At Hoa Nghiem Primary School, we recognise that the ability to speak, read and write well is an essential aspect of education. Indeed, students’ proficiency in these areas impacts upon all aspects of the curriculum: their ability to successfully read and respond to mathematical questions, engage with others during group tasks and communicate meaning.
Literacy-based inquiries incorporate the explicit teaching of fundamental reading skills, writing (including grammar) and spelling. A chance to revisit and practice literacy knowledge is embedded across all aspects of the curriculum.
Students develop their reading skills through a highly structured program known as the guided release of responsibility model. This involves modelling particular strategies, engaging in shared reading and finally conferencing with students in guided reading groups or on a one-to-one basis. Writing is developed in an atmosphere that encourages exploration, experimentation and attention to detail within a structured environment. Attention is given to developing students’ grammatical knowledge throughout their schooling, to ensure that written and verbal expression is always precise, meaningful and appropriate.
Grades 3 to 6
Students develop their speaking and listening skills through class discussion, debates, performance and spoken presentation. They learn to read quality literature in an expressive and considered manner.
The ability to be numerate as well as literate is a fundamental ability that all students need to acquire. Apart from its practical use, a knowledge of mathematics opens the door to understanding the processes and patterns that exist in the world around us.
In many schools, sadly, students develop “mathematical anxiety”: a feeling of discomfort and fear that negatively interferes with mathematical performance. Our approach at Hoa Nghiem Primary School is to develop mathematical understandings through exploration, inquiry and real-world problem solving. Not only does this avoid the development of anxiety, it actively builds the mathematical comprehension and reasoning that are key features of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths)-based professions.
Attention is paid to learning basic number facts and families by heart. Logical principles, strategies and techniques are practiced and revised to build confidence in problem solving and create a strong, working foundation. Problem solving skills and estimation strategies are developed so that students can learn how to approach and solve unfamiliar problems.
Grades 3 to 6
Increasing emphasis is placed on the development of logical thought and mathematical reasoning. Students are required to explain their thinking and justify methods and answers. Project-based learning, in which students engage in a sustained ‘rich task’, is a key part of learning at these levels and provides students with a sense of engagement and accomplishment.
At Hoa Nghiem Primary School, we believe that a sound understanding of basic scientific knowledge is important to developing informed citizens and promoting non-harm. When we look at the study of Science, we can see that it is simply the study of nature and its laws, including how we use those laws to create new technologies. Looked at from a Buddhist perspective, it can be understood as the study of interdependence.
Science taps into students’ natural curiosity about the world around them. During these years, our units are focused around experiential learning, observation and simple experimentation processes in physical sciences. Units at this level centre on the natural world and an exploration of materials and simple machines.
Grades 3 to 6
Students are fully engaged in the scientific process, including understanding its history, developing fair testing procedures and considering the cause-and-effect nature of humans’ relationship with Earth. Across all year levels, a commitment to sustainability is a key focus.
Social Sciences: History, Civics and Citizenship, Geography
We see the study of History as offering all students a chance to reflect on the past, effect the present and change the future. We believe that it offers not only an invaluable opportunity to connect with the lives of others, but to build stronger relationships with our families, ancestors, communities and nation. It allows us to consider our place in the world and how we are related to everyone else in it. For these reasons, History at Hoa Nghiem Primary School is frequently connected with learning in the areas of Civics and Citizenship as well as Geography.
Students develop a sense of time and their place in it. Their focus is on learning about family and personal histories, the history of their local community and comparing the past with the present. We are extremely fortunate to be located at Hoa Nghiem Temple, with its deep connections to the local community, as students are truly a part of living history and regular celebration and commemoration.
Grades 3 to 6
Students expand their historical understanding and begin to develop a sense of its complexity. There is a substantial focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies, cultural diversity and the development of Australian democracy and. Students begin to consider the range of perspectives and points of view that can exist about historical events, use sources to support their own opinions and explore moments of significant social change.