Learning

St Anthony’s Girraween, has a dedicated team of teachers committed to providing a quality Catholic education for their students.


At St Anthony's, we believe that there's more to learning than simply knowing content. Our ever-changing world means that students need to develop a broad range of skills (or learner qualities) in order to become successful lifelong learners. These learner qualities are captured in our learner profile.

In the Learning section of our website, you will find information about the curriculum, learning support and extracurricular activities at St Anthony’s.

For more information about our curriculum or extracurricular opportunities, please contact the school office.

Learner Profile

At St Anthony's, we work on developing these qualities in our students as they learn each day; and we observe, assess and report on students' development as holistic learners.

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Creative

  • Imaginative
  • Inquisitive
  • Expressive
  • Innovative

Personal

  • Catholic values
  • Personal responsibility
  • Displays respect
  • Displays empathy

Collaborative

  • Cooperates
  • Communicates effectively
  • Listens to and considers the ideas of others
  • Relates with others

Reflective

  • Responds to feedback
  • Reflects on learning
  • Sets and works towards learning goals
  • Displays resilience

Active Thinker

  • Makes connections
  • Seeks solutions by questioning and investigating
  • Uses higher order thinking skills to develop deeper understanding
  • Uses critical thinking strategies

At St Anthony's, all staff seek to model in their professional work, the qualities of lifelong learning that we develop in students.

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Key Learning Areas

Maths at St Anthonys

In English, students learn to read, write, talk and listen. They learn about English language and literature, how language varies according to context and how to communicate to a range of audiences for different purposes. They learn to read for information and for pleasure. They learn about poetry, novels and plays. They gain a sound grasp of language structures, punctuation, spelling and grammar. (NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), Parents Guide to the NSW Primary Syllabuses)

At St Anthony's, learning and teaching in English follows a balanced model which includes:

  • teacher modelling of knowledge, understanding and skills
  • shared experiences to develop these concepts
  • independent learning experiences to consolidate what has been learnt

Student learning experiences are matched to their stage of development through ongoing assessment. The prime learning time each week is dedicated to English and Mathematics, and additional learning support is provided at these times to maximise learning.

St Anthony's engages in diocesan-wide assessment to identify students at risk in the crucial early years of schooling, including:

  • the School Entry Assessment (SEA) for Kindergarten students
  • an Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement for Kindergarten and Year 1 students. Some elements (e.g. Running Records) are continued with students in later
  • grades, according to need

In addition to the learning intervention programs provided by grade learning teams, St Anthony's also has a specialist Reading Recovery teacher.

Year 6 students also participate in the diocesan Voice of Youth public speaking competition.

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Mathematics develops students’ thinking, understanding, competence and confidence with numbers, shapes and measurement. Students learn to add, subtract, divide and multiply whole numbers, fractions and decimals. They learn to measure time and calculate with money. They learn geometry, algebra and how to work with data and graphs.

As with English, learning in Mathematics at St Anthony's is characterised by:

  • modelled, shared and independent learning experiences
  • allocation of prime learning time
  • matching of learning experiences to students' stage of development through ongoing assessment
  • provision of additional learning support
  • intervention programs developed by grade learning teams, according to need

St Anthony's is also engaging in the Extending Mathematical Understanding (EMU) project. The focus of this project is to improve learning and teaching in Mathematics, and again, identify students at risk and provide targeted interventions in the crucial early years of schooling.

Science and Technology develops students’ skills in thinking, investigating and problem-solving. It gives them knowledge and skills in scientific investigation, design and applied technology. This subject builds on the curiosity children have about their natural and built environments.

Science and Technology learning experiences are underpinned by a constructivist approach. Through practical investigations, and designing and making, students develop their understanding of the world around them.

Student excursions are often related to a unit of work in HSIE or Science and Technology each year.

In Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE) students learn about history, geography, civics and citizenship. They investigate their personal and community identity, and gain an understanding of their nation and its place in the world. They learn to participate effectively in maintaining and improving the quality of their society and environment.

HSIE learning experiences are underpinned by a inquiry approach. Through gathering, analysing, synthesising and applying information, students develop their understanding of the world around them.

Student excursions are often related to a unit of work in HSIE or Science and Technology each year.

Creative Arts gives students experiences in the visual arts, music, drama and dance. They have opportunities to explore their creativity in each of these areas. They learn to appreciate the meanings and values that each art form offers. They perform and express themselves through the visual arts, music, drama and dance.

At St Anthony's, students are provided with a range of opportunities across the Creative Arts Key Learning Area. We believe that it is crucial to develop students' creative and expressive capabilities in addition to their logical and analytical skills. To support learning in Creative Arts, St Anthony's has a specialist music teacher, and provides extracurricular opportunities through The Music Bus.

Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) develops the knowledge, skills and attitudes students need to lead healthy, active and fulfilling lives. Students learn about the importance of good food and regular exercise. They learn how bodies grow and change over time. They learn skills to play individual and team sports, and the values of sportsmanship and teamwork.

At St Anthony's, we believe that learning in PDHPE is important for students to develop respect and care for themselves and for others, as human beings made in God's image.

Our peer support program is conducted annually to develop positive relationships and social skills. This is further consolidated by our buddy program. The Life Education program also encourages healthy lifestyles and responsible decision-making.

As required by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), students engage in physical activity every week. Physical Education lessons are provided by a specialist PE teacher. A swimming program is also conducted annually to support the Physical Education program and provide important water safety skills.

Opportunities are also provided, through whole-class clinics and optional sporting gala days and competitions, to allow students to develop skills and interest in a range of sports, such as:

  • Rugby League
  • Cricket
  • Soccer
  • Netball
  • Basketball
  • AFL

Carnivals are also conducted annually for swimming, athletics and cross-country running. Successful participants at school level compete against other schools at zone, Diocesan, Inter-Diocesan and State levels. Preparation for school carnivals takes place as part of the Physical Education program.

Learning

St Anthony’s Primary follows an inclusive model of learning support. Inclusion is a process whereby the educational needs of all children are met, regardless of ability or disability.

The fundamental responsibility of St Anthony’s school community is to provide opportunities for the achievement of learning outcomes for all students.

In line with the Diocese of Parramatta vision for student services in the 21st century, support is available to any student with learning needs. These needs can range from children with disabilities, including vision impairment, hearing impairment, intellectual disability, specific learning difficulties, behaviour disorders, emotional disturbance, communication/language disorders and physical disability. Children learning English as a Second Language (ESL) and New Arrivals are also supported. Students with special gifts and talents are enriched in their learning, to foster their potential.

Individual Plans are prepared for those children who meet the requirements for Commonwealth Government funding. The Individual Plan records any within-class modifications or adjustments made for the child’s particular learning needs, specific learning support and any additional expectations of parents or carers.

The prime focus of Learning Support is the coordination of a team of specialist teaching staff, counsellors and teacher aides to provide support to classroom teachers using a range of evidence based approaches, including those that are preventative, proactive and strength-based.

The Learning Support Team works within the classrooms to enhance the value of an inclusive environment. They assist in whole class and group activities. Opportunities are also provided to recognise and focus on individual needs.

Regular Team Meetings are organised to discuss and review support needs within each grade. An ongoing tracking and monitoring system is established for every student in the school. At times, there may be a need for further specialised assessments or interventions to highlight specific learning needs.

The goal of Learning Support is to provide classroom teachers with assistance and resource support to promote the learning outcomes of all students.

In addition to the standard teaching programs, St Anthony's provides activities, such as:

  • before-school reading activities
  • peer mentoring (buddies) for all students
  • University of NSW competitions
  • Choir
  • instrument and vocal music tuition through The Music Bus
  • various sporting gala days (e.g. Rugby League, AFL, Basketball, Soccer, Netball, Cricket)

Book Club

Once a term, we distribute Scholastic Book Club’s specially compiled list of reasonably priced books to the children. Details on how to purchase the books are included on the forms. This is an entirely voluntary purchase.

The Catholic school shares the Church’s mission of evangelisation; that is, to proclaim and spread the Gospel throughout the world so that humanity might be renewed and transformed. Its approach is comprehensive: ‘witness and proclamation, word and sacrament, interior change and social transformation’ (General Directory for Catechesis n.46). Exercised in a spirit of cooperation, several complementary roles directly serve the mission of the Catholic school.
Catholic Education Office, Diocese of Parramatta - Sharing Our Story: Religious Education Curriculum. Core document, p. 12.

The Family

The Catholic Church asserts the fact that parents are the first teachers of the Catholic faith and tradition to their children. The journey of faith begins at baptism and continues throughout our lives. Parents are supported in undertaking this profound responsibility by relatives and friends, godparents, the Catholic Parish in which they participate, as well as the Catholic school, which provides education within a uniquely Catholic context.

The Local Church

The Bishop of Parramatta has a responsibility to nourish and sustain the faith of all within his diocese.

Much of this is carried out through the work of the local parish. Our parish of St Anthony's, Toongabbie, is led by our parish priest Fr Paul Marshall. Our school is part of the evangelising and missionary work of St Anthony's Parish and the Diocese of Parramatta.

The Catholic School

At St Anthony’s, we believe that Religious Education begins at our birth and continues throughout our lives. Religious Education helps us and our children reflect upon ourselves, our world and our God, in the context of our personal life experiences, the Sacred Scriptures and the Church and its traditions.

As a result of this reflection we are better able to come to know our God more personally and respond to our relationship with God through prayer, our participation in the liturgy and our daily lives.

At St Anthony’s, we strive to present your children with a lived experience of a loving faith community. We help them to reflect upon their experiences of God and also to learn from the model for living that Jesus gave us. This aims to support the way you are passing on your faith to your children at home. The basis of our Religious Education program is the Parramatta Diocesan curriculum document, Sharing Our Story.

Sacraments of Initiation

St Anthony's Primary supports the parish community's parish-based, family-centred approach to sacramental initiation. This process, which is in accordance with diocesan policy, reflects the fact that Confirmation and First Communion complete the journey of initiation into a faith community.

Each family in St Anthony's Parish has the right to decide for itself when its children are ready to complete the sacramental process, which can begin once children reach Year 3 of primary school.

The Sacraments of Penance (a diocesan requirement before the reception of Communion), Confirmation and First Communion are prepared for and celebrated by families within the parish context. Information is sent home through the school each year.

The school also ensures that units of work in the Religious Education curriculum relating to the Sacraments of Initiation, are taught at a time when they will support the parish sacramental process.

For more information about the Sacraments of Initiation, speak to our Religious Education Coordinator, or contact the parish office.

Swimming Carnival

This event is held in Term 4. All children from Kindergarten to Year 6 participate. There are novelty events to cater for beginner swimmers.

Cross Country

This carnival is held during Term 1. The children undergo training in the weeks leading up to the event by gradually building on the distance they run. The Cross Country is held on a school day and all children from Year 2 to Year 6 are expected to participate in this event.

School Athletics Carnival

Held in Term 2, all children from Kindergarten to Year 6 participate in the athletics carnival. The children may nominate to participate in longer distance races or field events, such as long jump, discus, shot-put etc.

In each of these areas, children have the opportunity to compete against other schools at the Zone carnival.

Try this at home - Science and Technology

There's air all around you - but how much do you really know about it? Learn more with science projects for kids.

When you think of air, you might think of emptiness, but air is actually exerting a force - or pushing - on everything, all the time.

Compressed air has great strength. The book blast experiment is a science project that demonstrates just how powerful it can be.

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What You'll Need:

  • 3 books
  • Large airtight plastic bag

Steps

Step 1: Challenge a friend to move 3 books stacked on top of one another on a table by simply blowing at them. Of course, your friend won't be able to do it!

Step 2: Place a large plastic bag on the table, and put the 3 books on the top of the bag. Leave the open end of the bag sticking out over the edge of the table.

Step 3: Hold the opening together, leaving a hole as small as possible. Blow into the bag. Take your time; stop to rest if you need to.

If you blow long and hard enough, the books will rise off the table. They will be supported by the compressed air in the plastic bag

Air pressure can be stronger than gravity. This unspillable water experiment demonstrates its strength as it keeps the contents of a water glass in place, even upside down.

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What You'll Need:

  • Juice glass
  • Water
  • 4x6 inch index card

Steps:

Step 1: Fill the juice glass full of water. Let the water run over so that the lip of the glass is wet. Be sure that you fill the glass right up to the top.

Step 2: Place a 4x6 inch index card on top of the full glass of water. Be sure to press the card down securely with your hand, so that it makes a good seal all around the wet lip of the glass.

Step 3: Working over a sink, hold the card in place with one hand as you turn over the glass. Carefully let go of thew index card. The card will stay in place, and the water will stay in the glass.

What happened? The force of air pressure against the card is stronger than the force of gravity on the water. The air pressure holds the card in place.

In fact, the force of air pressure is so great that you can even use it to crush a can.

Air pressure is strong enough to bend a can. Find out how you can amaze your friends with the caved-in can experiment.

152Caved-in Can Experiment 

What You'll Need:

  • Large container
  • Water
  • Ice cubes
  • Empty soft drink can
  • Measuring cup
  • Stove
  • Tongs or pot holders

Steps:

Step 1: Fill a large container with water and ice cubes. Set it aside to use later.

Step 2: Pour 1/2 cup of water into an empty soft drink can.

Step 3: With adult supervision, put the can on a burner on the stove.

Step 4: When the water in the can starts to boil, you will see steam coming from the hole in the top of the can. Turn off the stove, and use tongs or pot holders to remove the can from the heat.

Step 5: Quickly put the can in the container of ice water, turning it upside down to rest on its top. Now, watch the can collapse as it cools.

What happened? When you heated the water in the can, it produced steam that forced the air out of the can.

When you put the can in the ice water, its temperature lowered, and the steam condensed back into water.

The pressure of the air outside the can was greater than the air pressure inside the can. The weight of the outside air crushed the can.

Try this at home - Numeracy

One of the earliest skills children have to develop is counting. To "count" we need to match the number words with the correct number of "things", then we need to remember the numbers in order.

Mathematics is also about ideas relating to shapes, objects and their position. Children need to be able to describe shapes and objects and their position.