In both our Lower Primary (Pre-Primary – Year 3) and Upper Primary (Years 4 – 6), the Primary School houses four comfortable and inviting classrooms each with a multi-aged group which caters for ratios of 26 students led by a teaching team comprising a qualified teacher and an intern, with whom students form close, respectful bonds.
Time and Space to Learn
Primary classes follow a ‘flow of the day’, including class meetings, skill and project based lessons, morning tea and lunch breaks, and specialist teaching of physical education (Bluearth) and languages (Italian). Days are not governed by bells or sirens and learning is thus more responsive to and respected by the students, so that if they are engaged and wish to continue on a project or task they can do so. The Primary campus also includes:
- a ‘Writers’ Hub’ dedicated to the art and function of writing which includes a media and publishing area
- a Library
- Ateliers for textile, drawing and media work
- a Kitchen Garden with chickens and a pizza oven
- a Performance Arts building
- Outdoor classrooms (Wildspaces) where children learn to collaborate, take risks, play and work safely out of doors.
Integrated Curriculum through Social Constructivism
Learning is facilitated through a combination of integrated projects and specific skill-based or ‘crafting’ experiences collaborative in nature, where students share, learn from and cooperate with each other as they work. Cross-curricula research and investigation is supported by the learning and practice of specific and targeted skills, for example, an investigation into the species of trees found within our school might be supported by the specific teaching of observational drawing, mapping and tabling skills.
BPCS acknowledges that all students learn differently and that there needs to be a variety of strategies used to engage and challenge them when acquiring literacy and numeracy understandings. Literacy and numeracy are taught using a balance of:
- whole language and phonics instruction
- authentic literature
- visiting authors
- web-based programs and games
- problem solving
- purposeful and kinaesthetic investigations
- word study
- reflection on personal thinking and strategies (meta-cognition)
Place and Nature Based Learning
We understand the importance of utilising the communities and places outside of school to support and inspire learning (Place Based Education). Projects can incorporate the relevant history, culture, economy, literature and art of the people and places around us – local, national and international depending on the age of the students. Our commitment to valuing the natural environment (Nature Based Education) means that we also use the outside spaces in and around our school to read, journal, research, photograph, map and play.
Students are encouraged to use many different ‘languages’ to learn and to express their ideas, such as dance, role-plays, interviews, written stories, cartoon creations, sculpture or maps. Skills, concepts and attitudes learnt through the Integrated Arts Program, flow into classroom learning thus making learning experiences truly authentic and rich. Students express themselves, learn and record their discoveries in many different ways and our staff are very creative and flexible in facilitating the many possible languages of expression.
Reporting and Monitoring
As part of the BPCS commitment to building relationships with families and making the student’s learning more visible, teaching staff encourage regular communication with and reporting to parents through:
- meetings and parent events,
- Educa (online story sharing),
- Australian Curriculum ‘Snapshot’ reports,
- parent/teaching team interviews.
We gather information about our students’ achievements and attitudes using diverse and authentic methods (discussion, checklists, video, work samples), students also participate in the National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) every two years from the age of 8 and we also carry out school testing in the intervening school years to support our own observations.
What to hear some stories from our Primary School program? Please visit our “On the Ground” page!