As teachers we are influenced by best practices in education, and each teacher brings their own individual personality and ‘best practice’ philosophies to the school. We allow room for our teachers to create the most exciting, engaging curriculum based on the children’s needs and interests.
While a diversity of curriculum practices influence our styles (from child-centred movements such as Reggio Emilia, to democratic education, to play-based learning, to current brain research), we return frequently to the “project approach”. This allows the students to explore topics of interest to them (and mainly chosen by them) in depth, connecting literacy, numeracy, science, SOSE, arts and physical learnings to the current project or play investigation. Group projects as well as individual projects, explorations and investigations occurring over the course of the year, allow children to explore interests in an integrated, in-depth way.
Pine Community School purposefully provides multi-age learning groups. We believe learning is socially constructed, enhanced by access to peers with differing skills, strengths and ability levels. Therefore, our curriculum is currently sequenced according to developmental needs of the student. Learning groups are fluid and dynamic. The group’s membership changes, as the students’ needs change. All students are encouraged to work with students in other groups to provide peer support and opportunities for developing positive relationships within the school.
At Pine, we believe the teaching of mathematics to be a fundamental component of the curriculum. It provides students with the skills to be a reflective and complex thinker and an active investigator. We believe conceptual approaches to the teaching of mathematics result in confident, competent learners who enjoy their role as mathematicians. We aim to:
- develop conceptual understandings and proficiency in the areas of number and algebra, statistics and probability and measurement and geometry (as outlined in the Australian National Curriculum)
- provide activities that develop logical thinking, reasoning and problem solving skills, as well as fostering mathematical communication and language
- encourage student-centred exploration and discovery in mathematics
- engage students in constructive, reflective processes and enable them to communicate and support each other in the area of mathematics
- develop self confidence and a positive attitude in the student’s ability to work mathematically
- integrate mathematics into meaningful contexts that are relevant to the students’ experiences
- equip students to be numerate and mathematically literate for life.
Studies of Society and the Environment/History
We believe that many of the SOSE outcomes are embedded in the democratic running of Pine Community School. The children are active participants in decision making processes (including whole-school meetings on a weekly basis, where the children vote on issues of importance to them in the running of the school, as well as class meetings on issues of importance to the running of the group). Experiential learning is an integral part of our SOSE curriculum. SOSE curriculum outcomes are covered both in focused SOSE experiences and cross-curricular integrated projects.
In respect to history, we aim for the children to have a strong and rich understanding of local, national and global history, with an emphasis on understanding, inquiry and respect for the diversities of cultures and histories that impact our modern world. We aim to follow the children’s interests and questions in this area, developing skills and helping children engage actively with concepts and historical traditions.
We aim to:
- develop an understanding of change and continuity in local, national and global environments
- develop an understanding and appreciation of different cultures and how these impact on the diversity of our own culture
- promote an understanding of the concepts of the democratic process.
- encourage students to become active, responsible participants in the community
- foster knowledge of and investment in places of significance, including local, national and global environments and communities
- develop historical knowledge and understanding, including skills and concepts as outlined in the Australian National Curriculum for History
- instil in children a respect for, and understanding of, Australian history including indigenous history and contributions to the present day
- use hands-on activities, stories and objects to help make history engaging and interesting for children.
We believe that the skills and processes embedded in the technology syllabus are important for students in a modern society. Our role as teachers in this area is to facilitate learning and expansion of skills and knowledge, and also to enable students to learn from capable peers in this area (as many students possess great skills to share with both skills and teachers). We recognise the need for equity in this area, to ensure all students benefit from access to technology and technological practice.
We aim to:
- develop skills and learning in the areas of technology practice, information, materials and systems
- enable students to work technologically within the cyclic process of investigating, ideation, production and evaluation
- explicitly teach this process through formal design challenges and tasks as well as reflecting on this as it occurs through spontaneous play and informal learning experiences
- provide all students with opportunities to access technologies and technological practices
- encourage learning in this area, whilst respecting parents’ views on the appropriate nature, length and amount of technological experiences they want for their children.
At Pine, we value literacy learning as a key component of the whole-school curriculum. As such, literacy learning is embedded contextually within all key learning area experiences. We believe children become literate through multiple modes of teaching and learning, which emphasise different styles of learners and are based on developmental models that support children’s growing competencies. We aim to:
- provide authentic, purposeful experiences in all aspects of literacy and English, including the areas of language, literacy and literature (as outlined in the Australian National Curriculum)
- foster in children an appreciation and love of diverse literature and texts (stories, digital texts, fiction, non-fiction, and much more)
- develop students who are able to think, reason, analyse, create, respond to and interpret many forms of literacy (including written, oral, visual and multi-modal texts)
- provide opportunities for children to dialogue and reflect on literacy learning, and to share their discoveries with others
- integrate literacy learning into play, open-ended projects and student’s own investigations as well as whole school experiences
- develop self confidence and a positive attitude in the student’s literacy abilities
- explicitly teach skills in communication, oral and written language and literacy so as to enable all students to function as literate people by the time they finish primary school.
Science is an exciting and integral part of our school curriculum. Children have conceptual models of understanding that grow and develop when the learner is challenged with new ideas. Science provides children with opportunities to construct these models and develop concepts of the world around them. Through following children’s own queries, active questioning, experimentation, hands-on investigation and supported scientific discovery, Pine children have fun engaging with science. We aim to:
- develop conceptual understanding and proficiency in the areas of science understanding (biological, chemical, earth and space and physical sciences), science as a human endeavour and science inquiry skills (as outlined in the Australian National Curriculum)
- develop children’s self-confidence and positive attitudes to working scientifically in all areas through processes of investigating, understanding and communicating
- encourage student centred exploration and discovery
- engage children in constructive, reflective processes and enable them to become independent learners
- develop logical thinking, reasoning, questioning, predicting, planning, evaluating and problem solving skills, as well as a sense of wonder and joy about the scientific aspects of our world.
We believe that the arts are a valuable foundation for developing lifelong learners. The Arts provides children with opportunities to engage in aesthetic, cognitive, physical and social learning. Further, the Arts offer multiple entry points for the different learning styles of children. We recognise that learning through the Arts will allow children to develop holistically, enhancing personal development, communication, self-expression and responsiveness. Children also develop an understanding of their own culture, and the cultures of others, past and present, through the Arts.
We aim to:
- develop awareness of physical response to music through music, spatial awareness and timing
- confront gender stereotypes about dance and facilitate enjoyment and participation for all children
- provide opportunities for exploration of ideas and feelings, and self-expression through dance
- integrate dance with other areas, such as music and drama.
We aim to:
- provide formal and informal dramatic activities for all children on a regular basis, with opportunities to develop and explore skills in forming, presenting and responding
- support each child’s strengths and differences, and encourage participation and ownership in all parts of the process
- respect and encourage the value of dramatic play across all age groups
- integrate drama across other curriculum areas where helpful
- develop teamwork and social skills
- foster empathy and perspective-taking through role play and problem solving
- focus equally on the process, product and reflection stages.
We aim to:
- develop an awareness of the wide scope of media and media texts, including an understanding of the global nature of media and communications
- foster critical literacy skills when reading, viewing, responding to and creating different media
- provide media tools for children to use independently (e.g. film cameras, digital cameras, video cameras, computer, filtered internet, DVDs, etc), as well as supervision, instruction and support in the use of the above.
- follow children’s interests and passions in media construction (e.g. teaching stop-frame animation, digital photography manipulation skills, etc)
- integrate media in rich learning tasks across the curriculum.
We aim to:
- develop the ability to appreciate music in a variety of forms, from various cultures and historical time periods
- give all children the opportunity to participate in regular music lessons with a supportive and qualified music teacher
- foster their self expression through sound and movement
- empower the children as composers of their own musical improvisations
- encourage singing as a community building experience that contributes to a sense of belonging, harmony and celebration
- integrate music with other learning areas e.g. language and literacy.
We aim to:
- provide opportunities for students to communicate their ideas, feelings, experiences and observations of their worlds
- develop hands-on skills in various art media, such as clay work, painting, drawing, 3D construction, collage, sand, print-making, etc
- encourage children to appreciate and enjoy visual and tactile experiences of art
- enable students to benefit from the processes as well as the end product
- assist children in reflecting and building on elements of the process, including those they consider their mistakes
- develop in children a language specific to the visual arts (e.g. line, colour, shape, texture, etc)
- provide opportunities for children to select and arrange their artwork for display
- engage children in accessing artworks in the community through regular excursions to local and state galleries and exhibitions
Health and Physical Education
We believe happy children learn, and happy children enjoy physical, emotional, mental and social health. The health and physical education component of the Pine Community School curriculum provides students with the opportunities to develop concepts and physical skills that support the learner in attaining holistic and enjoyable health learning experiences.
We aim to:
- develop knowledge, understanding and skills to promote the lifelong health of individuals and communities
- develop concepts for physical activity in a co-operative, inclusive atmosphere
- promote the enjoyment and teamwork aspect of physical activity
- help children to recognise safety aspects and take care of each other in physical play
- enhance the personal development of students, including the use of conflict resolution skills to positively and proactively manage conflicts
- engage the children in a wide variety of sports and activities, including swimming, running, ball games, ice-skating, roller-skating, bowling, climbing, skipping and more.