seasonal produce was established, and by the end of 2016 an orchard was planted with apple, oranges and pear trees. A vertical garden, containing native plants and an irrigation system, was created in 2017 on the rear deck area using funds raised from the Parents and Friends Association. The school is currently a ‘3 Star’ school according to the CERES Resource-Smart program.
The enrolment of Catholic students has increased steadily in the past 4 years, with 90% of the 2018 Prep students being baptised Catholics. The school continues to actively provide opportunities for students, families and staff to participate in Masses, Sacraments, liturgies and family faith nights. Our mission of Christian service continues to drive our strong involvement in a wide range of social justice initiatives that support our local and global communities, including Caritas Australia’s Project Compassion, the St Vincent de Paul Winter Appeal and Christmas Appeal, and the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation in Klibur Domin, East Timor.
St Joseph’s provides a rigorous and contemporary learning environment for students, based on the Victorian Curriculum, and the use of the Google platform for ongoing collaboration enriches learning experiences. Our involvement in Tournament of the Minds, Maths Olympiad and STEM Club enhances our student motivation and engagement.
Classes are currently structured as 14 straight grades from Prep to Year 6. Classrooms are well equipped with interactive boards, Chromebooks and trolleys, and iPads. In Years 2-6 students benefit from a ‘1:1 device’ Chromebook program. Specialist teaching roles include Physical Education, Visual Art, Music and LOTE (Italian).
Students in Years 3-6 participate in school camp, with the students in Year 6 taking part in our camp to Canberra. Our biennial school production and art show helps foster a strong sense of community and celebrates The Arts within our school. A dynamic ‘Parents and Friends’ association drives many fundraisers to support the school throughout the year and parent helpers are welcomed throughout the school. A ‘Before and After School Care’ program operates within the school grounds on school days and during school holidays.