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Learning & Teaching

As per the NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES), Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP), Parramatta guidelines, Our Lady of the Way implements the following key learning areas:

  • Religious Education
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Geography and History
  • Science
  • Creative Arts
  • Personal Development, Health & Physical Education
  • Key Learning Area
    • Religious Education

      As a Catholic school, Our Lady of the Way works in partnership with our families and parish in the faith development of our students. Our motto provides a particular focus for all we do and is the inspiration for our work in Religious Education.

      ‘This is the only thing that God asks of you:
      To act justly,
      To love tenderly,
      And to walk humbly with our God.’

      Micah 6:8

      Our formal Religious Education program is based on the diocesan Religious Education Curriculum Sharing Our Story. The parish sacramental program is supported by classroom activities. Our aim is to provide a sound knowledge and understanding of our Catholic faith.

      We nurture the spiritual development of Our Lady of the Way students by providing class prayer and school liturgies which offer them opportunities to express their faith and celebrate it together. Our parish priest welcomes and encourages the participation of the students in liturgical worship.

      Our Lady of the Way’s school community supports a variety of social justice initiatives, supporting the missionary activity of the Catholic Church through raising awareness of the activities and fundraising to support organisations e.g. Caritas’ Project Compassion, Catholic Mission and St Vincent De Paul.

      Celebration of life experiences and special events are conducted through class liturgies and masses in the parish church, parish hall and classrooms.

      Whole school masses open and close each year, with significant events in the life of the school or parish also being celebrated in this way. At Our Lady of the Way, First Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation are parish-based Sacraments and these programs are supported by units of work covered at school.

    • English

      This Key Learning Area is one of the most important aspects of Our Lady of the Way’s curriculum as reading, writing, speaking and listening form the basis of learning in all aspects of schooling.

      Teachers plan, implement and evaluate class programs in conjunction with their stage partners. This is usually organised through a range of activities such as themes, particular stories, forms of text or authors. We believe English is best taught and learnt through meaningful experiences integrated into the curriculum.

      Literacy at Our Lady of the Way is an exciting and stimulating time. It is incorporated into the school timetable for a block session. The daily literacy sessions include opportunities for the children to engage in talking, listening, reading and writing activities in a series of whole class, small group, pair and individual experiences.

      All students experience a balanced and coherent program of literacy instruction for a minimum of 100 minutes daily, incorporating:

      • Purposeful Talk
      • Daily Reading Aloud to Students (5-10 mins)
      • Daily Shared Reading (10-20 mins)
      • Small Group Reading - Instructional Practices (15-30 mins at least once a week)
      • Guided Reading for Developing Readers (generally K-2)
      • Small Group Reading for Experienced Readers (generally Years 2-6)
      • Daily Independent Reading of familiar texts (5-15 mins)
      • Daily Modelled Writing or Shared Writing (10-20 mins)
      • Guided writing (10-20 mins at least once a week)
      • Daily Independent Writing (15-30 mins)
      • Multiple opportunities to demonstrate learning which meets the achievement standards as defined by the NSW English K-10 syllabus, and diocesan reader profiles.

      Guided Reading

      This approach, which enables a teacher and a group of children to talk, read and think their way purposefully through a text. This approach allows students to become fluent, independent readers. The teacher observes and supports each child, and their progress is monitored according to their own individual progress.


      Reader's Circle

      This is the next stage after Guided Reading. The children who participate in Reader’s Circle are fluent, independent readers. In these sessions, texts range from harder picture books to novels. The children critically read their way through the text and share their responses about the text and the author’s message. The essence of Reader’s Circle is that all children contribute to the discussion through their written responses and the discussion of these responses.


      Reciprocal Reading

      This reading approach is where dialogue between the teacher and children is used to develop the comprehension strategies of predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarising. Information texts, newspapers and magazines are used in this type of reading session.


      Writing

      Modelled, guided and independent writing are the steps, which teach explicitly the skills of drafting, revising, conferencing, editing, proofreading and publishing a text. Producing texts also includes the development of computer skills used in the production of text, graphics and multi-media presentations. Literacy is a dynamic component of the school day at Our Lady of the Way. The classroom is an active environment, which enables each individual to succeed!

    • Mathematics

      Our mathematical communities are dynamic places of learning where Mathematics is seen as being specific to life. Children are given the opportunity to investigate, explore and manipulate both concrete materials and abstract ideas through rich, open-ended tasks. The process of their learning is expressed orally, pictorially and symbolically. Reflective practice plays a significant part in all the school’s curriculum areas. In Mathematics, the children articulate their thinking and reasoning, enabling deeper conceptual understandings. This allows them to learn to apply learning and skills to other areas.

      Mathematics at Our Lady of the Way is based on the ReaL Maths process (Reflection, Empowerment and Learning), EMU Program (Extended Mathematical Understanding) and each are linked to the NSW Mathematics K-10 Syllabus. Through reflection, empowerment and learning the emphasis is on mental computations, open-ended tasks, problem solving and investigations. This, coupled with reflection on practice and experiences, challenges our children to become lifelong learners in Mathematics.

      All students at Our Lady of the Way engage in Mathematics for 60 minutes each day made up of:

      • A number warm up
      • Rich and open-ended tasks
      • Students representing number concepts through the relationships of the Number Triad - word, symbol and collection
      • Students working in flexible groups and structures
      • Students articulating and reflecting on their thinking and strategies.
    • History & Geography

      The aim of Geography is to stimulate students’ interest in and engagement with the world. Through geological inquiry they develop an understanding of the interactions between people, places and environments across a range of scales in order to become informed, responsible and active citizens.

      The aim of the History syllabus is to stimulate students’ interest in and enjoyment of exploring the past, to develop a critical understanding of the past and its impact on the present, to develop the critical skills of historical inquiry and to enable students to participate as active, informed and responsible citizens.

    • Science & Technology

      Science and technology are of increasing importance and integral to our rapidly changing world. A student's sense of wonder and curiosity about the natural and made world is fostered through actively engaging in the processes of Working Scientifically and Working Technologically. Through questioning and seeking solutions to problems, students develop an understanding of the relationships between science and technology, and the significance of their contribution to and influence on society.

      Scientific inquiry is a distinct way of finding answers to interesting questions and solutions to important problems about the natural world locally, nationally and globally, including shaping sustainable futures.

      Scientific knowledge provides explanations for a variety of phenomena and enables sense to be made of the Natural Environment and the Made Environment. As students engage in posing questions, testing ideas, developing and evaluating arguments based on evidence, they demonstrate honesty and fairness in using the skills of Working Scientifically.

      Through applying the processes of Working Scientifically, students use scientific inquiry to develop their understanding of science ideas and concepts, and the importance of scientific evidence in making informed decisions about the uses of science and technology in their lives. They recognise that science advances through the contributions of many different people.

      Technology and an understanding of design processes enable people to manage, interpret, shape and alter their environment to improve their quality of life at home, school, in work places and the broader community. The study of Technology involves solving real problems and creating ideas and solutions in response to needs and opportunities in a range of technological contexts. These contexts may include agriculture, engineering, food, graphics, industrial and digital technologies as well as product design that uses metals, textiles and timber.

      When applying the processes of Working Technologically, students actively engage with real world situations and use technology skills, knowledge and understanding to create solutions for themselves and others. They creatively and competently use a range of materials, tools, equipment and techniques to produce solutions relevant to their world.

      The study of Science and Technology enables students to develop a positive self-concept as learners as well as confidence in and gain enjoyment from their learning. They become self-motivated learners through active participation in challenging and engaging experiences in order to develop innovative solutions.

    • Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE)

      The aim of the Personal Development, Health and Physical Education curriculum is to develop in each student the knowledge and understanding, skills, values and attitudes needed to lead healthy, active and fulfilling lives. This syllabus is directly concerned with supporting the development of the student as a whole person. Learning in PDHPE extends beyond the planned classroom lesson and is reinforced by the Pastoral Care Program, the School Health Canteen, Sharing Our Story (Religious Education Program) and other ‘Health–Promoting’ activities.

      Our Lady of the Way provides intensive gymnastic, dance & swimming lessons taught by trained and qualified instructors.

      PDHPE is an important key learning area as it:

      • encourages an understanding and valuing of self and others
      • promotes physical activity
      • emphasises informed decision making leading to effective and responsible action.
    • Creative Arts

      The Creative Arts Syllabus is made up of three components - Music, Visual Arts, Dance & Drama.


      Music

      Music plays an integral part in the life of Our Lady of the Way. It enhances the prayer life of the community; it is a source of entertainment at events such as school assemblies, discos and end of year functions; and it provides students with an opportunity for meaningful self-expression. At Our Lady of the Way music is taught in accordance with the guidelines as set out in the NSW Creative Arts K-6 Syllabus. Each student participates in formal music lessons taught by a specialist Music teacher. Students also have the opportunity to receive string lessons (cello and violin), keyboard lessons and singing lessons.

      Music is also integrated into other key learning areas throughout the school day. Part of our music program involves performances by professional musicians such as the Musica Viva in Schools program. Students at Our Lady of the Way School have the opportunity to participate in talent quests, CAPTIVATE and in the Diocesan Creative Arts Expo.


      Visual Arts

      The children at Our Lady of the Way are fortunate in that their artistic talents are expressed, fostered and valued. Each class is given the opportunity to participate in Visual Arts lessons. During these sessions, the learning experiences are adapted to school or class contexts, paying close attention to the needs of individual students. The children are exposed to a variety of Art-making techniques, which include—drawing, painting, colouring, and paper craft.


      Drama & Dance

      The Drama & Dance Program is designed in accordance with the NSW Creative Arts K-6 Syllabus. This document organises dramatic and movement skills and understanding into the areas of Creating, Performing and Appreciating. Students from K-6 participate in lessons that explore many aspects of dramatic experiences including mime, improvisation and movement. Lessons incorporate specific skill teaching and performance opportunities. Students move from the familiar such as Nursery Rhymes and traditional stories through to abstract experience in the creation of their work. Students are encouraged to develop and extend their skill both individually and in groups and respond constructively to others.

      A variety of classes throughout the year are given the opportunity to attend Drama Literacy lessons These lessons build on the students’ ability to communicate and understand. Drama Literacy lessons are part of the regular literacy block. They are led by the classroom teacher along with a specialist teacher and a trained drama professional.

      Through drama games, activities and exercises the children explore characters, events and ideas. By using their whole bodies in their learning children are able to understand more deeply. What children begin to understand in the Drama Literacy session is explored more deeply in class, and the literacy skills are practised again and again through the week. Another great benefit of Drama Literacy is that children develop the skills needed for drama, which also happen to be very important for learning - like focus, stillness, listening, public speaking, improvising, being creative and confidence.

  • Other areas of learning
    • Learning Support Programs

      We offer significant support for children with special needs. Our Learning Support Team works with children and their classroom teachers to provide support for children experiencing learning difficulties.

      Children needing enrichment and further challenges in learning are extended in the classroom and through programs which nurture all their gifts. We integrate creative and critical thinking skills into our learning activities and use a range of strategies to cater for children needing further challenges in order to cater for their talents and giftedness.


      Seasons

      ‘Seasons’ is a support program provided for children who have experienced loss through death, separation or divorce. Children attend small group sessions over a series of weeks culminating in a family session. Parents may request their children join a ‘Seasons’ group.


      Counselling

      Students and families have access to a qualified counsellor at the school. Parents wishing to access this service should discuss their child’s needs with their class teacher or the Principal.

    • Extra Curricular Activities

      Students may choose, or be invited, to take part in a wide variety of extra curricular activities:

      • Chess
      • Tournament of the Minds
      • Maths Olympiad
      • University of NSW English, Mathematics and Computing Competitions
      • OzOpera
      • Musica Viva
      • Stage 3 electives
      • Book Week Parade
      • Talent Quest
      • Student Leadership
    • Additional programs

      Voice of Youth - Year 6 Voice of Youth Speech Contest

      This speech contest is conducted so that students with a flair for public speaking and a passion for social justice have an opportunity to use these talents. In this contest, students are required to prepare a speech on their chosen topic which is presented at school. Three students are then selected to represent our school at the cluster final.


      LOTE Program - Japanese

      All students participate in Japanese lessons for one hour each week. These lessons are run by a specialist teacher and cover cultural aspects of Japan as well as language.


      Music Tuition

      All students participate in the Music lessons for one hour each week. A specialist music teacher runs these lessons. There are opportunities for children to be involved in a variety of musical experiences, including the school choir, school musical ensemble and CAPTIVATE. Children have also the opportunity to learn guitar, piano, violin, cello and double bass instruments.

    • Library

      The school library is instrumental in effectively supporting our learning environment. It is also an important centre of technology. The children and teachers are able to access the internet through the laptop program and wireless technology. Parents are welcome to utilise the library with their children. The students borrow from the library each week.

      The school participates in the annual Premier’s Reading Challenge and the Kid’s Own Literature Awards (KOALA).

      An annual Book Fair is held when families are able to buy books for their own purposes. A number of times a year Book Club order forms will be sent home. There is no obligation to buy but orders must be accompanied by payment. The school receives a small commission from Ashton Scholastic which is used to purchase additional books and resources.

    • Sport

      Our school has a proud sporting tradition, and students have the opportunity to take part in representative sports at a number of levels, from school to diocesan to national.

      We offer a variety of sporting choices so all students can discover their passions and talents. These include:

      • Athletics
      • Cricket
      • AFL
      • Basketball
      • Soccer
      • Cross-country
      • Local and regional sporting tournaments
      • Touch Rugby League
      • Netball
      • Gymnastics
      • Swimming
      • Dance
      • Squash
      • Hockey
      • Rugby Union
      • Tennis

      Students have Physical Education lessons once a week and attend additional term training clinics throughout the year including gymnastics, dancing, skipping, AFL, NRL, soccer and athletics skills.


      Sports Carnivals


      Cross-country

      The cross-country competition us held in Term 1. The children undergo training in the weeks leading up to the event by gradually building on the distance they run. The cross-country is held on a school day and all children from Year 3 to Year 6 participate, with Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2 joining in for a short fun-run. The children also have the opportunity to compete against other schools at the zone, diocesan and state cross-country carnivals.


      School Athletics Carnival

      The school athletics carnival is held in Term 2. All children from Kindergarten to Year 6 participate in the athletics carnival. The children compete in races, long jump, shot-put, ball games and novelty events. The children also have the opportunity to compete against other schools at the zone, diocesan and state athletics carnivals.


      Swimming Carnival

      The annual swimming carnival is held late in Term 4. All the children from Years 3 - 6 participate. There are novelty events to cater for beginners and non-swimmers. The children also have the opportunity to compete against other schools at the zone, diocesan and state swimming carnivals.


      Intensive Swimming Program

      The Intensive Swimming Program is a compulsory component of the Personal Development, Health and Physical Education syllabus for students in Kindergarten to Year 4 and is held late in Term 4. Children are taught skills in the area of aquatics, dealing with water familiarisation, water confidence, water safety, floating and movement skills, basic swimming strokes and stroke development.

Learning & Teaching

  • As per the NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES), Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP), Parramatta guidelines, Our Lady of the Way implements the following key learning areas:

    • Religious Education
    • English
    • Mathematics
    • Geography and History
    • Science
    • Creative Arts
    • Personal Development, Health & Physical Education
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