Teaching & Learning
Religious Education at St Francis of Assisi Primary School is based upon the new direction of Conceptual Inquiry in the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn. It is designed to invite people to a deep personal relationship with God, inspired by Jesus and sustained by the Holy Spirit. Religious Education at St Francis of Assisi Primary School is grounded in the exploration and celebration of Sacred Scripture and Tradition to inform a deeper understanding of Catholicism and what it means to be a Catholic in the contemporary world.
The classroom teaching and learning in Religious Education encourages theological inquiry through a contemporary, engaging and experiential curriculum. The Religious Education curriculum at St Francis of Assisi is designed to centre on the learner and promote an expectation of high achievement and critical thinking. The student applies their understanding and skills to explore religious questions and various religious perspectives. It leads to a sense of wonder and connection to students’ lives.
Religious Education therefore aims to transform the students of St Francis of Assisi Primary School to become missionary disciples who proclaim a spirit of hope and respect in contributing to a just world.
Our school has a dedicated two-hour literacy block every day. Students from K-2 participate in a synthetic phonics program called InitiaLit - which focuses on Explicit Instruction and works on the philosophy of multiple exposures to move learning from working memory into long-term memory. Students in 3-6 are immersed in Direct Instruction through the Spelling Mastery program, allowing students to be allocated to a needs-based group focusing on improving phonological and morphemic aspects of Literacy.
Our writing program is strongly influenced by The Writing Revolution, which has a focus on improving sentence-level structure. Students participate in ‘short writing often’ every day, working on punctuation, the 4 sentence types, expanding on kernel ideas and identifying fragments. ‘Long writing seldom’ involves structured teaching of text types, single paragraph outlines and using drafting, editing and revising to produce published written pieces once a term.
We encourage all children to develop a love of reading and support and motivate them through a variety of class novels and picture books. We have a strong culture of reading which is supported by our well-resourced Library.
At St Francis of Assisi Primary School, the content and skills that form the foundation of our teaching in Mathematics come from the Australian Curriculum. The Australian Curriculum: Mathematics provides students with essential mathematical skills and knowledge in Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, and Statistics and Probability.
We offer Mathematics lessons that build understanding and fluency. Each lesson has been created with the intent to give each individual student the best possible foundational knowledge in each strand of mathematics. Our classrooms are well stocked with manipulatives to assist in visual understanding and our lessons are designed with the explicit teaching of skills and the opportunity to apply those skills to open-ended tasks that develop reasoning and problem-solving skills.
We cater to all mathematicians, offering extension competitions and enrichment such as Maths Olympiad for those students who are keen to challenge themselves and experience maths beyond the classroom. We also differentiate our programs to ensure that all students can access the curriculum, by offering support through intervention programs. Regardless of whether your child likes maths or loves maths, we have skills, content, and resources to foster your child's love of mathematics and to help them thrive.
The St Francis of Assisi library is a calm, welcoming place that provides students with opportunities to read and borrow all sorts of books. It is commonly referred to by students as “My favourite place in the school!” The library has a large, up-to-date collection of print and digital materials that students and teachers are encouraged to read and utilise both for enjoyment and knowledge. These resources include fiction and non-fiction texts, graphic novels, magazines, audiobooks, eBooks and online subscriptions. Resources are continually being added to the library collection and promoted to students, ensuring that children and teachers are provided with the most current texts and information available.
The library theme this year is “Our library has all sorts of books for all sorts of people”. Weekly library lessons encourage students to find books that they LOVE to read, fostering lifelong reading and learning skills. This year students are being exposed to different characters, settings, topics, authors and text formats in creative and engaging ways. Children are encouraged to borrow each week for school and home reading. Our library is also open on Thursday afternoons from 3pm for families to come and borrow together to support home-school partnerships around reading.
The library catalogue is available via the Internet and can be accessed from any computer at school or home. Students can login and access eBooks, audio books, recent magazine subscriptions and Encyclopedias through Sora, as well as ClickView which is an educational streaming platform.
The library is also the place where students engage in their weekly Chinese lesson (Grades 3-6). These lessons provide students with opportunities to learn and practice the Chinese language, with each lesson including a cultural segment about an aspect of Chinese life. The library is the perfect place for this learning to occur, as the library environment contributes in fostering student understandings of different cultures and global perspectives.
Students have access to laptops and iPads in classrooms which are supplied with interactive white boards and panels. Years 4-6 have access to the BYOD iPad program to develop digital competencies across key learning areas.
Extra-Curricular Activities / Clubs
Teachers supervise a number of exciting and fun clubs throughout the school at lunchtimes. Below is a roster for what's on each day and children can join in the activities every day if they wish! Students are able to participate in creative and craft activities, games and gardening and they particularly enjoy socialising and learning new things that are separate from the playground.
As St Francis of Assisi is the Patron Saint of the Environment we here at St Francis of Assisi pride ourselves on looking after the environment. We are constantly working on ways to become a more sustainable school.
Our Green Gang program, which is run at lunchtimes, involves students in understanding the processes of growing food in an organic way. We learn how to deal with pests, how to nourish our soil, and how to promote strong plant growth. By participating in planting and cropping, our students are shown the value of fresh food and the work that goes into producing it. Students learn about and help care for the chickens which are part of our Green Gang area. Through this process, they develop an understanding of the needs of the chickens, how to maintain the habitat, and things which impact on the health of the chickens.
Sustainable activities students participate in include:
- Care of the garden beds such as weeding and turning the soil
- Planting and maintaining seeds and seedlings in pots to use in garden beds
- Planting and caring for seedlings in the main beds
- Harvesting plants and gathering eggs
- Selling produce to the school community
- Waste Management: using allocated chicken and worm bins for scraps and feeding the scraps to the chicken and worms or using the compost areas.
- Energy Management: making sure doors are closed, lights and computers are off when not being used, heating and cooling are at sustainable levels
- Participating in activities such as: Clean up Australia Day, World Environment Day, National Tree Day, Earth Hour.
- Nude Food Day every Tuesday
Music and Dance Program
We provide students with the opportunity to participate in many musical experiences including singing, movement, and listening to a wide range of music. Students in Year 3-6 also learn to play the ukulele and descant recorder. In Year 2 students are invited to join our Music Tuition Program provided by Musicorp Australia. Available lessons include piano, strings, woodwind and brass.
Gross Motor Program
We are committed to developing the whole child at St Francis of Assisi and this extends to physical education. The Gross Motor Program starts in Kindergarten and extends to Year 1 and is complemented by our outdoor adventure playground.
Learning Support Programs
Our Learning Support team works with the teachers to ensure the students are achieving their best. Students who are experiencing difficulties with maths, reading, handwriting and writing may receive extra support from a member of the learning support team or their classroom teacher. The children work in small groups or individually, using a targeted intervention approach to help achieve success. We work in partnership with parents to develop individual personalised plans to ensure these children have specific achievable goals that help them to move forward from where they are currently at.
Excursions are designed to enhance students’ experiences while working on a particular unit of work. Excursions and Incursions are included within the school fees and all year levels plan an incursion or excursion at least once a semester. Kinder to Year 4 also participate in a ‘Learn to Swim’ program, and Year 5 and 6 participate in an annual overnight camp.
At St Francis of Assisi, we have a school chaplain, Mrs. Susan Harris, who works at school every Monday and Tuesday to help support students with various day to day wellbeing matters. The programs offered are voluntary and consent from parents is sort before students commence working with Susan. Requests for students to see Susan can come from parents, staff or the students themselves, however, written consent is required from parents before the students can participate in any of the sessions offered. The types of supports Susan offers include small group social skills workshops, playground support, friendship building groups, Seasons for Growth, emotion regulation sessions. Susan’s role is not one of school counsellor, however, she does have access to the school counsellor for support with ideas for conducting her programs and at times has worked together with the school counsellor in programs such as URFab.
If you would like more information or would like to request Susan support your child in some way please email the school via the Contact Us link on this website (https://www.stfa.act.edu.au/contact).
All children can opt not to work with Susan at any time and their right to do so will be explained to them in their first meeting and at the commencement of all following sessions. If you or your child is not happy with any aspect of the Chaplaincy program or a session/s with Susan, please either lodge a complaint using the link on the school website below the Complaints Policy (https://www.stfa.act.edu.au/policies-publications) or contact the front office directly on 62924500 to make an appointment to meet with either the Principal or Assistant Principal.