Emmaus Christian School utilises the Australian Curriculum, which is fully endorsed by the Australian Government. We aim to give children the best possible start to their life of learning. Children are being prepared for life, academically, socially and spiritually. We aim to fully equip children to be able to engage with and navigate their world with a solid Christian Foundation.
Research shows that what is taught in the early years- and how it is taught helps shape a person’s life. A K-6 Christian Education provides fantastic support for families who desire their children to grow up with a Christian worldview, learning Christian values and learning from the Bible about God’s created world.
At Emmaus, we seek to implement the most up to date research and best practises for teaching children to read and write. The brain learns things in three different ways: by rote or patterning, conceptually, and by creating.
Learning to speak, read and write requires the brain to develop patterns. Therefore the best way to learn these Literacy skills in the early years is through a programmed, direct teaching model that uses a multi-sensory approach.
Within this multi-sensory approach, we teach the factual knowledge required to become an effective reader and speller. This involves teaching over 170 spellings that represent 44 sounds in English, starting with the simplest one-to-one correspondences.
Reading and spelling also require expertise in the skills necessary to make use of the alphabet code and pupils need to be able to:
- segment, or separate sounds in words;
- blend, or push sounds together to form words; and
- manipulate sounds: take sounds out and put sounds into words.
At Emmaus we work with each student to achieve success in reading and writing. We use a phonics program as the core component of our K–2 English curriculum. This provides opportunities for practising these skills on an everyday basis until pupils achieve the automaticity required for fluent reading and spelling. It is a complicated process … no wonder it takes hours of practice to perfect!
These skills are also practiced in all Spelling lessons right up through Year 6. At Emmaus we use Spelling Mastery, a McGraw Hill program, which systematically reviews every skill, pattern and rule to assist withlong-term retention.
Reading is more than decoding the words on the page. Understanding and rich comprehension of text also requires direct teaching and a great deal of time and practice. In an information based society, reading comprehension and critical analysis of text are important life skills. Teachers at Emmaus Primary School integrate reading comprehension skills across subject areas to ensure these skills are developed in the context of relevant subject material.
Some students may need additional assistance and we draw on many resources including Multilit, “Making Up Lost Time In Literacy”, a program from the researchers at Macquarie University. Our Learning Assistance team works with parents and teachers to devise individual programs for students who require extra assistance. .
Writing is a more complex skill than reading. At Emmaus, we start the writing process from the beginning of Kindergarten, with work becoming progressively more complex as students develop their thinking and reasoning skills, as well as their proficiency with language and spelling. Learning to write includes learning to vary the formality of language for the intended audience as well as learning to vary structure and style with the purpose of the text.
Mathematics is more than numbers. Over the course of their time at Emmaus, we work with students to develop their skills in problem solving, logic, and spatial awareness as well as a deep understanding of basic number concepts. We use the Go Maths program through to Year 3. The program’s strength is in helping students understand what they are doing before teaching written algorithms for solving problems. By Year 3, students are learning three digit addition and subtraction with regrouping of tens and ones. Year 3 is also a great year to aim for having times tables memorised, as Year 4 and 5 move on to more complicated multiplication and division using Maths Plus. Year 6 students also utilise Maths Plus, building on the understandings from the previous years.
Science should be fun! At Emmaus, we follow the sequence of the Australian Curriculum, using the Academy of Science’s Primary Connections program. It allows us to offer students from Kindergarten to Year 6 a unit of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Earth Sciences each year, and helps students to see the connections between science and everyday life. The experiments that make science fun for kids are included from Kindergarten right through the primary years.
How we extend our students and enrich their learning
We have a diversity of Music opportunities. Children learn music as part of the curriculum, and we also have a choir. Year 4 students engage with percussion and theory lessons on a weekly basis. We have an instrumental music program in which all students in Years 5 and 6 participate, including group lessons and a band. An extension band is also currently offered for students who excel at music.
Students in Year 4, 5 and 6 are given opportunities to utilise the High School food-tech room, and Year 5 and 6 students participate in Woodwork, for a term.
Every year, all our students participate in a Musical Performance. Students, from grades two to six, audition for cast roles, with every class performing a song and/or dance. This becomes a celebration for all students and their families from Kindergarten to Year 6.
Maths Olympiad and extension groups for English (which include over a two year cycle; Public Speaking, Debate and (supported) Independent research tasks) are offered to students who are identified as needing to be challenged.
On a weekly basis we have House, a whole of Primary School activity, with 3 teams (or ‘Houses’) that compete. We aim to build friendships and strengthen community across the Primary School. Our Carnivals and Fun Days are K-10, with positive interactions between a range of age groups fostered. Students stay in the same houses from Kindergarten through to Year 10, and are in the same house as any siblings they have at the school.
Students are encouraged and enabled to be kind to each other and to resolve conflict. We use ‘Brave Talk,’ a program that assists students in verbalising what is frustrating them, apologising and moving on.
Year 6 students are provided with opportunities and training to enable them to show leadership across the Primary School. They spend time assisting and caring for their Kindy Buddies, run a ‘Trading Room;’ where equipment is leant to primary students, mediate and problem solve for peers and assist at the front office.
From students seeking to fundraise for The Leukemia Foundation, to wanting to start an inclusive board-game club, we seek to empower and encourage students as they seek to make a difference.