Curriculum

Philosophical Overview

Our School Vision Statement

Capable, Confident, Creative Children Contributing to our Community

Teaching and Learning at St Clair School

The delivery of quality learning experiences for all children is central to our work. Consequently, a high priority is placed on quality assessment of learning and careful differentiation of programmes to ensure that all children experience challenging, stretching and effective learning.

In the early years at school, an emphasis is placed on the acquisition of appropriate literacy and numeracy skills. As skills develop, children increasingly use their literacy and mathematical skills as tools to support their deeper learning.

Children developing agency in their learning is an integral part of St Clair School. This is promoted through our Action Stations (junior), Learning Hubs (middle) and Elective (senior) programmes, where children are given the skills and opportunities to lead their learning, and have a say in what, where and how they learn.

An Integrated Approach

"Almost everyone has had occasion to look back upon his school days and wonder what has become of the knowledge he was supposed to have amassed during his years of schooling… but it was so segregated when it was acquired and hence is so disconnected from the rest of experience, that is it not available under the actual conditions of life" (Dewey 1938, cited in Beane, 1997, p.6).

Integration of the curriculum is an important part of St Clair School's approach to the delivery of the New Zealand Curriculum. This approach supports and extends literacy and mathematical skills as children utilise the '3-Rs' to broaden their understanding of the world. We believe that an integrated approach not only provides meaningful learning opportunities for children but also enables the school to fulfil its legal requirements as outlined in the National Education Goals and National Administration Guidelines, as well as fulfill its Charter goals and obligations. The school's success in delivering high quality learning opportunities to all students is reflected in our past Education Review Office (ERO) reports.

One of the main aims of any school is to help students understand and make sense of their world. For learning to be long lasting, it is important that new experiences build on existing knowledge and skills. The integrated approach to curriculum delivery allows children to explore relatively complex issues that don't always fit simple curriculum categories. As children explore meaningful questions and issues, the integrated approach links individual subject areas in more meaningful contexts.

The integrated approach to curriculum delivery at St Clair School is generally inquiry-based.

During their time at St Clair School, children will have repeated opportunities to:

  • identify and clarify questions for exploration
  • plan and undertake personal investigations
  • gather information from a range of sources
  • process and interpret their own data
  • draw conclusions, collaborate and share their findings with others.

Meeting Social Needs

Positive socialisation of all students is a second central aspect of our work. Our school's values programme 'KCM' (Kindness, Caring, Manners) is a simple but very effective vehicle for shaping positive social outcomes at school. As a result of this school culture, with clear modelling by staff and with the support of families, children at our school are self-managing, cooperative and friendly. This positive aspect of our school is often commented on by visitors as well as new staff and children.


National Standards

We are obligated to assess students’ learning against the National Standards and to report this to parents. We do this via a one page report that is separate to the general school report, and is sent home as required by the Ministry of Education, twice a year.

References:

Beane, J. (1997). Curriculum integration Designing the core of democratic education. New York and London: Teachers College Press, Columbia University.

Murdoch, K. (2004) as cited at: http://www.ltag.education.tas.gov.au/planning/models/inquirymodel.htm

Pigdon, K. and Woolley, M. (Eds) (1995). The big picture. Integrating children's learning. USA, Heinemann.