We provide a balanced developmentally appropriate curriculum, with particular emphasis given to Literacy, Numeracy and Religious Education. SMJ operates 11 combined age classrooms with an average size of 25 students. Specialist areas include library, art, physical education, music/performing arts and the Indonesian language.
Through the core subjects, all learning and teaching is drawn from the Victorian curriculum. Students are educated in faith through the Diocesan program, Awakenings which is supported through the Catholic Education Office in Ballarat.
Prep to Year 2 students engage in investigations throughout the week which is inspired by the research and work of Kathy Walker and the Reggio Emilio approach. The investigations are designed to be challenging, playful and individual while also allowing children to develop the skills needed to work collaboratively, build independence and be supported to extend their learning.
Investigation time engages children in exciting, personalised and authentic learning experiences that reflect the particular needs, interests and strengths of the individual child. It ensures a greater level of engagement for all students. It also helps to increase oral language for all children regardless of their linguistic background and integrates rich literacy and numeracy into all learning experiences.
Investigations provide time for the children to practice decision making, initiate ideas, develop persistence, take a risk with their learning, and try again when it doesn’t work; all within a safe environment where the child is supported and encouraged to succeed.
Our child-centred approach to learning continues in Years 3-6 where the students think about how they interact with each other, work together, use their time appropriately and identify what they need to learn. Educational Research replaces Investigations with a focus on the children developing the skills to be researchers, identifying what they need to know, what is important to know, and the skills they need to develop to be inquiring learners who are confident and competent at sharing their learning with others. The research is driven by powerful questions often framed by real life problems and purposes. The students move through processes that help them to think beyond the facts and come to understand deeper concepts.