At St Joseph’s Primary School, the expert teaching team differentiates learning to provide for the needs of all students at every level to ensure high levels of learning for every student. There is a strong focus on targeted teaching where we extend the skills and knowledge of every student in every class, regardless of their starting point.
Through formal and informal assessments we ascertain what students already know and teach them accordingly. Key Learning Areas are taught in stages within a model of co-teaching. Co-teaching involves teams of teachers that work side by side in the classroom. They engage in open dialogue as they co-reflect, co-debrief, and co-plan for the benefit of the students.
Each stage also has an Education Assistant (EA) and an Indigenous Education Assistant for part of the school day. Intervention programs are offered to support students. These include reading interventions; Mini lit (infants), Macqlit (primary), and (Succeeding Together As Readers (STAR). Extending Mathematical Understanding (EMU) is also offered at St Joseph’s. Our whole school pedagogy is based on the Walker Learning Approach.
Walker Learning is underpinned by national and international research which establishes intentional investigations, not free play. These investigations allow children to partake in self-driven learning, but at the same time, the teacher has intentionally chosen the various centres to satisfy the requirements of the NSW syllabus.
All teachers have participated in significant professional training through Early Life Foundations and the work of renowned educator, Kathy Walker. The leadership of the school has had training with Pasi Sahlberg, a Finnish educator whose book, ‘Finnish Lessons 2.0: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland’ won the 2013 Grawemeyer Award for an idea that has the potential to change the world. Through Walker Learning students are provided with rich opportunities to learn through a mix of active investigation alongside explicit, formal instruction.
St Joseph’s South Grafton is very proud of its long history of involvement with and education of indigenous families and students. The school has an Indigenous Education Office that supports the indigenous students in their daily classwork as well as teaching whole class History lessons providing an indigenous perspective.
Each week students participate in sporting activities. The school undertakes Swimming in terms 1 and 4, Athletics and Cross Country in term 2, and Winter sports in term 3 such as netball, rugby, soccer, and hockey. The students in year 3 to 6 participate in elective community sports throughout term 3.
Creative Arts – Music, Dance, Drama, Visual Arts
Private music lessons in voice, piano, and guitar are offered at the school. Teachers prepare a multitude of Eisteddfod items for infants and primary students; voice choirs, verse speaking, and percussion groups. The School presents a biannual Musical to showcase the creative talents of the students. The school employs an experienced specialist art teacher who provides instruction in Visual Arts, Drama, Dance, and Music as outlined in the NSW Syllabus.