Curriculum at Macquarie Primary
Creativity and curiosity are nurtured at Macquarie Primary School, and inquiry is the basis of our learning approach. The inquiries that our students pursue draw from the disciplines of Science, Humanities & Social Sciences, Technologies and the Arts.
As part of our inquiry approach, we have created a curriculum map that allows us to organise curriculum areas into units that develop our learners' inquiry skills as they engage with the Australian curriculum.
The Curriculum Map
Each inquiry at Macquarie develops student capacities to:
- manage themselves as people and as learners
- understand the world in which they live
- participate effectively in that world
…so that they can become lifelong learners, build strong communities, and build a future that is innovative and sustainable.
(Aligning with the work of Kath Murdoch – Linking Learning through integrated inquiry 2010)
Integrated Inquiry Curriculum for Kindergarten to Year 6. Inquiries are described using:
- Big Understandings
- Rich Concepts, and
- Key Questions to prompt and further define inquiries.
Cross Curriculum Priorities
At Macquarie we value these key perspectives that run through the Australian curriculum. They inform and enrich our planning, resourcing and teaching.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
- Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia
Literacy is the ability to read, write, speak and listen to language in a way that allows people to communicate with each other and to make sense of the world. To be literate students also need to be able to think critically in order to understand written, visual and technology based information.
Literacy lessons involve direct instruction in reading, writing, speaking, listening and viewing. Students participate in daily literacy learning experiences to build their skills and knowledge.
Literacy competence is central to achievement in all areas of learning and remains a priority for all students as they progress through school.
Reading and Home Reading Program
Learning to read is an important life skill and developing a love of reading is a wonderful way to learn about the world, the past, other ways of being, doing and thinking. One of the things we hold dear at Macquarie is developing a love of reading in our students. In junior primary (preschool to year 2), teachers explicitly teach reading strategies to students, model fluent reading, and provide guided and independent practice. We encourage students and families to engage with a variety of books, and we know that little people often develop favourites that they like to read, reread and read again. This is all part of the reading process. We encourage families to read together and parents to read with their children as often as possible. Reading together is a wonderful opportunity to unpack a book, for children to hear what a fluent reader sounds like, and for families to connect with some of their children’s daily learning. There are no wrong ways to read together. Here are a few tips:
- the reader holds the book
- use the pictures to help you
- use the three Ps – pause (give learning readers ten seconds to think), prompt (it’s not a test) and praise (‘I like the way you used the picture as a cue to find the word’).
If you read for ten minutes every day, by the time your child has finished year 2 they will have heard over 485 hours of reading!
Home reading program: Our home reading program enables students in kindergarten to year 2 to take easy texts home for further practice. These books are designed to assist early readers practise the strategies they have learnt at school, however home reading isn’t limited to these texts. Teachers will inform parents about the organisation of the program early in the year.
Kindergarten to year 6 homework may include specific reading tasks.
Library: The school assists families to build this habit by providing students and families with library borrowing times throughout the week. The library also provides access to eBooks and eAudiobooks via the Oliver online library catalogue. Use the Digital Backpack to access the online catalogue. Students will need their student login details (account name and password). Please contact the front office if your child requires assistance accessing their account.
‘Helping your beginner reader’ information sessions are held at the start of each year to support families of emergent readers.
Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge: Every year the ACT Chief Minister puts out a challenge to ACT students to read a number of books in a set time period. Our school participates in the challenge, and students are encouraged to read 30 books between May and September. Class teachers keep the recording forms in the classrooms for students to fill in, and families are welcome to add to this form any books that children read at home.
Class libraries: Each classroom has a selection of teacher chosen and student chosen books for students to read throughout the day in the classroom. These are refreshed regularly.
Numeracy helps us use mathematics effectively to meet the general demands of day to day life. It also helps us to learn and make sense of the world.
This involves teaching all students in the areas of
- Number and Algebra
- Measurement and Geometry
- Statistics and Probability
- Understanding, Fluency, Problem Solving and Reasoning
Mathematics teaching is targeted towards the specific needs of the students. Our programs are aligned with the Australian curriculum and teachers use a variety of resources to support student learning, such as Count Me In Too, Middle Years Mental Computation and Stepping Stones - an interactive numeracy program.
The ACT Instrumental Music Program offers a band program for students in years 5 and 6 and private tutoring is available at the school for students interested in learning string instruments.
We deliver a whole child approach to PE drawing on the disciplines of fundamental movement skills, modified games and dynamic and core movement. Children are encouraged to be reflective about how they move independently, with a partner, and within their environment.
At Macquarie Primary School, a specialist language teacher delivers a weekly hour-long French language session to students in years 3-6. This program consists of learning vocabulary to build basic communication in French with peers, understanding the language, culture and develop an intercultural capability of the world around them. Learning French supports our students’ understanding of English as French is closely related to English due to the shared influence of Latin. French was the official language of the English court, administration and culture for 300 years after the Norman Conquest in the eleventh century and this has resulted in many similarities including our grammatical systems and alphabet. This involvement with French contributed significantly to developing the English language. There are more than 1,700 words that are used in both languages (for example: chauffeur, menu, omelette, boutique, danger, chic, saint, magazine, tact). In this sense, French is already partly familiar to English-speaking learners.
Students in our early years are part of a Federal Government pilot program where French language learning is undertaken through the use of play-based Apps using an iPad. This trial lasts for 3 years.