At Highvale, our students and the successful achievement of expected learning outcomes across a broad curriculum is at the centre of our work. To achieve this, our school provides a developmental teaching and learning program which draws upon the common set of knowledge, skills and capabilities of the Victorian Curriculum.
As such, the Victorian Curriculum is a central component of the school’s teaching and learning program. Our Curriculum Design is the school-based plan for delivering, expanding and extending this common set of knowledge, skills and capabilities in ways that best utilise local resources, expertise and contexts. This is paramount to the achievement of our School Purpose. It enables us to develop particular specialisations and areas of expertise and innovation while ensuring the curriculum is comprehensively taught.
Evidence based, high impact teaching practices are utilised across every aspect of our teaching to support the developmental learning needs of each student. Our skilful and passionate teachers work collaboratively to develop specific teaching and learning programs using careful analysis of student progress through comprehensive assessment. Units of work and individual lessons are purposefully planned to extend, challenge and support each individual’s needs and abilities. Vital to 21st century learners, our students are supported to be critical thinkers, collaborative workers, and resilient and inquisitive individuals.
The structure of our curriculum is carefully mapped, reviewed and evaluated each year to ensure it reflects the needs of our students and the fidelity of the Victorian Curriculum.
English and Mathematics are taught explicitly each day in every classroom. Learning Areas including Science (Biological, Chemical, Physical, Earth and Space and Human Endeavour), Humanities (Geography, Civics and Citizenship, Economics), Health and Technologies (Digital Technologies) are taught explicitly through the structures of our whole school Concept Curriculum within each classroom. Guided Inquiry is the method used to teach these subjects which includes explicit teaching of Key Understandings as well as teaching and supporting students to pose questions, think deeply, research and take action on their learning.
Each Specialist Program is also explicitly designed to cater for the learning needs of all students and also supports the learning which occurs in the classroom. Our Specialist Program includes STEAM (Science, Technology – Digital and Design Technologies, Art – Visual and Media Art and integrated hands on Mathematics), Physical Education (and Sport), Performing Art (Music, Drama, Dance) Languages (Mandarin or German) and specialist Intervention and Enrichment where required.
Each student has access to enrichment and support programs as well as extra-curricular activities, including band, instrumental music lessons, Robotics, chess, Sporting Schools program, debating, and choir to name a few.
Find out more by joining our principal on a school tour and reading below.
English, comprised of Reading, Writing, and Speaking and Listening is taught daily for two hours. The foundations of English are supported through the explicit teaching of evidence based Synthetic Phonics which ensures all students develop the necessary building blocks to support their speaking, listening, reading and writing including grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Our teaching practices are informed by evidence based practices and research including Early and Middle Years research, Seven Conditions for Effective Writing, 7 STEPS for Writing Success, Oral Language Pie and TESMC (Teaching EAL Students in the Mainstream Classroom). Teachers participate in regular professional learning and the individual needs of the students are supported through a range of tools and technologies.
Where a student requires additional support it is provided through the class program and our specialist Literacy Intervention Program, including English as an Additional Language (EAL). All teachers also regularly participate in specialist professional learning to support EAL students. The great news is that these strategies, whilst designed for EAL students, are entirely relevant and incredibly supportive of native English speaking students and therefore enhance teaching and learning for all students.
Teaching of Mathematics at Highvale is scheduled daily and based upon the developmental needs of students as informed by assessment and the content of the Victorian Curriculum. This includes the development of knowledge and skills in the content areas of Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry and Statistics and Probability.
Through the teaching of concepts within these content areas, quality learning tasks are designed to ensure students develop their mathematical proficiency in the areas fluency, understanding, problem solving and reasoning. These are fundamental to learning mathematics and being able to work mathematically to engage in higher order mathematical tasks. This enhances opportunities for students to transfer their understanding and apply their mathematical competency to a range of other Learning Areas and everyday challenges.
Mathematics at Highvale is taught through an evidence based whole school approach. Our teaching is informed by both the Early Years and Middle Years Research Project, our work with Melbourne University and renowned mathematics researchers and educators John.A.Van De Walle and George Booker.
Importantly our teaching incorporates the use of a range of technologies, materials for hands on learning as well as our wonderful outdoor learning environment. Classes are often observed utilising our on-site Sanctuary and other facilities to complete rich mathematical tasks. In addition, students are provided with opportunities to participate in a number of enrichment and extension programs including the Maths Olympiad, John Monash Maths Enrichment and ICAS.
Digital Technologies & Robotics
Technology, including coding and robotics, are our present and future and all students at Highvale learn to be responsible users of such technologies. Cyber safety is taught explicitly and regularly to all students.
Highvale has an outstanding range of technologies available to students, including our 3D Printers, Dash Robots, BeeBots and Probots, Lego WeDo and EV3 robots, iPads and laptops. Students learn to code, program, and engineer solutions to problems using apps such as Scratch, Tynker, and Hopscotch, and are taught to be both Windows and Apple literate.
Senior students have the opportunity to be involved in the Robotics Club which further enhances critical thinking and teamwork skills.
An on-site technician provides expertise and support.
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics)
Learning in STEAM provides further opportunities for creative, rich learning experiences through our specialist program which all students access weekly as well as our class programs where it is integrated to support a range of learning areas. STEAM includes the Victorian Curriculum areas of Science, Digital Technologies (Technology) Design Technologies (Engineering), Visual Art and Media Art (Art) and Mathematics (application). Students learn about the connections between these learning areas and learn multidisciplinary skills to produce responses to real life, challenge based problems.
Biology, Chemistry, and Physics are interweaved with engineering, programming and coding, mathematical reasoning, and Visual and Media Art skills. Students learn the principles behind fair testing and experimenting. They also hone art skills in technique, application, and evaluation of different media.
Students participate in weekly lessons in Performing Arts which encompasses playing instruments, singing, dance, and drama.
Students also can elect to participate in one-on-one instrumental tuition in a range of woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. Musicians can also participate in our two concert bands and our school choir.
Our school runs a weekly lunchtime Drama club for students to engage in and refine their performing arts skills with our talented Performing Arts specialist teachers.
Our biannual school production allows all students the opportunity to shine on stage in a genuine theatre setting.
Physical Education and Sport
Students participate in weekly Physical Education lessons, to develop their gross motor and movement skills, as well as a range of skills necessary to enable participation and enjoyment in a range of games and sports. Through Physical Education, students are encourage to keep active and live healthy active lives through learning about physical, emotional, and social health.
Physical education also prepares our students for opportunities and events including our annual Prep – Year Two ‘Tabloid Sports’ and Prep-Year 6 ‘Twilight Sports’ athletics carnival.
Year 3-5 students also participate in our intra school sport program whilst Year 6 students (supported by Year 5 students on a rotational basis) participate in inter-school team sports each term. All students have the opportunity to participate in an intensive swimming program which teaches fundamental water safety skills by qualified swimming instructors. Selected students also participate in District and State level events. We are also involved in the Sporting Schools program which offers a fun, free way to be exposed to new sports.
Physical Education is an essential component of each child’s development.
All students at Highvale are offered the choice of learning German or Mandarin each week. Prep students learn both languages, and from Year 1, students elect their choice of language to study. Highvale is one of only a few Victorian primary schools to offer a choice of languages to its students.
Our senior German students are involved in the highly successful German Film Club, which enters a film to the annual Goethe-Institute German Schools Film Festival competition. Our students have placed 1st in the Early Years category in 2016, 2013, and 2011, and placed 2nd or 3rd in other years.
Cultural awareness and appreciation is an important component of our language programs as seen in events such as our annual Multicultural Day.
Enrichment and Support
To achieve their best, we believe that each student in every classroom requires explicit teaching, modelling of skills and behaviours and regular, meaningful feedback. At Highvale there is an emphasis on knowing each child’s strengths, abilities and areas for improvement.
Enrichment and Extension
Our excursions, camps, and extra-curriculur activities provide students with the opportunity to explore their talents. Individual instrument tuition provides students with the ability to enhance their musical talents and abilities, and our concert band provides an authentic musical performance experience. Sportspeople have the opportunity to represent the school at regional and state level athletics, cross country, swimming, and team sports. Many students participate in other electives such as our Chess program, Dance program and Green Team. Senior students can participate in the German Film Club, and our annual entry to the state-wide German Film Competition regularly wins their category. Our Robotics Club provides students with the opportunity to work with Lego EV3 robots and 3D printing to develop coding and programming skills. Senior students with a flair for public speaking can participate in debating where they are encouraged to be critical thinking citizens of the world.
Intervention and Support
When students require extra assistance, intervention programs and Individual Learning Plans are utilised to target specific areas of achievement and maintain progression of each child’s abilities. One on one support in reading is offered through Reading Recovery and the Systematic Synthetic Phonics. EAL (English as an Additional Language) students are provided with specialised intervention to assist in their development and use of the English language.