Parent involvement is encouraged. Parents provide support for reading in the early years, hands-on support for the kitchen-garden program and accompany classes on excursions and camps. Parents can be involved in school decision-making through serving on Governing Council or being part of a sub-committee or working party. The Learning Assistance Program provides significant and regular support to individual students. All parents in these roles need to undergo criminal history screening carried out by the Department of Communities and Social Inclusion. A parent coffee afternoon is held every Friday afternoon at 2:30pm in the Kitchen.
The curriculum describes a learning entitlement for all students and includes the core knowledge, understanding, skills and capabilities students should learn as they progress through school. Australian schools implement the Australian Curriculum in the learning areas of Mathematics, English, Science and the Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) – History. Other learning areas will be implemented by 2017 and during transition we follow the guidelines of the South Australian Curriculum Standards and Accountability Framework.
A strong foundation in literacy is provided through consistent practices in the early years such as using the Jolly Phonics program and prioritising phonological awareness. All teachers focus on using explicit strategies for reading comprehension and giving students the opportunity to develop skills in writing for particular purposes. Reading Intervention is provided at Year 1 through the MiniLit program (Meeting Initial Needs in Literacy) and at Year 3 through Rainbow Reading. All students receive a minimum of 300 minutes of instruction in English according to DECD requirements.
The school has a belief in teaching mathematics for understanding and in supporting students to become confident in numeracy. In 2013 and 2014, we have been part of the Mathematician in Residence Program. This has seen all staff work with Ann Baker and supports a school-wide pedagogy in the natural maths approach. All students receive at least 300 minutes of instruction in mathematics in accordance with DECD requirements.
Students are actively involved in a range of forums across Reception – Year 7. This extends from regular class meetings through to our junior and senior Student Councils that meet fortnightly. Students are involved in decision making in grounds and facilities, dress code, fundraising including supporting charities and special events. Feedback is collected in a variety of ways and used to monitor and improve the school learning environment.
Kitchen Garden Program
Students from Years 3 – 5 are very fortunate to be involved in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program that includes weekly garden lessons and fortnightly cooking lessons. The program, based upon a ‘garden to plate’ approach featuring seasonal produce, provides students with the opportunity to develop a wide range of practical life skills.
Students have the opportunity to work with a number of specialist staff covering Music (Rec – Year 3), Japanese (Rec – Year 7), History with a focus on Indigenous Studies (Rec – Year 7), PE (Rec – Year 7) and Art (Years 3 – 7).
The school values of self-esteem, integrity, care, cooperation and success guide all our actions and students are expected to demonstrate behaviours that align with these values. We support students through safe, orderly and productive classroom environments and a range of engaging options for break time, known as power plays. Management of unhelpful or unacceptable behaviour choices in either the classroom or the yard accords with clear processes and restorative principles. A student friendly Anti-Bullying Policy supports positive relationships.
Intervention and Support
A quality classroom program provides the number one intervention for all students. The school monitors student progress, achievement, attendance and behaviour using a wide range of data. Some students participate in interventions, particularly in literacy and numeracy and social / emotional development in small groups or individually. The school works in collaboration with other professionals and families in supporting identified students with disabilities through the Negotiated Education Planning process.
Student development is encouraged through a number of opportunities. These include:
- SAPSASA Sport - swimming, cross-country, athletics.
- Sustainable Action Group – a student leadership and advocacy group for sustainable practices.
- Festival of Music Choir
- Library Assistants
All students are expected to wear correct school uniform and appropriate footwear. This creates a positive image for the school and a sense of pride and belonging for students. School colours are navy and sky blue for tops and navy blue for bottoms (shorts, skirts and pants). Schools should be either neutral or as plain as possible. Hats are expected for all outside activities during Terms 1 & 4. Clothing is able to be ordered and purchased through our Uniform Shop which is open Tuesdays (8.30am – 9.30am) and Wednesdays (2:30pm - 3:15pm).
The school is presently arranged into 3 key units: Reception – Year 2 comprising 8 classrooms; Years 3 -5 comprising 6 classrooms and Years 6 – 7 containing 3 classrooms. It is anticipated that a similar arrangement will exist in 2015 with exact configurations dependent on year level numbers. The school has a number of specialist areas including hall, music / drama space, Garden and Kitchen Classrooms (including 5 specialist work stations), Resource Centre, Art studio and extensive outdoor spaces.
A canteen operates every day providing lunches and snacks according the Right Bite Strategy for healthy eating. Students may order lunches in the morning from a seasonal menu featuring homemade options. The canteen is open at each break time offering a range of snacks suitable for the weather eg – frozen juice cups, garlic bread etc. Parent support in the canteen is welcome.
The vast majority of students either walk to school or our dropped off by family and friends. Students who live in the Maslins Beach area may be eligible to catch the DECD bus that services Willunga High School. A small number of students catch public transport bus services.