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Key Learning Areas

Religious Education

As a Catholic school we work in partnership with our families and parish in the faith development of our students. Our motto, ‘In Christ we live, love and learn’ provides a particular focus for all we do and is the inspiration for our work in Religious Education.

Our formal Religious Education program is based on the diocesan Religious Education curriculum ‘Sharing Our Story’. The parish sacramental program is supported by classroom activities. Our aim is to provide a sound knowledge and understanding of our Catholic faith.

We nurture the spiritual development of Holy Family students by providing class prayer and school liturgies which offer them opportunities to express their faith and celebrate it together. Our parish priest welcomes and encourages the participation of the students in liturgical worship.

Holy Family’s school community supports a variety of social justice initiatives, supporting the missionary activity of the Catholic Church through raising awareness of the activities and fundraising to support organisations e.g. Caritas’ Project Compassion, Catholic Mission and St Vincent De Paul.

Celebration of life experiences and special events are conducted through class liturgies and/or Masses celebrated in the parish church of Holy Family, and regular liturgies are also celebrated in the school hall.

Whole school Masses open and close each year, with significant events in the life of the school or parish also being celebrated in this way. At Holy Family Primary, First Reconciliation & Eucharist are parish-based Sacraments and these programs are supported by units of work covered at school. The Sacrament of Confirmation is a school-based program supported by the parish.


This Key Learning Area is one of the most important aspects of Holy Family's curriculum as reading, writing, speaking and listening form the basis of learning in all aspects of schooling.

Teachers plan, implement and evaluate class programs in conjunction with their stage partners. This is usually organised through a range of activities such as themes, particular stories, forms of text or authors. We believe English is best taught and learnt through meaningful experiences integrated into the curriculum.

Literacy at Holy Family is an exciting and stimulating time. It is incorporated into the school timetable for a block session. The daily literacy sessions include opportunities for the children to engage in talking, listening, reading and writing activities in a series of whole class, small group, pair and individual experiences.

Guided Reading

This approach is one which enables a teacher and a group of children to talk, read and think their way purposefully through a text. It allows students to become fluent, independent readers. The teacher observes and supports each child, and their progress is monitored according to their individual progress.

Reader's Circle

This is the next stage after Guided Reading. The children who participate in Reader’s Circle are fluent, independent readers. In these sessions, texts range from harder picture books to novels. The children critically read their way through the text and share their responses about the text and the author’s message. The essence of Reader’s Circle is that all children contribute to the discussion through their written responses and the discussion of these responses.

Reciprocal Reading

This reading approach is where dialogue between the teacher and children is used to develop the comprehension strategies of predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarising. Information texts, newspapers and magazines are used in this type of reading session.


Modelled, guided and independent writing are the steps, which explicitly teaches the skills of drafting, revising, conferencing, editing, proofreading and publishing a text. Producing texts also includes the development of computer skills used in the production of text, graphics and multi-media presentations.

Literacy is a dynamic component of the school day at Holy Family. The classroom is an active environment, which enables each individual to succeed.


Our mathematical communities are dynamic places of learning where Mathematics is seen as being specific to life. Children are given the opportunity to investigate, explore and manipulate both concrete materials and abstract ideas through open-ended tasks. The process of their learning is expressed orally, pictorially and symbolically. Reflective practice plays a significant part in all the school’s curriculum areas. In Mathematics the children articulate their thinking and reasoning, enabling deeper conceptual understandings. This allows them to learn to apply understanding and skills to other areas.

Mathematics at Holy Family is based on the ReaL Maths process (Reflection, Empowerment and Learning), EMU Program (Extended Mathematical Understanding) and each are linked to the 2002 Mathematics K-6 Syllabus. Through reflection, empowerment and learning, the emphasis is on mental computations, open-ended tasks, problem solving and investigations. This, coupled with reflection on practice and experiences, challenges our children to become lifelong learners in Mathematics.

Human Society and It's Environment (HSIE)

The aim of Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE) is to develop in students the values and attitudes, skills, and knowledge and understandings that:

  • enhance their sense of personal, community, national and global identity, and
  • enable them to participate effectively in maintaining and improving the quality of their society and environment.

Learning in HSIE involves sharing ideas and working co-operatively in groups. Many opportunities are made for the students to work together, enabling them to better understand the diverse nature of people in the classroom, school, broader community and the world. Students in K-6 participate in lessons where they learn about change and continuity; culture; the environment; and social systems and structures. Skills are taught in acquiring information; using the inquiry process, and social and civic participation.

Science and Technology

Science & Technology is the area through which all students learn about the natural and made environment by investigating, by design and make, and by using technology. Due to the rapidly changing nature of development in the science area, the outcome of Science Education is to provide students with the processes and skills required to access knowledge. Science Education assists students to understand themselves and the environment, and provides opportunities for them to develop independent rational thought and responsible action. Students in K-6 participate in lessons where emphasis is placed on first-hand experiences, investigation, design & make, problem solving, and clarifying understandings.

Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE)

The aim of the Personal Development, Health and Physical Education curriculum is to develop in each student the knowledge and understanding, skills, and values and attitudes needed to lead healthy, active and fulfilling lives. This syllabus is directly concerned with supporting the development of the student as a whole person. Learning in PDHPE extends beyond the planned classroom lesson and is reinforced by the Pastoral Care Program, the School Health Canteen, Sharing Our Story (Religious Education Program) and other ‘Health–Promoting’ activities.

Holy Family provides intensive Gymnastic lessons taught by trained and qualified gym instructors. The program runs for 10 weeks with a 70 minute lesson each week.

PDHPE is an important Key Learning Area as it:

  • encourages an understanding and valuing of self and others
  • promotes physical activity
  • emphasises informed decision-making, leading to effective and responsible action.

Creative Arts

The Creative Arts Syllabus is made up of three components - Music, Visual Arts, Dance & Drama.


Music plays an integral part in the life of Holy Family. It enhances the prayer life of the community; it is a source of entertainment at events such as school assemblies, discos and end-of-year functions; and it provides students with an opportunity for meaningful self-expression. At Holy Family, music is taught in accordance with the guidelines as set out in the NSW Creative Arts K-6 Syllabus. Each student participates in formal music lessons within their classroom. Year 5 & 6 students also receive band lessons using woodwind, brass and percussion instruments provided by the school.

Music is also integrated into other key learning areas throughout the school day. Part of our music program involves performances by professional musicians such as the Musica Viva In Schools program. Students at Holy Family have the opportunity to participate in talent quests, the Junior Rock Eisteddfod and in the Diocesan Creative Arts Expo.

Visual Arts

The children at Holy Family are fortunate in that their artistic talents are expressed, fostered and valued. Each class is given the opportunity to participate in Visual Arts lessons. During these sessions the learning experiences are adapted to school or class contexts, paying close attention to the needs of individual students. The children are exposed to a variety of Art-making techniques, which include drawing, painting, colouring, and paper craft.

Drama & Dance

The Drama & Dance Program is designed in accordance with the NSW Creative Arts K-6 Syllabus. This document organises dramatic and movement skills and understanding, into the areas of Creating, Performing and Appreciating. Students from K-6 participate in lessons that explore many aspects of dramatic experiences including mime, improvisation and movement. Lessons incorporate specific skill teaching and performance opportunities. Students move from the familiar, such as Nursery Rhymes and traditional stories, through to abstract experience in the creation of their work. Students are encouraged to develop and extend their skills both individually and in groups, and respond constructively to others.

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