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Teaching & Learning

St Joseph's Primary School Elsternwick

At St. Joseph’s the curriculum is organised to ensure that each class participates in a two-hour literacy block and a one hour numeracy block daily. The Humanities (History, Geography, Civics and Citizenship, Economics and Business), Science, Technologies and Capabilities are taught through termly units of study.

The units of study are a dynamic and engaging way for our children to develop knowledge about their world and develop the skills and competencies that will equip them for life in the 21st century.

These skills include:

  • Independent learning.

  • Co-operative learning.

  • Problem solving.

  • Creative thinking.

  • Critical thinking.

  • Generation of new ideas.

  • Planning skills.

  • Analysis skills.

  • Evaluation skills.


At St Joseph’s, teachers assess and monitor student growth, learning progress and achievement against the achievement standards within the curriculum framework and within the learning and teaching program at St Joseph’s.



At St Joseph’s, we have a firm belief that all students can reach their full potential in English through the use of explicit and systematic instruction. Drawing on the Science of Reading, our goal is to equip students with the skills necessary to master the English language in both the written and spoken form. Our students regularly exceed the expected standards in the English Domain.


Reading and Spelling

We draw upon the Six Essential Components of Effective Instruction to target students' development in Reading. Development of Oral Language, Phonological Awareness, Phonics, Vocabulary, Fluency and Comprehension is targeted through explicitly planned lessons that meet the needs of all students.


In Prep - Year Two, students participate in daily MSL (Multisensory Structured Language) lessons to equip them with the skills to read and spell with accuracy. Children in Years Three - Six take part in the Spelling Mastery Program, where they continue to build upon the learning from the foundation years.



Using evidence based strategies, we plan engaging and authentic writing experiences for our students. All students participate in daily sentence level writing activities that support them to craft sentences that are sophisticated and grammatically correct, before applying them to extended pieces. 

Children are supported to plan, compose, edit and publish texts across a variety of genres, such as narratives, persuasive pieces and expositions.


Speaking and Listening 

Throughout the day children work in pairs, small groups and whole class settings where they are encouraged to contribute their valued thoughts and ideas, to develop their Speaking and Listening Skills.

Through structured experiences such as debates, learning exposes and school assemblies, children have the opportunity to showcase their learnings.



At St Joseph’s we believe that the study and application of Mathematics is fundamental to ensure that our students are equipped with the necessary skills to successfully take part in our contemporary society. Mathematics at St Joseph’s is aligned with the Victorian Curriculum 2.0 and is organised into the strands of Number, Algebra, Measurement, Space, Statistics and Probability (from Year Three). Students are scheduled to participate in a structured and engaging mathematics lesson for an hour each day.


The students are exposed to a range of learning situations that develop their understanding, fluency, problem solving and reasoning skills in all Mathematics learning areas. We focus on developing the students' conceptual understanding of all concepts that we teach, while also covering the procedures necessary to implement their understanding. The staff at St Joseph’s are dedicated to the application of tailoring their teaching and pedagogy to suit the needs of all students under their care.


We endeavour to develop the problem solving skills of all students through their undertaking of the Mathematics curriculum. The students are exposed to a range of situations in mathematics that allow them to think critically and solve problems in a logical manner.


Termly Topics

Each term our learning is based on a Humanities or Science unit from the Victorian Curriculum. The content knowledge from the relevant subject is embedded into our English and Mathematics units of work to develop a rich knowledge-based curriculum for our students to engage in.


The children are taught key skills and knowledge in the focus subject and are given the opportunity to engage with the subject area in a variety of creative and challenging ways, through experiments, learning expos, projects and presentations.


Students are challenged to explore, question and engage with significant ideas and practices so that they move beyond superficial understandings to develop higher-order, flexible thinking. To support this, teaching sequences are sustained and responsive and explore ideas and practices.


The students use technology to enrich and extend their learning. Additionally, the students are provided with creative and imaginative ways to engage with their learning, incorporating excursions, incursions and guest speakers.


Digital Technologies & STEM

At St. Joseph’s, we hold a strong belief that a key part of our role as educators is to equip our students with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively participate in the contemporary world. Our students use technology in an authentic context on a daily basis. They are given opportunities to collaborate, research and discover with digital tools and teachers engage with students through these online platforms, both in school and during homework tasks. 


Technology is integrated into the students' learning, in an effort to develop essential problem solving and technical skills that are a key component of living in a rapidly evolving technological society.


We utilise the tools of ‘G Suite for Education’ and students in Years 2 - 6 are engaged in a one-to-one Chromebook program. Teachers follow the 'Digital Technologies' Domain from the Victorian Curriculum and students are guided and supported to explore online resources safely. Parent information sessions regarding Cyber Safety are also offered to our community.


Music has the capacity to engage, inspire and enrich all students, exciting the imagination and encouraging students to reach their creative and expressive potential. Skills and techniques developed through participation in music learning allow students to manipulate, express and share sound as listeners, composers and performers. Music learning has a significant impact on the cognitive, affective, motor, social and personal competencies of students.


Visual Arts

Visual Arts supports students to view the world through various lenses and contexts. They recognise the significance of visual arts histories, theories and practices, exploring and responding to artists, craftspeople and designers and their artworks. They apply visual arts knowledge in order to make critical judgments about their own work and that of others. Learning in the Visual Arts helps students to develop understanding of world cultures and their responsibilities as global citizens.

Performing Arts

Drama is the expression and exploration of personal, cultural and social worlds through role and situation that engages, entertains and challenges. Students create meaning as drama makers, performers and audiences as they enjoy and analyse their own and others’ stories and points of view. Drama enables students to imagine and participate in exploration of their worlds, individually and collaboratively. Students actively use body, gesture, movement, voice and language, taking on roles to explore and depict real and imagined worlds. They create, rehearse, perform and respond using the elements and conventions of drama and emerging and existing technologies available to them.


Physical Education

Physical Education focuses on explicitly developing the movement skills and concepts that students require to participate in physical activities with competence and confidence. The knowledge, understanding, skills and dispositions students develop through movement in Physical Education encourages ongoing participation across their lifespan and, in turn, leads to positive health outcomes. Movement competence and confidence is seen as an important personal and community asset to be developed, refined and valued. Through focused, weekly sessions led by a specialist teacher students participate in a curriculum that is contemporary, relevant, challenging, enjoyable and physically active. Our students participate in a range of inter-school competitions, such as District Athletics, District Swimming, Hoop Time (basketball), Cross Country, inter-school netball, inter-school football and District Soccer.


At St. Joseph’s the students are immersed in the Italian language from Prep to Year 6. Learning languages broadens students’ horizons about the personal, social and cultural opportunities that are available in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world. Students acquire communication skills in Italian. They develop understanding about the role of language and culture in communication. The Italian language is introduced through immersion in culture. The students listen to stories, sing songs, perform plays and learn about significant Italian festivals and cuisine. As the students progress, the focus shifts to a greater emphasis on the acquisition of the Italian language.


Intervention & Extension

‘Learning diversity’ refers to the infinite variety of life experiences and attributes a child brings to their formal learning at school. All students with diverse learning needs have a right to access a full and engaging education on the same basis as their peers.’

CECV Horizons of Hope Foundation Statement: Learning Diversity in Catholic Schools, 2017.


At St Joseph’s we recognise that sometimes a student’s academic, physical or social and emotional learning needs can be very different from those of their peers. We value a collaborative approach to student learning and seek effective ways to meet the needs of all learners. We differentiate the curriculum in each classroom to ensure that we cater to the individual needs of students and know that some students need additional support to experience success with their learning. 


We work collaboratively with parents and allied health specialists to provide support academically, physically, socially or emotionally to students. We draw upon a suite of evidence based intervention programs to support students Reading, Writing, Spelling, Mathematics and Social Skill development.



St Joseph’s is committed to ongoing sustainable environments and practices. A student Environment team leads students to actively engage in recycling paper and plastics, composting, reducing energy emissions, growing vegetables and maintaining the garden beds around the school. Our aim is for our students to develop understanding and knowledge about sustainability and support lifelong sustainable practices. We believe that, by raising student awareness, we influence sustainable practices at school, at home and in the wider community. Our commitment is to continue to create environments and attitudes that foster sustainable practices.

Extra Curricular Activities

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