Learning and Teaching
Innovative, Supported and Connected
The Curriculum at Our Lady of Fatima follows the guidelines set by VCAA in the Victorian F-10 Curriculum which incorporates the Victorian Curriculum. The curriculum sets out what all young Australians are to be taught, and the expected quality of learning as they progress through their schooling. The Victorian Curriculum F-10 is the curriculum for Victorian schools.
Curriculum areas are: Religion, English, Mathematics, Science, The Humanities, Technologies, Languages, The Arts, Health and Physical Education. These are explored through the Capabilities areas: Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social, Ethical and Intercultural.
Through explicit instruction and modelling, students learn through a systematic method of teaching with emphasis on proceeding in small steps, checking for student understanding, and achieving active and successful participation. It is our belief that "all students deserve instruction that is clear, accessible, rigorous and relevant" (Bondi et al, 2019 p. 357).
Participation, Equity & Access
Our Lady of Fatima’s approach to teaching English follows the Victorian Curriculum and is intended to maximise opportunities for growth in ‘Reading’, ‘Writing’ and ‘Speaking and Listening’ for all students. Our teachers use formal assessments and professional observations to regularly assess the strengths and needs of each student including phonemic awareness, phonological awareness and fluency. This information is used to determine the students’ learning goals in each area of English and to enable differentiation and equity making sure that "learning opportunities match learning needs" (Connor, 2014, p. 2).
Literacy is the foundation of all learning at Our Lady of Fatima, as it is the key skill that allows your children to participate in and enjoy their schooling. Literacy at Our Lady of Fatima is focused on three general areas of
Speaking and listening;
Reading and viewing (SOR Science of Reading).
Across each of these three areas, we focus on growing the ability of our students across the following knowledge areas:
Grammar – understanding the role of grammatical features as they relate to meaning;
Text knowledge – understanding how spoken, written and visual texts are composed to meet the requirements of different subjects or areas of study
Word knowledge and phonic knowledge– focusing on the increasingly specialised vocabulary and spelling relevant to a wide range of subjects; and
Visual knowledge – understanding how visual elements add meaning to text.
In our new strategic plan we focus on building teacher efficacy and strengthen explicit teaching of the BIG SIX from P-6: Oral Language, Phonological Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary and Comprehension.
Our Science of Reading Journey so far is represented as a 'sketchnote'...
Our goal is to inspire students to ‘dream, believe and achieve’ throughout their primary school education. We support students to grow academically, socially and emotionally - and to build a view of themselves that establishes a happy and successful path through primary school, secondary school and beyond.
Participation, Equity & Access
Our Lady of Fatima’s approach to teaching Mathematics follows the Victorian Curriculum. At Our Lady of Fatima we focus on actively engaging the students in the development of mathematical understanding by using manipulatives and a variety of representations; working in flexible small groups cooperatively and independently to solve problems; estimate efficiently; investigate and record findings. "Small groups not only enable all children to learn but enable advanced students to keep advancing" (Adelson et al., 2011).
Emphasis is placed on problem solving, finding patterns and making connections. Mathematics provides a means of accessing and processing information and develops logic and reasoning. It involves knowing mathematical facts, developing a sense of number, being able to carry out mathematical procedures and being able to use mathematics in solving problems, and describing and understanding the world.
Learning Adjustments & Visible Learning
Setting Clear Learning Intentions
At Our Lady of Fatima we set clear learning intentions (what am I learning?) for our students and show the pathway to being successful. This pathway is outlined through clear, child friendly success criteria (how will I get there?). Through knowing the curriculum, educators create progressions of learning so each student has the personalised steps required to succeed in the task. This is where knowing individual needs is so important.
Learning and teaching programs are devised to cater for individual needs in each and every classroom. Students’ individual abilities are measured by a rigorous and comprehensive assessment schedule which is used to inform classroom-teaching practice.
Quality differentiated classroom instruction ensures that all students have the opportunity to achieve maximum growth and progress in their learning. "Educational equity does not mean educational sameness. Equity respects individual differences in readiness to learn and recognises the value of each student" (Colangelo et al., 2004, p 2).
Additional targeted support is required for some students to help them reach their potential and develop essential skills in critical learning areas. OLOF works closely with families to co-design a Personal Learning Plan supported by termly parent Support Group Meetings (PSG’s). All students at OLOF are supported in their learning in targeted small group instruction and students requiring support or advancement are supported in learning spaces in targeted small group instruction or through an individualised one on one delivery mode. OLOF provides teacher designed targeted intervention programs and evidence based programs to meet individual learning needs . These include:
Personalised Individual Reading Tutoring
MultiLit MiniLit (1-2 Intervention *new in Term 4 2021)
Heggerty Phonological and Phonemic Awareness (P-2 *new in Term 4 2021)
MultiLit Reading Tutor (3-6 Intervention)
Personalised Individual or small group Oral language Tutoring
LLI (Leveled Literacy Intervention)
Phonics Australia and the SPELD Australia (Support for Specific Learning Difficulties) foundation decodable readers (Moon Dog, Magic Belt, Alba, Talisman, Totem (catch up readers for older readers)
Small group numeracy intervention
Enrichment programs from P-6 designed each term with learners needs in mind (Numeracy Inquiry, Writers Workshops, Lego Robotics, Focus on Capabilities)
Many other extension opportunities are offered throughout the year including participation in Spelling Bee, Lion's Quiz, Australian Mathematics Competition and various Writing Competitions.
Triggering Curiosity, Making Meaning & Taking Action
The meaning of "knowing" has shifted from being able to remember and repeat information to being able to find and use it.
(National Research Council, 2007).
Inquiry-based learning is more than asking a student what he or she wants to know. It’s about triggering curiosity and making meaning. Activating a student’s curiosity forms the start of learning at Fatima. While teachers may guide the inquiry to various degrees and set parameters for a classroom inquiry, true inquiry is internally motivated. We always start with a ‘big question’ and let the students guide the way. Through an inquiry based approach to learning, student thinking is scaffolded towards uncovering their own big questions. Inquiry supports all of the elements of future education alongside the Capabilities Curriculum because it encourages connection, co-operation, and collaboration by allowing students to pose and solve problems together. It is authentic and shared. Inquiry learning refers to many different content areas and many intersect with our STEM program:
The Humanities (History, Geography, Economics and business, Civics and Citizenship)
Science (Biological, Chemical, Earth and Space, Physical)
Physical Education (Personal, Social and Community Health)
Critical and Creative Thinking
Ethical and Intercultural Capabilities
Design and Digital Technologies
Assessment, Reporting and Feedback
Supporting Growth Along a Learning Continuum
Deeply embedded in the learning and teaching cycle, the assessment process provides reliable and valid evidence of a student’s learning (Partnerships for 21st Century Learning, undated) and informs adjustments to teaching strategies that influence the nature, amount and rate of learning.
Horizons of Hope identifies the following principles of assessment for MACS schools. Assessment is focused on growth.
Our assessment process refers to all the ways we gather information about progress in a student’s learning. Assessment always reflects the objectives and criteria of student tasks and we ensure that it is both meaningful and relevant to the area of learning and the student. Methods of assessment include: standardised tests, observations, peer discussions, work samples, presentations / performances; projects and the analysis of student testing data. Teachers will continually observe and assess your child’s learning in class. At different times, an assessment task or test may be set to gain a clearer idea of how well your child understands what has been taught. This important assessment assists the teacher to fine-tune teaching strategies for the individual student.
At all times, our professional team of educators are committed to providing the best and most engaging Catholic education. Our educators aim to achieve the highest standards possible for all students through using data, research and evidence to ensure improvement and growth in learning. In a learning environment where our students feel safe, engaged and challenged to do their best, we ensure that learning is accessible for all. OLOF implements a school wide Assessment Schedule to ensure that data drives our work forward and is relevant to individuals. OLOF implements a school wide data plan which sets out how the school analyses and uses data to set goals and targets for outcomes, and to design improvement strategies, including students at risk.
Our Lady of Fatima provides both formal and informal reporting channels. As well as written documentation and formal parent / teacher interviews, there are a number of ways that parents can be involved in their child’s learning such as open days; curriculum information sessions; newsletters; displays; concerts; plays; and special events including Book Week, Sporting Events, and Class Liturgies. At the end of Term Two and Four you will receive a report of your child’s progress. This report reflects the guidelines which are set by the Department of Education and Catholic Education Melbourne. The report provides opportunities for parents and students to review the year whilst reading the report and also to set and discuss future learning goals.
Education in Faith
Developing a Personal Relationship with God, Religion, Ourselves and the World
"Do ordinary things extraordinarily well." Daniel Delany
At Our Lady of Fatima we believe that the Catholic faith and its traditions are central to the purpose of our school. Religious Education enables learners to encounter God in their lives and to articulate what this means, in an environment that welcomes multicultural and multi-faith world views. We intersect Religious Education with Inquiry, where possible and encourage learners to use their head, heart and hands. We plan all of our Religious concepts through the RE Curriculum Framework.
Faith intersected Inquiries connect the ordinary to the spiritual by teaching children to interpret our world within the context of Catholic Social Teachings (CSTs), Gospel beliefs and through the lens of other curriculum areas such as science, civics and history. This type of Inquiry develops individual relationships with God by teaching children about God through Scripture, Liturgy, Prayer, Tradition and Life. It encourages pupils to learn from different religions, beliefs, values and traditions, while exploring their own beliefs and questions about their world and faith.
It challenges us as educators to reflect on, consider, analyse, interpret and evaluate issues of truth, belief, faith and ethics in our students’ responses and to reassure them that their ideas are worthy, valued and heard. As educators we don’t have all the questions or all the answers. Our students guide us. We listen. They question. We discover together.
We also offer:
School based Sacramental Programs
Sacred Spaces in all learning spaces and shared spaces
Opportunities for prayer throughout the day
School liturgies and School Parish Masses
Family prayer nights
Celebrations of holy days and liturgical calendar events
Participation in community social justice initiatives such as Southern Peninsula food for All and Vinnies.
Building Creativity through Drama, Music & Performance
Building Creativity through Drama, Music & Performance. We have a strong Performing Arts Culture in the school and students can elect to be part of the choir and participate in lunch time activities around the performance. Students also participate in weekly Performing Arts lessons that encompasses Dance, Music, Drama and performance based activities. The Arts enable students to develop their creative and expressive capacities by learning about the different practices, disciplines and traditions that have shaped the expression of culture locally, nationally and globally. Students are both artist and audience in the Arts. They make and respond and learn to appreciate the specific ways this occurs in different disciplines.
Engaging and Innovative and Catering for Students' Learning Needs
Our Hub is an amazing resource centre which offers a range of alternative learning spaces and pedagogical approaches to meet a wide range of educational and social emotional needs. It encourages students to use alternative seating including peddle desks and exercise balls to aid sensory output and improve attention ability.
The Hub has seven different zones which have different purposes and features to suit many different learning and teaching situations and to provide differentiated support for all students.
Zone 1: This space is designed for small, targeted teaching groups for both intervention and enrichment purposes.
Zone 2: The Collaborative Space has been designed for individual and small group work. Students can choose to work in the Hub as an alternative space to complete individual classwork or assessments or use our white board tables and collaborative desks to help with group tasks.
Zone 3: The Glasshouse – this zone is dedicated to social and emotional learning. It has many resources that can be used to assist individuals and small groups with Social and Emotional skills.
Zone 4: The ‘Take-a-Break’ Zone. A Hub Break in the ‘Take-a-Break’ zone is a proactive strategy that was implemented into our school over four years ago and it has been successfully embedded in our well-being practices and classroom routines to ensure that students feel safe, engaged, supported and that their wellbeing is paramount for successful learning. Having a Hub Break or ‘re-setting our brain’ - is a very normal part of our Fatima day.
Zone 5: Our Quiet working space, is our smallest zone and caters for students who need their own personalised learning space during the school day to reset and engage in learning tasks.
Zone 6: The ‘Sensory Room’ is a safe, calm and very quiet space that is filled with sensory tools including a sensory wall and soft lighting to aid students when they are feeling overwhelmed and escalated.
Zone 7: Our Counselling space. Our Lady of Fatima has a full time Counsellor, Mrs. Amy Janssen. Her room is our 7th zone in the Hub and is a warm, inviting and friendly space that students use during counselling sessions or for student wellbeing check ins during the day.
The Hub offers a variety of wellbeing and academic support programs for our students including:
Wellbeing sessions with our own school counsellor available every day for individual and group therapies including art therapy.
Seasons for Growth and Change Program
Resilience and friendship programs such as Berry St, MPower, Rock and Water and the You Can Do It program.
Transition to learning programs.
School transition and readiness.
The SCOPE Fine motor skills program.
Literacy and maths intervention both in small groups and for one-on-one support
Senior group collaborative space and alternative learning space.
Enrichment programs across the curriculum
The Hub is staffed every day. Students may arrive with a hub pass from the classroom teacher, be accompanied by support staff or arrive with their group or class teacher for a scheduled lesson.
The Hub has become a real asset in our school, highly valued by staff and students alike.
Seeing the World Through a Different Lens
The Visual Arts program at Our Lady of Fatima is unique, creative and sustainable. It caters for the different needs and interests of our students, with activities designed to cater for all skill levels. It is an open ended program which encourages students use their imagination and creative ideas and to be supportive of their peers who are exploring new concepts, techniques or styles of Art.
Imagination and the creation of new ideas comes by being exposed to a range of cultural and historical skills, patterns, colour combinations and materials. At Our Lady of Fatima units of work are supported by the unique and exciting ‘hands on’ experience of themed, cultural or historical items, artworks and textiles. The real life exploration is enhanced by images on personal devices, the class interactive board and collaborative sharing of ideas.
An artistic adventure needs to be supported by a range of materials, tools and equipment. To maximise students’ knowledge and understanding of how to manipulate, join and be creative in their use of shape, colour and texture the program supplements traditionally purchased materials with a wide range of recycled materials. We are proudly sustainable with materials not only being sourced from the community but they are also upcycled or reconfigured to make new shapes, textures or sizes for students to explore. These materials greatly enhance our program as they encourage students to see great, artistic value in recycling, not just sustainable practise.
The program is based on the Victorian Curriculum and covers all skill requirements in themed, cultural or historical units of study. Whilst a range of cultures are investigated and explored there is a strong focus on art from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. We look at their varied art forms from a range of regions in Australia and explore traditional and modern interpretations of colour, pattern, symbols and stories. We also link to our LOTE program and sister school in Lombok by investigating, animals, patterns and cultural stories from Indonesia.
A program is only as good as its outcome and at Our Lady of Fatima we are proud of a tradition of encouraging our students to be brave and creative thinkers who have the skill set to use a range of materials and tools. We look to the future and how our students will work in global community. They will need to share ideas, have the ability to collaborate with a range of people and be flexible thinkers to solve problems that we are not yet aware of. Through Its Visual Arts Program, Our Lady of Fatima encourages its students to be sustainable, creative, collaborative, outward looking, embracing of new ideas and proactive members of their school and wider communities.
Healthy body, Healthy Mind, Healthy Heart
Our Lady of Fatima provides a Physical Education program for every student in the school. The Physical Education program is designed to provide students with a wide range of physical and sporting experiences from the teaching of Fundamental Movement Skills in the early years, to Beach awareness programs in the Senior years.
All students at Our Lady of Fatima participate in a one hour PE (Physical Education) session per week, with our Year 5-6 students also partaking in one hour of Senior Sport per week. Apart from the benefits of having happy, physically and mentally healthy and active students, there are also the opportunities for our students to develop resilience and the skills required to be a valued team member.
Each lesson or activity is based around these core principles;
Always take into account safety for yourself and others
Always try your best
Encourage & cooperate
Respect everyone including players, umpires and coaches
Respect school sport equipment at all times.
Our specialist Physical Education teacher, Mr Dan Koole leads skill based Physical Education programs with Prep - Year 6 children each week. Students in the early years learn and practice the Fundamental Movement Skills of running, hopping, jumping, skipping, catching, throwing, kicking, punting and balancing. Year 3 and Year 4 students continue to develop these skills and begin to integrate them into more complex and coordinated movement sequences. Senior students begin to develop Specialised Movement Sequences and are given opportunities to use these skills in modified games and sports.
The game skills which are developed over each year of the PE program lead up to our Year 5 and 6 students participating in Inter-school Sport Lightning Premiership days. The Year 5 and 6 students represent Our Lady of Fatima in the Phillip District Summer and Winter Lightning Premiership in a chosen sport.
Our Lady of Fatima conducts the following Sporting events each year;
Swimming Carnival (February)
Cross Country (May)
School Sports Day (August)
Selected students in Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6 have the opportunity to represent the school in the above mentioned events at an SSV (School Sporting Victoria) District level.
STEM - Outdoor Learning Space
Nurturing through Nature, Food for Life
The community garden enables sustainable design technologies education to guide outdoor learning and support Food technology. Design principles, creativity and innovation are always at play in our glorious outdoor learning space. We utilise the talents of all students to contribute to the garden master plan. We use the canteen kitchen work space to use food from the garden to cook and taste.
At OLOF we believe in creating designers, future thinkers and innovators. All learning within spacious, green, ever- changing environments.
Our Community Garden is always in the process of planting, watering, mulching, harvesting, preparing beds for new growth and of course cooking using our produce. Our chickens lay an egg per day so we are always collecting. Our gardening program also has strong links to our sustainability practices throughout the school.
We have a passionate gardener who teaches us the skills we need to be able to grow our own food and use it to create delicious meals.
STEM - Indoor Learning Space
Innovating and Collaborating Together
Our innovative new learning space is big, bright and set up for designing through science, technology, engineering and mathematics in an interdisciplinary and applied approach to extend capabilities to all learning spaces.
The term “design thinking” is often attached to maker spaces and STEM labs. However, design thinking is bigger than STEM. It begins with the premise of tapping into student curiosity and allowing them to create, test and re-create until they eventually ship what they made to a real audience (sometimes global but often local). Design thinking isn’t a subject or a topic or a class. It’s more of a way of solving problems that encourages risk-taking and creativity. We use John Spencer's Launch cycle to engage and excite and plan for creative inquiry.
Reading, Collaborating and Opening up the World Through Books
Our library is a bright and colourful learning space and resource centre which supports learning and teaching. It also supports and encourages students’ reading experiences. Students attend the library to borrow regularly and juniors have learning sessions with our school Librarian. Our library collection is extensive.
Languages other than English
Indonesian - A Co-Learning Model
The ability to use and understand another language is important in society today. The Indonesian program at OLOF is a co-learning model. Both students and teachers are provided with the opportunity to discover the Indonesian language and culture through different experiences and perspectives. The language program is designed to extend teacher and student ability to communicate and understand the role of language and culture in a modern global context.
Our co-learner program goals:
The Indonesian program should be rich in language opportunities.
Students develop an understanding of the cultural contexts, when learning the language, as well as the shared meanings, values and practices of the community as embodied in that language.
Students learn to communicate in the language for many purposes and contexts.
Students and teachers develop the language using an oral language focus with gestures to assist in understanding.
The fostering of a relationship with our Indonesian sister schools In Indonesia as well as St Joseph’s Crib Point are valued and facilitated whenever possible.
Nothing About Them Without Them!
"What does the lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8
Student Voice underpins every aspect of learning at Our Lady of Fatima. We are guided by the MACS Student Voice Statement. Our Lady of Fatima recognises that student voice is a critical element of student engagement, where young people’s opinions and unique perspectives are heard and valued as a key element in the learning and teaching process. Through student voice we recognise and embrace students’ unique perspectives and encourage action.
Student leaders are leaders of community, Christianity, The Arts, Sportsmanship and Student ship, co-designing their learning with their teachers and their peers. Our students are coached to lead many important days such as ANZAC Day, World Teachers' Day, Harmony Day activities, Footy Day, coordinating volunteering and fundraising for many organisations we support. Working with the Student Voice Teacher Leader, this team seeks to keep strengthening student voice and agency in learning at OLOF. Agency refers to children’s initiative, decision-making and self-choice in work or play.