Our modern, open classrooms and flexible learning spaces allow for a student-centred environment, where collaboration is key. Students can work in a variety of spaces one-on-one, in small groups or as a whole class, as well as with different groups of their peers. As classroom teachers work closely with the other teachers in their year level, students have opportunities to work with a wide range of teachers and students across the year – not just students in their immediate homeroom. Students can directly observe teachers working together, modelling deep, critical, and creative thinking strategies, and demonstrating professional collaboration through various team-teaching models and approaches.
Collaboration is not just a learning tool in the classroom for students. We recognise that students learn more when their teachers work together. Teaching staff at Northcote are all members of a Professional Learning Community (PLC) where they collectively focus on individual student learning. Our teachers work together within their year level teaching teams, as well as across levels, to support every student and their needs. Teachers share accountability for maximising student learning through continually evaluating and refining their practice. Dedicated time and space is allocated for teachers to collect data and evidence, discuss student growth and achievement, and to plan differentiated lessons and responsive teaching strategies that cater for their cohort of students.
Teachers use the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO) Improvement Cycle to continuously monitor and evaluate the impact of their teaching, as a review of the curriculum and content and the effectiveness of teaching strategies to make the necessary adjustments for individual student engagement and ongoing student learning.
As per Department policy, Northcote Primary School will provide two written reports to parents/guardians each year directly against the Victorian Curriculum F-6 Achievement Standards.
Semester reports will be uploaded to Compass at the end of Term 2 and Term 4 for parents/carers. These reports will show students’ academic achievement and progress against the Victorian Curriculum in the different learning areas and capabilities that have been part of the teaching and learning program for that semester.
Every year level will report against all strands of English and Mathematics each semester. A two-year cycle has been developed that aligns with our Inquiry units for the reporting of all other areas of the curriculum.
We work in partnership with parents regarding their children’s learning and wellbeing progress and how we can best support this.
At Northcote PS we schedule two formal rounds of parent teacher conferences each year.
Early Term 1 – An opportunity for parents and teachers to develop a partnership and learn more about the child through discussion.
Late Term 2 or early Term 3 – Review the child’s progress, achievements, and future learning goals.
Of course, these are not the only times you might communicate with your child’s teachers – this may also occur outside the formal reporting structure when required.
At Northcote Primary School, we take a differentiated approach to literacy instruction that relies on teachers knowing each of their students, how they learn, and what to do to enable all students to improve and strengthen their skills and knowledge. Teachers work, plan, assess and monitor student learning in a collaborative environment which allows students to be supported and extended to meet learning outcomes in a variety of different ways.
Literacy instruction is embedded across all areas of the curriculum. This ensures student engagement and literacy outcomes are achieved organically and purposefully. Focused programmes for phonics and explicit applications are integrated into classroom programs, to enable students to make connections with their learning.
In Foundation - Year Two, digital technologies (such as iPads) are used as a tool to support and link literacy instruction. In Years Three - Six, students use iPads and laptops to broaden their literacy skills whilst strengthening their computer and word processing experiences.
A synthetic phonics-based teaching approach from Foundation - Year Two provides students with solid letter/sound knowledge which gives students the knowledge and skills to decode words and read texts. Students are then supported to build their ability to comprehend concepts and themes in the texts that they read through explicit structured activities and group work. Throughout all year levels, the teaching of reading is differentiated to meet each student’s needs and to support fluency and deeper understanding of texts.
Students apply their phonics knowledge of letters and sounds to segment words and create written texts. Our writing sessions cover a variety of text types and skills as we develop this notion of students as writers. This enables students to understand the similarities and differences in language, structure, and content for specific purposes. Students are encouraged to express themselves creatively to write texts based on their own interests and experiences.
Students strengthen their verbal communication skills when exploring, reflecting, and presenting their understandings of what they read to help make connections with their own experiences. They develop their confidence when speaking aloud in more formal settings – such as whole-school assemblies.
In the upper year levels, there are opportunities to speak in a more public setting, such as giving speeches and oral presentations.
Students learn the skills to communicate effectively, whether it be written or verbal and demonstrate their understanding, with the support and encouragement of our dedicated teaching staff.
Our approach to teaching Numeracy at Northcote is based on the Victorian Curriculum areas of Number & Algebra, Measurement & Geometry and Statistics & Probability. The implementation of a concept-based approach to the teaching and learning of mathematics empowers our students to make connections between ideas, facts, and processes. This works to encourage flexible thinking, problem solving and risk taking when working mathematically.
Through our personalised program, students take ownership of their learning as they inquire into the number system and its operations, patterns, and functions. Goals are set in partnership with the teacher and strategies and methods for developing student understanding forms the basis of learning in class. Focus groups are key to developing these strategies and for helping the student make further connections with teacher support and guidance.
We deliver lessons that support student learning and independence by applying a focus on the Mathematics Proficiencies of understanding, fluency, problem-solving and reasoning. We create hands-on opportunities for students to manipulate and demonstrate their understanding of what they are learning.
The aim is to make our Mathematics program enjoyable and relevant to our students interests and capabilities, by providing them with tools and strategies for inquiring into the goals they are aspiring to achieve. Students are encouraged to connect their learning of skills and concepts to real-life, everyday situations. We use digital technology to enhance student engagement in Mathematics learning and support them to consolidate their understanding.
Students at Northcote engage in Mathematics learning through group tasks and investigations, individual tasks that are differentiated and based on each students’ level of understanding. All students are supported to explain and justify their understanding with teachers and peers.
All students participate in a weekly specialist Physical Education program. In the Junior Years, students learn fundamental movement skills which are the building blocks of every sport, while in the Senior Years, students start to look at the sports themselves; learning the rules and strategies required to be successful, with the aim of developing happy, healthy, and active students.
Aligned with the Victorian Curriculum, every class also participates in a swimming program each year. Students go to a local pool and complete developmentally appropriate lessons.
We have an annual House Athletics Day where students are encouraged to have a go. The Junior School students compete in various tabloid games designed for fun and inclusiveness. The Senior School students, while also being fun and inclusive, start to compete in traditional track and field events. It is a very colourful day with everyone dressing up in their House colours and having a lot of fun!
From years 3 - 6, students also have the opportunity to compete in various District Events against local schools and can progress all the way to the State Level. 5/6 students participate in a weekly summer and winter interschool sports competition. This helps them to gain valuable teamwork experience and provides students with the opportunity to experience interacting with other students and other leaders in the community.
At Northcote Primary School students actively participate in a sequential music program where they explore the elements of music. During their weekly lessons students have opportunities to connect with music through regular singing, music games, experimentation with instruments, composition and using music technology. Students develop and practise technical music making knowledge and skills with a focus on beat, rhythm, pitch, melody, dynamics, and tempo. Students are encouraged to apply their knowledge and skills to compose and experiment with musical ideas and expression.
We have an incredible music making space next to the school hall where students have opportunities to move and make music with their voices, a range of tuned and untuned percussion instruments and everyone's favouroite the Boomwhackers.
Keep an eye out for our bi-annual whole school production where all students are involved in singing, dance, and drama to put on an incredible show for the wider school community. Many students also opt to be involved in the creation of the event, participating in script writing, technical support and even prop making.
The Art Program at Northcote Primary School encourages students to be curious and creative inside and outside the classroom. We enable students to experiment with different materials and processes, inspired by each other and artists around us. Each unit begins by analysing one or two artists before planning and creating artwork in the lessons. Students express their learning through painting, sculpting, printing, collaging, sewing, and drawing.
We are fortunate to have a large and well-resourced art room - we even own a pottery kiln for students' clay creation! The art teacher is a painter and has a drive to create art - and is inspired daily by the creations the students produce. Northcote Primary School welcomes local artists into our school to give our students the opportunity to learn how artists create in the community.
At the end of each even year, the whole school hosts the Northcote Primary School Art Show. This is an event showcasing all the incredible processes and final pieces the students have created over the years. Everyone is welcome.
The performing arts curriculum is experienced in the classroom and through a whole school production which is run every second year.
At Northcote, all students learn Italian, where they discover what it means to be Italian and its culture. Northcote Primary School strives to deliver authentic and meaningful language learning experiences, engaging in the culture embedded within the language.
We aim to inspire an interest in the Italian speaking culture, people, and places, by providing skills that will endure and encourage our students to continue with a lifelong love for learning languages and respect for other cultures.
We recognise that learning a language can enrich personal development and facilitate international and global mindedness. Students at Northcote are encouraged to participate in Italian through speaking, listening, singing, writing, reading, and using audio-visual resources. Italian is taught once a week from Preps to Year 6.
Sessions follow our Instructional Model where students are given opportunities to use Italian language in conversations, explore Italian language concepts based on the students’ own passions and interests as they work through a guided continuum according to their own point of need at any given time.
Every second year, Italian Day is held for students to extend their knowledge of the Italian language through its culture. Students are also encouraged to participate in the Dante Alighieri Poster competition.
The Northcote Primary School Library is a hub for students to really develop a love for books. Students are encouraged to regularly use the library as a resource for browsing, borrowing and of course, for reading. Students are encouraged to borrow books of interest that they can read by themselves, books that can be read to them and books to be shared with others.
The library is staffed by the most beautiful library technician three days a week, who tends to our collection of books and ensures that we have the latest release as soon as it comes out. We are fortunate to have a very well-resourced library with a huge variety of picture story books, novels, popular series and graphic novels. Our library is also home to a diverse mix of fiction and non-fiction texts to appeal to the wide range of student interests here at Northcote.
Classes are scheduled into the library each week with their teacher and these sessions are used for research in connection with their learning programme, or just as a space where quality literature can be enjoyed whilst nestled on top of a cosy cushion.
The library is open at lunch times as a lunch club for students to browse and read, or to use as a calm and quiet space to relax and enjoy. The library also becomes a focal point at various times throughout the year and celebrates student literacy with Book Week, the occasional Book Fair, or the Premiers Reading Challenge.
Books can be found everywhere at our school, and on top of the library collection, we are lucky to have extensive classroom libraries that allow students to have books at their fingertips in the classrooms.
At Northcote Primary School, our focus is to provide tools and resources to the 21st-Century Learner. Students have access to laptops and iPads within their classrooms, with Hover Cams and digital cameras also available for use in each classroom. Each Learning Space also has access to an interactive whiteboard or tv screen to support learning and engagement.
Students are taught how to be responsible digital citizens, practice touch typing, explore how to research using the internet and evaluate sources and basic computer skills. Critical literacy skills are important and older students spend time analysing information for accuracy and reliability. Basic Word, Excel and document management skills are also taught to students as they progress through the school. ?The Prep to Year 2 classrooms have access to banks of iPads so that small skills-focussed workshops can teach the basic computer skills required for students to effectively use this technology.
We are currently part way through our BYOD implementation and the program will, in the coming years, be available to all students in Grades 3 to 6. A successful BYOD program requires technology to be seamlessly integrated throughout the school’s curriculum.
The individual use of personal devices is a way to empower students to work to their full potential and develop essential learning habits with the support of digital tools.
Our students are lucky to enjoy an annual school camp designed to enhance the educational, social, and emotional learning they are undertaking at school. The children engage in a range of fun and challenging individual and group activities to encourage their independence and teamwork. School camps are a chance for students from Year 1 to Year 6 to explore the world around them. Years 1 and 2 attend an overnight camp to build their confidence in the camping program. Year 3 and 4 students enjoy a two-night camp, and Year 5 and 6 students experience a three-night adventure that alternates between locations.
Excursions are also held throughout the year for each year level, where students can leave the school for a curriculum-related activity. Various incursions are held throughout the year, where special guests attend to run a program or session with students and their teachers. Incursions and excursions are usually aligned to the inquiry unit that the students are exploring. For example, an inquiry on community may see the children take an excursion to the CBD, an inquiry on light means we may end up at Scienceworks, and an inquiry on living things may see us on a trip to the Zoo or Healesville Sanctuary.
All students undertake tasks at home each week. Generally, home learning tasks relate to the skills, knowledge, processes, and understandings that are the current learning focus at school and are developmentally appropriate for each year level. They do not require new learning; students are required to practise skills learnt in class. Home learning complements and reinforces classroom learning, fosters good lifelong study habits, and provides an opportunity for students to further develop responsibility for their own learning. This ranges from nightly reading in Foundation, to Monthly Projects in Grades 5 and 6.