Learning

Our staff are dedicated to ensuring your child gets the most that they can out of their learning and will cater for the individual needs of every student in our care.

At Catherine McAuley School, we honour the spiritual, social, emotional, and intellectual learning potential of all of our students. We foster a love of learning by employing inclusive and contemporary pedagogies. Our methodology draws upon evidence-based teaching practices including Explicit Direct instruction and Visible Learning. These practices are complimented by our rich well-being and Religious Education programs, Positive Education and Restorative Practices.

We structure learning for individual success and use a diversity of teaching methods and programs. Flexible Learning spaces and specialist teachers provide exciting programs and ways to learn. Laptops with wireless technology are readily available for all Primary and Middle School students. Alongside our comprehensive media-hub, these devices enable digital technologies and STEM to be effectively integrated across the curriculum. Our school prides itself on rigorous assessment, regular feedback and systematic sharing with families about their child’s progress.


Play-based learning

We know that creative activity is an integral part of your child’s emotional, social, physical and intellectual development. Your child will be given the opportunity to explore their creative potential through play and will be encouraged to become an independent learner.
Creative activity stimulates a child’s use of language to explain their play and to develop and absorb the language around them during creative activity. Children are able to come to terms with their environment while stimulating eagerness to learn, curiosity in the world around them and creativity.

Literacy

In an increasingly complex world, the need to use language in an effective manner for a variety of purposes, situations and audiences has become of prime importance. Literacy is the ability to read, view, write and speak appropriately in a range of contexts. These concepts are taught sequentially at developmentally appropriate stages as part of a concentrated block every day and are based on the National Curriculum.

Catherine McAuley School was one of the first Catholic schools in Australia to be accredited by the Australian Dyslexia Association for its implementation of multi-sensory structured learning (MSL). The school employs a multi-tiered response to intervention model, this approach ensures that evidence based practices are employed across all class settings and that additional small group and one on one support is provided to students as required.

In the early years, students engage in a comprehensive literacy program that addresses the Big Six skills of reading and fundamental writing skills. This involves developing students’ phonemic awareness and oral language skills, extending their vocabulary and phonics knowledge, building fluency with foundational literacy concepts and supporting the development of comprehension skills. Grammar and handwriting are also fundamental concepts that are explicitly taught to student in the early years in order to lay a strong foundation for their primary and secondary education.

As students move into the primary years, the focus shifts from learning to read, to reading to learn. A greater focus is also placed on developing authorial aspects of students writing. Students learn to compose a variety of texts for different audiences, drawing upon different mediums to convey their understanding. At Catherine McAuley School, we draw upon the Seven Steps of Writing program and the principles of Functional Grammar to compose creative and grammatically sound texts. Spelling instruction extends to studying morphological and etymological aspects of spelling so that students develop a deeper understanding of the English language and its complex orthography.

Numeracy

Catherine McAuley School draws upon best practice and research in the field of Mathematics teaching.

Our Maths program is a balance between conceptual understanding, procedural fluency and the application of Mathematical concepts. Students at our school are provided with enriched learning experiences that are student centred, active and engaging. Your child will be included in a variety of teaching and learning practices including repetition and practice, active questioning, dialogue and problem based learning.

It is our aim for your child to become confident and positive about their ability to use Mathematics as they develop and investigate solutions to everyday and real life problems. So, what does this mean for your child?

Your child will receive effective and evidence-based teaching of numeracy to bring about high levels of individual achievement

Your child will be involved in strong school leadership and whole school engagement with numeracy. This will link directly to our school’s vision, teaching practices, organisation and community relationships which are needed to sustain high levels of student learning achievement.

Your child’s performance in numeracy will be monitored closely to identify where support is needed.

Children will engage in Low threshold High Ceiling tasks that provide multiple entry points for learners

Digital Technologies and STEM

Catherine McAuley School has a deep commitment to developing lifelong learners and provides a rigorous Digital Technologies and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program. Students have access to the latest technologies and are encouraged to engage in problem solving activities and draw upon many skills when faced with the challenge of building, making or planning.

Our world continues to be shaped and influenced by technology and we want to ensure your child has the digital literacy he or she will require for the world of tomorrow. We offer a comprehensive Digital Technologies curriculum starting from Reception utilising current and relevant technology including Beebots, Spheros, Microbits and more. All classrooms are equipped with Interactive Whiteboards and equitable access to iPads and laptops enabling our learners to develop the computational skills required to become a global, connected citizen. Catherine McAuley School continually refreshes its digital classroom resources to stay abreast of the latest developments and skills.

Digital safety and security is a key part of our teaching. We help students develop and apply knowledge, skills and appropriate social and ethical protocols to enable them to be responsible and safe users of ICT.

Our STEM program is taught through hands-on experiences and problem-based learning where children are encouraged to solve authentic real-world problems. Through this, students are empowered to think deeply, be active participants in their learning and develop skills for the future.
Our ‘Maker Space’ encourages creativity, resourcefulness and exploration. Having a problem-based learning approach to STEM comes with targeted questioning, careful planning and prototype-creation using the Engineering Design Process. This uncovers all considerations when creating a product/prototype/solution where our students reflect on the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics behind it. Our Science program is practical and exciting focussed on developing and nurturing the child’s innate curiosity about the world around them.

Religious Education

Catherine McAuley School invites your family to develop a personal relationship with Jesus within the tradition of the Catholic Church inspired by the Mercy ethos and our patron Catherine McAuley. We provide a contemporary Religious Education program (Curriculum assisting teachers to provide quality religious instruction) that is integrated into all aspects of your child’s life (developing self-understanding and awareness, meaning and purpose, spirituality and in the world in which they live). Catherine McAuley School celebrates faith through various outreach activities, meaningful liturgical celebrations and earth (ecological) stewardship (guiding our students toward sustainability). We also offer an innovative sacramental program (Reconciliation, Confirmation and Eucharist/Communion) through the Elizabeth Catholic Parish. While we are a Catholic school, we are inclusive and respectful of all cultures and religions.

History and Social Sciences

Catherine McAuley School develops’ students curiosity and imagination about their society and history through its engaging social and environmental studies program.

Awareness of history is an essential characteristic of any society, and historical knowledge is fundamental to understanding ourselves and others. The curriculum generally takes a world history approach within which the history of Australia is taught. It does this in order to equip students for the world (local, regional and global) in which they live.

An understanding of world history enhances students’ appreciation of Australian history. It enables them to develop an understanding of the past and present experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their identity and the continuing value of their culture. It also helps students to appreciate Australia’s distinctive path of social, economic and political development, its position in the Asia-Pacific region, and its global interrelationships.

Languages Other Than English

Today’s children are truly global citizens. We have never been more connected and closer to other people, cultures and ways-of-life. Learning a second language is a wonderful opportunity for students to improve their academic outcomes as well as enrichen their understanding of people, cultures and the wider world. Catherine McAuley School offers a dedicated Italian program that explores both the language and culture.

Expressive Arts

Catherine McAuley School’s Expressive Arts program is designed to allow students to increase their understanding and accomplishment in music, drama and dance. Students begin to appreciate the meanings and values that each of the art forms offer personally, culturally and as forms of communication.

Through drama, music and dance you child will build confidence, develop speaking and listening skills, learn about positive group and social interactions and have the ability to perform for the class, school and wider community.

Every two years all students participate in the School Concert, an exciting event which brings our whole community together.

Health and Physical Education

Health and Physical Education (HPE) at Catherine McAuley School is more than learning basic sports skills, it provides students with a platform for physical, mental and social wellbeing that will serve them for the rest of their lives.

Movement is a powerful medium for learning, through which students can practise and refine personal, behavioural, social and cognitive skills. HPE at Catherine McAuley School provides students with an experiential curriculum that is contemporary, relevant, challenging, physically active and fun.

Our program encourages students in all year levels to develop skills, knowledge and understanding to strengthen their sense of self and build and manage satisfying, respectful relationships. Students learn to build on personal and community strengths and assets to enhance safety and wellbeing. They critique and challenge assumptions and stereotypes. Our students learn to navigate a range of health-related sources, services and organisations.

At the core of HPE is the acquisition of movement skills and concepts to enable students to participate in a range of physical activities – confidently, competently and creatively. As a foundation for lifelong physical activity participation and enhanced performance, students acquire an understanding of how the body moves and develop positive attitudes towards physical activity participation. They develop an appreciation of the significance of physical activity, outdoor recreation and sport in Australian society and globally.

Our specialist HPE program advocates a models-based approach to curriculum programming and teaching, utilising Sport Education, Tactical Games Approach, and Teaching for Personal and Social Responsibility through Health and Physical Education.  

In support of the learning that occurs through HPE, students from Year 3-7 are encouraged to attend extracurricular events coordinated by South Australia Catholic Primary School Sport Association (SACPSSA) and School Sport SA (formerly known as SAPSASA). Students are also allocated to a House when they begin at Catherine McAuley School and represent the House during intra-school events such as Be-Active-a-Thon, Colour Explosion, and Sports Day.