Enhancing the Australian Curriculum
At BPCS we keep in tune with different modern approaches to learning and believe that education should materialise dependent on our community’s values and our experience with well researched trends. Our class learning tumbles out into the world with students exploring the need to go beyond what’s confined inside the classroom walls but even more, they begin using the world to learn. Our students feel engaged while achieving their goals and accomplish character development when exposed to learning outside the school borders. We believe in educating creative, entrepreneurial students and that we should provide environments that build on students’ strengths and give them a format where their talents flourish and take shape.
A love of reading and writing begins to take shape as students are introduced to a wide range of literature and connect to favourite authors and particular genres. Students become a part of that magical circle of readers and writers through explicit and developmentally appropriate instruction. At BPCS students are taught in the skill and strategy areas of reading, spelling, and writing with frequent observations and diagnosis teachers keep informed of student progress and make instructional planning effective. BPCS students begin to develop the critical skills to interpret both fiction and informational texts. Students have access to explore personal narrative, procedural writing, imaginative stories, poetry, fairy tales, fables and other forms that arise during classroom inquiries and projects. As they develop, the children’s use of English is integrated into class studies. A student lead building project becomes a book. A Wild Space study evolves into oral presentations on Peace and Conflict. A short story task becomes a weekly competition. An arts project requires application letters and program development. We acknowledge the importance of connecting to others through the English language and our students build their literacy skills on the home front with their school buddies and into the wider world with meaningful literary projects.
At BPCS we sequence Mathematics to represent an essential balance of problem-solving investigations and computational skills. Many of the skills spiral up, to be taught yearly at incrementally higher levels, while some skills are specific to particular grade levels. We embrace individual approaches to problem-solving while meeting national mathematics standards. All of BPCS maths work has a real-life application when students design in our classrooms, playgrounds and communities they calculate dimensions and begin to understand scale. In order to make enough banana bread to feed parents and guests, children multiply, add and estimate. As students contemplate planning excursions, they calculate how far they will travel in one day, and know how to weigh and pack wisely. Students will see maths at BPCS as practical, challenging and easily transferred to many areas of their lives.
Science at BPCS is investigative and exciting for children as much of the work that takes place in science arises from children’s inquiries. A structure made in the block area may launch a study of simple machines. An earnest curiosity about rainbows may lead to an inquiry about light’s reflective properties and how this applies to natural phenomena. A study of seeds through visual arts can prompt the growth of a native garden. As children study BPCS and beyond, they look at geological structures, biological diversity and environmental issues. Our closeness to the local waterways surrounding Lake Monger provides access to authentic investigations. BPCS Wildspaces provide environments that encourage students to become responsible stewards of their world. Frequent enrichment opportunities with relevant experts assure that children see the importance of science endeavours beyond the classroom.
HASS (Humanities and Social Sciences)
- History, Geography, Business & Economics (5-10), Civics & Citizenship (3-10)
Children are curious about their world and as they grow, so do their extensive wonderings. Students often ask questions about their immediate environment and many of their emergent studies have to do with those people and places both inside and outside our school’s gate. Lake Monger, the Aged Home, the train station, the indigenous past and present, are sources for questions and thoughtful, researched responses. Our students will; use role-play and arts-based reenactments to immerse themselves in historical moments; take sides in lively debates that resonate with many of the political, cultural and social issues occurring today; experience excursions both local and national, and be enlightened by a variety of invited guests. We aim to keep students inquiry alive during all of their studies with HASS learning areas being the guiding force for many projects and in-depth investigations. By developing economics and business knowledge students will be better placed now and into their future lives to actively and effectively participate in economic and business activities to secure their own financial wellbeing. Our Civics and Citizenship curriculum aims to reinforce students’ appreciation and understanding of what it means to be a citizen. We explore ways in which students can actively shape their lives, value their belonging in a diverse and dynamic society, and positively contribute locally, nationally, regionally and globally.
- The Arts
In keeping with BPCS’ philosophy and vision we celebrate our belief in the power and beauty of children’s unique process of learning through The Arts. Our students respond to learning and understanding in a variety of ways, applying acts of concentrated effort, filled with imagination, flexible thought, and reflective practices. In BPCS Arts the process is considered as valuable as the production of an artwork. Artworks that students develop are lasting and unique, incorporating a finely tuned combination of hard work and whimsy worthy of their reflection and pride. Our students become creative activists and develop innovation through the rich integration of The Arts. In response to learning, children create artefacts and produce kinaesthetic, musical and dramatic representations. Children also curate displays and spaces, enhancing their aesthetic sensibilities, while developing independence and collaborative habits. The result may be a 3-D representation of the Early Childhood Playground, a thoughtfully observed then sculpted turtle, a reinterpretation of a favourite story, a native seed packet designed and illustrated, or an eclectic evening performance spent adrift in an imaginary shipwreck. The outcome is always a unique response to the understanding gathered during an inquiry or project. This is what distinguishes BPCS’s integrated curriculum from every other.
- Languages P-10 Italian
The language program at BPCS celebrates the Italian language and integrates this into visual art, music, movement and play so that there is a purpose and motivation attached to the learning. This approach embraces the notion of a working knowledge of a language. At BPCS we desire to develop harmony and awareness in children of our marvellous multicultural city, so there is an ongoing link between language development and classroom learning.
- Health and Physical Education
BPCS has staff specially trained in the use of programs such as Bluearth and Rock and Water.
The Bluearth Approach involves specifically designed games, movements and postures that meet Physical Education (PE) curriculum requirements. Bluearth promotes a number of principles that lead to achieving improved social, personal, physical and academic outcomes. Lessons are inclusive, enjoyable and provide a non-threatening learning environment. We believe that each student has the ability to succeed and should have opportunities to allow exploration, creativity and self-assessment. The key to the BPCS Bluearth Approach is the focus on the students’ experiences as a result of participating in each activity. Students are not told what is right or wrong, rather, through skillful guidance and questioning these powerful messages are reinforced; Honesty, Fair play, Consideration for others, Cooperation, Challenging oneself and Quality of Attention.
In the primary, middle school and college levels Rock and Water sessions develop the concept that the tough, immovable rock attitude versus the mobile, communicative water attitude can be explored and applied at various levels: the physical, the mental and the social level. Students learn that emotions are expressed in the body by way of muscular tension and lessons develop increased body awareness leading to more insight and experience of one’s own patterns of reaction, which in turn can offer a chance to deepen and further develop the emotional awareness and self-awareness.
At BPCS we provide opportunities for students to consider the use and impact of technological solutions. In creating solutions, as well as responding to the designed world our students consider sustainable choices and learn how to contribute to positive futures for themselves and others. Technologies describe two distinct but related subjects. With Design and Technologies, our students use design thinking and technologies to generate and produce solutions for real-life situations. A lesson in music becomes a flip book that is animated. A cherished indigenous story is brought to life with projection mapping and a humble sandbox. An investigation into mapping is enhanced by flying a video camera above the trees attached to a helium balloon and original compositions become incidental music within a drama production. Technology builds understanding, provides a scaffold and opens a world of possibilities that is only restricted by imagination.
- Work Studies (Year 9/10)
Preparing students for industry is an exciting and novel prospect. Students will learn to adapt and problem-solve during their Work Studies. They will also gain an understanding of real work-life responsibilities. This is facilitated in the classroom and through a range of enterprises including radio, animal care and sport.
In more depth:
With some of the careers of the future not yet determined, preparing students for positions without a title or perhaps even an industry is an exciting and novel prospect. Students of “Work Studies” develop the skills necessary to adapt to any environment and become adept problem-solvers. With an emphasis on employability skills, students form an understanding of the whole work landscape through acquiring more responsibility in the classroom and in assisting other teachers and staff throughout the school in the capacity as an ‘employee’. Students hone these skills through placements in an actual work setting where current trends and advances can be experienced. This is consolidated upon in the classroom through theoretical practices. BPCS has developed solid relationships with industry where students have enjoyed a variety of enterprises including; Radio, Hospitality, Animal Care, Landscape Design, Information Technology, Artisan Wood Studio, Sport and Fitness.
- General Capabilities
The Australian Curriculum developers have created the General Capabilities, a framework to meet the 21st century citizen’s educational needs.
The philosophy and teaching at BPCS have always supported and provided for the development of these 21st century skills and we embrace the Australian Curriculum through these General Capabilities as these skills concentrate and encourage the positive behaviours and dispositions underpinning all of our BPCS student learning. These capabilities have been at the heart of our school for many years, we value their inclusion in the Australian Curriculum. At BPCS we have a well-established program that encourages these positive behaviours through our awareness of the growth of student’s ‘Habits of Mind’. ‘Habits of Mind’ are a set of skills that help achieve effective learning. Our staff create environments that allow and motivate the practice of these skills, helping our students become: goal-directed and self-starting; future leaders and collaborative team members; creators and innovative problem solvers.
HABITS OF MIND – LEARNING DISPOSITIONS
As stated in the Australian Curriculum v7.1“responding to the challenges of the twenty-first century – with its complex environmental, social and economic pressures – requires young people to be creative, innovative, enterprising and adaptable, with the motivation, confidence and skills to use critical and creative thinking purposefully.”