Key Learning Areas
Currently, eight key learning areas exist. As explained above, these learning areas are not taught in isolation but rather within the transdisciplinary program of inquiry or units of work. They are:
- Additional Languages
- Health and Physical Education
- Social Sciences (including history and geography)
- The Arts
Language and Literacy
At North Ainslie we believe that an effective and rich learning environment committed to languages education is one where all students:
- learn language, learn about language and learn through language
- are encouraged to learn more than one language
- are encouraged to develop a love of language and literature in all tongues
- are taught language by all teachers
- are encouraged to maintain and value first languages
- work in a structured, supportive and cooperative learning environment, which encourages risk taking, experimentation, inquiry and problem solving
- have the opportunity to engage in authentic and meaningful learning experiences
- work with texts and in activities which challenge and extend their understandings
- are taught language through an intercultural approach
- are exposed to modelling of rich, authentic language experiences
- are encouraged to read and interpret a range of literature reflecting a variety of cultures
- are encouraged to express themselves in a variety of media and situations
- have access to, and are taught through, a wide range of technological and information resources, including printed and visual texts, audio materials, and world wide multi media
- are immersed in language
- have access to differentiated language instruction which meets individual needs, abilities and interests.
The ACT Curriculum Framework defines literacy as:
"the ability to read and write and use information and to write appropriately in a range of contexts. It also involves the integration of speaking, listening and critical thinking, and includes the cultural knowledge that enables the speaker, writer or reader to recognise and use language appropriate to the social situation. In the English learning area, literacy also involves viewing"
This definition of literacy underpins our approach to the development of students' literacy skills. At North Ainslie we believe that "schools have the responsibility to create the conditions that will enable students to succeed" and that all students can succeed given relevant support and direction. The conditions on which this success relies are:
- explicit teaching of strategies: essential to ensure students have complete knowledge and skills;
- a strong partnership between school, home and community to promote successful learning;
- a challenging, safe and scaffolded environment;
- learning that is developmentally appropriate and continuously reflected upon;
- consistent and meaningful feedback to assist student progress; and
- early intervention.
At North Ainslie the school day has been arranged to create a two-hour daily literacy block. Literacy is also taught within our transdisciplinary program of inquiry and all key learning areas.
The curriculum is informed by the First Steps programs, the national curriculum and the IB PYP Language scope and sequence. It focuses on the strands of:
- Speaking and listening
- Reading and viewing
- Writing and creating text
- Critical literacy
Our commitment to a continuum of support for literacy learning incorporates:
- Shared reading
- Guided reading
- Cooperative reading
- Independent reading
- Buddy reading
- Modeled writing
- Shared /interactive
- Independent writing
- Speaking and listening experiences
- Viewing and presenting experiences
- Spelling Journals
- BEE spelling
We promote early identification of children's specific literacy needs and appropriate intervention strategies. For example, at North Ainslie every child's reading and comprehension levels are tested regularly. Results are analysed and entered into a database. The literacy team then works with the class teacher to review and improve reading proficiency.
Additional Languages Program
Language education enriches learners intellectually, linguistically and culturally, enabling them to communicate in multiple ways and to view the world from multiple perspectives.
Teachers at North Ainslie believe that learning an additional language is important to the education of young people. We believe that additional language education:
- develops the learner's capacity to communicate and interact across languages and cultures
- develops cognitive skills
- extends literacy skills in both one's own and additional languages
- allows the learner to more easily decode language, make comparisons between languages and draw conclusions about how language works
- strengthens our understanding of culture and identity through an understanding of global commonality and difference
- develops social cohesion by creating linguistically and culturally aware citizens
- affirms the knowledge and experiences of all students from culturally and linguistically different backgrounds
- promotes empathy for our students in the Introductory English Centre
- promotes tolerance, understanding and global capital
- prepares learners for greater immersion in languages at high school
- skills students in lingua franca
- builds bridges to communities in near/neighbouring countries
- supports trade and intercultural understanding
Units of work focus on developing understanding, knowledge, skills and attitudes in the following:
- speaking and listening
- Reading and viewing
- Writing and creating text
- Inter-cultural understanding
At North Ainslie Kindergarten students receive a basic introduction to the French language. Students from 7 years of age receive a weekly minimum of 45 minutes of additional language instruction, delivered by a specialist teacher. From year 3 all students receive a weekly minimum of 60 minutes of additional language instruction, delivered by a specialist teacher. At times specialist teachers also team with classroom teachers to provide the Additional Languages program.
The ACT Curriculum Framework defines numeracy as "the ability to use mathematics effectively to meet the general demands of life at home, in paid work and for participation in community and civic life".
Our mathematics curriculum is informed by the IB PYP Mathematics Scope and Sequence, Count Me in Too program and national curriculum. It incorporates the strands of:
- Number and Algebra
- Measurement and Geometry
- Statistics and Probability
Learning experiences in mathematics at North Ainslie give students the opportunities to actively construct meaning about mathematics, transfer that meaning into symbolic form (mathematical notation and diagrams) and then apply their knowledge, skills and understandings.
Students' understanding of numeracy is facilitated by the inclusion of hands-on learning experiences, real world problem solving and inquiry. Emphasis is placed on the development of confidence and the enjoyment of mathematics. We believe that, wherever possible, mathematics should be taught through the relevant, realistic context of the units of inquiry so that students gain an understanding of the application of mathematics in their world. Students also need opportunities to identify and reflect on the "big ideas" within and between the different strands of mathematics.
Our mathematics programs build upon prior knowledge and are responsive to the demonstrated needs of individual students. Opportunities for remediation and extension are provided to best suit the needs of the students. Several additional programs may be offered to students: Tournament of Minds, UNSW Mathematics Competition, and Australian Mathematics Trust Maths Challenge.
Health and Physical Education Program
As a health promoting school, North Ainslie values the development of children's' physical, emotional and spiritual selves, and seeks to build social and emotional capacity within every member of our school community. Our program is underpinned by the restorative and relational framework, and incorporates instruction in healthy living practices and social skills.
Students participate in regular physical activity, including human movement to music. They:
- Learn to care for and maintain their bodies and minds
- Learn to understand basic human anatomy
- Develop fine and gross motor skills
- Develop the ability to participate in a team environment.
Our health and physical education curriculum is informed by Every Chance to Learn, the IB PYP Personal, Social and Physical Education Scope and Sequence, and national curriculum.
North Ainslie values the role of science in the education program. Science is seen as an integral part of daily life, and is the exploration of the biological, chemical and physical aspects of the natural world, and the relationships between them. A knowledge of science is necessary for all students so that they can understand the world in which they live, value the systems and processes that support life on our planet, and take an active and informed role in society.
Our science curriculum is informed by the IB PYP Science Scope and Sequence and the Australian science curriculum. It incorporates the strands of:
- Living things
- Earth and space
- Materials and matter
- Forces and energy
Science at North Ainslie is taught within our transdisciplinary program of inquiry. We aim to develop students' capacity to:
- be curious about and understand the world around them
- reflect on and apply scientific knowledge so they can function in and contribute to a society in which science and its applications play a significant role; and
- demonstrate a sense of responsibility regarding the impact of their actions on themselves, others and their world.
We aim to develop student's scientific understanding, knowledge and skills by:
- exposing them to the process of scientific inquiry ( posing questions, making and testing predictions, planning and carrying out investigations, observing, measuring, collecting evidence, interpreting and evaluating data , drawing conclusions); and
- providing opportunities to consider scientific models and their applications.
Social Sciences Program
Social sciences at North Ainslie are taught within our transdisciplinary program of inquiry. Students are guided towards a deeper understanding of themselves and others, and of their place in an increasingly global society. They are given opportunities to look at and think about human behaviour and activity realistically, objectively, and with sensitivity. They gain knowledge and understandings of their own society and others, of local and global environments and of the relationships between environments and societies.
Our social sciences curriculum is informed by Every Chance to Learn, the IB PYP Social Studies Scope and Sequence and the Australian Curriculum for history and geography. It incorporates the following strands, which are concept-driven and are inextricably linked to each other and other subject areas:
- Human systems and economic activities
- Social organisation and culture
- Continuity and change through time
- Human and natural environments; and
- Resources and the environment.
We aim to develop our student's capacity to:
- find out about and understand the places, people and events that make up Australia and the interrelationships among them (recognising the Aboriginal peoples as the first Australians)
- understand Australia's democratic society and our commitment to active citizenship
- identify and evaluate past, present and future political, cultural, social and environmental issues and events that shape the world; and
- understand and contribute to an environmentally sustainable future.
We aim to develop student's understandings, knowledge and skills to:
- formulate and ask questions about the past, the future, places and society
- use and analyse evidence from a variety of historical, geographical and societal sources
- orientate themselves and others in relation to place and time
- identify roles, rights and responsibilities in society; and
- assess the accuracy, validity and possible bias of sources.
Technology education involves the active application of knowledge, experience and resources to create processes and products that meet human needs.
Our technology curriculum is informed by Every Chance to Learn, the IB PYP Science and Social Studies Scope and Sequences and the Australian Technologies Curriculum. It incorporates the strands of:
- Designing, Making and Appraising.
Technology at North Ainslie is taught within our transdisciplinary program of inquiry. We believe that it is important to give children the understandings, knowledge and skills that will make them informed and effective citizens who can:
- analyse and problem solve
- think creatively
- understand the role of science and technology in society
- demonstrate scientific and technological skills, safely using a range of tools and materials
- evaluate the effectiveness and appropriateness of designs on people and environments; and
- shape and modify their environment to improve the quality of life.
At North Ainslie we believe that an arts program provides a variety of media through which students can develop sound emotional literacy and can respond creatively to their environment and sense of humanity. We offer a comprehensive program that incorporates the strands of drama, music, visual arts and dance.
Music is catered for by the ACT Instrumental Music and Drumming Programs in years 5 and 6. Students may be selected to participate in the bands provided through this program. Various percussion and recorder groups also compliment our school music program. A specialist teacher delivers a drumming program to year 5 and 6 students not involved in the Band program. Singing is used in the classroom, and by teams for shared time, and is quite often performed at school assemblies and the annual concert. North Ainslie is a participant in the MEP singing program and students have the opportunity to sing at both whole school and external community events. A specialist dance teacher is employed to teach dance and movement classes across the school. Visual Arts holds a high priority at NAPS. Students are exposed to the techniques of various artists and periods, and are taught skills relating to colour, line, form and shape. North Ainslie currently employs a specialist visual art teacher in years 3-6.
Our arts curriculum is informed by Every Chance to Learn, the IB PYP Arts Scope and Sequence and the national curriculum.
- Australian Curriculum: English, Maths, Science and History
- Australian Curriculum: Geography
- Australian Curriculum: Languages, Technologies, Arts, Health and Physical Education
- Every Chance to Learn 2007 (DET)
- Making the PYP Happen (IBO 2009)
- PYP Arts Scope and Sequence (IBO 2009)
- PYP Language Scope and Sequence (IBO 2009)
- PYP Mathematics Scope and Sequence (IBO 2009)
- PYP Personal, Social and Physical Education Scope and Sequence (IBO 2009)
- PYP Science Scope and Sequence (IBO 2008)
- PYP Social Studies Scope and Sequence (IBO 2008)
- The Quality Teaching Framework 2008 (DET)