How we teach and support
Our entire teaching staff is dedicated to the detail and we want to ensure every child achieves to their own potential.
This means ensuring we have a robust system of teaching and support that not only caters to the average (or middle student) – but also the advanced student or the student that needs some extra support.
For learning to take place we need to ensure that every child feels safe, happy and confident within themselves – and so a huge emphasis is placed on a strong wellbeing and support program that achieves just that!
To extend high achieving students in different areas of the curriculum, we adopt a combination of differentiation in the classroom while offering a variety of extra-curricular opportunities and competitions.
Differentiation is a high impact teaching strategy used to craft lessons that provide the right amount of support and challenge for every student. Differentiated teaching occurs when a teacher plans a lesson that adjusts either the content being discussed, the process used to learn or the product expected from students to ensure that learners at different starting points can receive the instruction they need to grow and succeed.
Some of the extra-curricular extension opportunities and competitions we offer include:
- ICAS Competitions in conjunction with the UNSW
- Australian Problem Solving Mathematical Olympiads
- Science Talent Search
- Maths Talent Quest
- G.A.T.E.WAYS Programs
- Chess Classes and Competitions
- Rotary Public Speaking Competition.
Our Learning Diversity Leader co-ordinates the provision of additional support for students. This can take many forms, depending on the specific needs of each child. The reason/s why a student might require additional support can fall under four broad terms: sensory, cognitive, social–emotional and physical.
Some of the supports on offer at Our Holy Redeemer include:
- Learning Support Officers (LSOs) in the classroom or working with small ‘pull-out’ groups.
- Reading Recovery Program for Year 1 students.
- Levelled Literacy Intervention (LLI) program.
- Development of an Individual Learning Plan (ILP)
- Documentation of learning adjustments
- Regular Parent Support Group (PSG) Meetings with parents, teacher/s, LSOs, Learning Diversity Leader and other relevant individuals.
- On-site consultations with a child psychologist
In the 21st Century, being an effective communicator is essential. At Our Holy Redeemer students have extensive practice in speaking in front of large groups both in the classroom and at assemblies.
Our Holy Redeemer promotes public speaking and holds a whole school speech competition each year as well as participating in the local Rotary Primary Schools Speech Competition, which has been won by our students on a number of occasions.
Senior School students receive workshops with the Debating Association of Victoria (DAV) and then participate in a House Debating Competition which is supported by all students across the school.
From the early beginnings of Prep, the children are taught to stand in front of an audience where they speak into a microphone.
The Student Leadership Program at Our Holy Redeemer is highly valued by students, parents and staff alike. Whilst all senior school students are encouraged and supported to develop leadership skills, the Year Six students have the opportunity to take on formalised leadership roles. The primary leadership roles are School and Vice Captains, House Leaders and Portfolio Leaders. Portfolio Leaders work with an allocated staff member to lead a team of Year Five students in an area of the school. Portfolio areas include The Arts/Library, SRC/Social Justice and Sustainability. As Student Leaders, the students develop decision making skills, confidence, responsibility, interpersonal skills, organisation and teamwork.
Across all levels of the school students represent their classroom in fortnightly meetings of the School Parliament, which is fundamentally a student representative council.
Social & Emotional Learning
We have a whole school approach to Social and Emotional Learning using The Berry Street Education Model – Curriculum and Classroom Strategies. The areas of focus are Body, Relationships, Stamina, Engagement and Character. Teachers design weekly lessons in Social Emotional Learning
A Student Welfare Worker is funded by the Australian Government, under The National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program, and complements the care offered by the Student Wellbeing Department at Our Holy Redeemer School. The Student Welfare Program aims to assist our school community through the provision of help and care to support the spiritual, social and emotional wellbeing of students and the school community.
The Service aims to:
- provide students, their families and staff with support and or appropriate referrals, in difficult situations such as during times of grief or when students are facing personal or emotional challenges.
- support students and staff to create an environment which promotes the physical, emotional, social and intellectual development and wellbeing of all students.
- Support students and staff to create an environment of cooperation and mutual respect, while promoting an understanding of diversity.
The Student Welfare Service is available to every family within the school and offers one-on-one or group sessions with students, parents, staff and other members of the school community as required. The program is offered to the school community with the understanding that participation is always voluntary. No child is required to participate in the activities or sessions offered if they or their parents are unwilling for them to do so.
Specifically, the Student Welfare Worker:
- assists families facing personal and emotional challenges such as ‘Grief and Loss’ through death, divorce and separation, or loss of a pet
- mediates between children experiencing friendship issues, helping build self-esteem
- provides strategies for dealing with anger management and anxiety issues
- provides resources and support to parents dealing with ‘parenting issues’
- builds relationships with both children and their families, whether simply connecting through a phone call, or just being there to listen
- organises and provides meals and a support network to families, in times of personal crisis
- provides details of outside agencies to parents seeking specialised services
- presents staff with initiatives to promote Social Emotional Learning
- trains staff and parents in the principles of Restorative Practices
- builds networks with Shire groups e.g. SFYS (Student Focused Youth Services)
- consolidates partnerships with community groups, such as St Vincent de Paul
- possesses a working knowledge of Values Education in Australian Schools and integrates these into the fabric of the school culture
- possesses a working knowledge of the National Safe Schools Framework including Cybersafety, Drug Education and Mandatory Reporting and imparts this knowledge to staff, students, parents and the local community
- assists with the transition of children entering and leaving school and
- liaises between other schools.
At Our Holy Redeemer we have two staff trained by Wellbeing for Kids to administer the Peaceful Kids program. ‘Peaceful Kids’ is a Mindfulness and Positive Psychology based program to lessen anxiety and stress and increase resilience in children. The program gives children the skills, practice and support to utilise coping strategies that lessen the symptoms of anxiety and stress. This program helps children to build their emotional resilience so they are better equipped to deal with the day to day stresses that life brinth them. The program also involves parental involvement and commitment to supporting the strategies at home.
Peaceful Kids is run as an eight week program for a small group of students ranging from four to six participants. Sessions are for approximately one hour each week. The sessions include learning a range of mindfulness strategies and meditations, effective coping strategies and positive psychology exercises. Students learn a new meditation each week and then practice at home on a daily basis.
The Buddy Program is one of the many ways we help Foundation students settle into school, as well as promoting and developing leadership skills in our senior students.
Buddies meet regularly throughout the year to complete fun activities together. These activities include literacy, maths games and craft. The program has an extremely positive impact on both the Foundation and Grade 6 students. Our senior students look forward to having a prep buddy and are therefore motivated to be the best buddy for their prep friend. The program encourages sharing, listening, taking turns, helping and supporting one another in completing tasks. The Buddy system often gives students the opportunity to form strong bonds and lasting friendships.
The Buddy system is also in years 1/2 and years 3/4.
Kinder to Prep Transition
We pride ourselves on our successful transition program where we support our young students make the change from their pre-school setting into their new school environment. It all begins with our Family Enrolment Meeting where the Principal initially forms a relationship with the child. In the term prior to the children commencing school, the Prep teachers or Principal make a point of visiting each child in their pre-school setting. Throughout that term the school holds two transition afternoons and an orientation morning, which enables the children to spend time, and fill at ease, with the Prep teachers and other students that will be in their Foundation class. Sessions filled with games, songs and activities assist the children to feel comfortable and connected to their new surroundings. Towards the end of the transition program each child meets with their future Year 6 buddy.
Our transition program is also mindful of making the parents feel comfortable and connected to their new school surroundings. So while the children are engaged in the classrooms with their future teachers, the parents spend time with the Principal and other key members of staff learning about one another, the school and how to best look after themselves and their child during the period of transition.
We realise that the decision to move schools is an extremely difficult one for families. When families and the school agree that it is in the best interests of the child to enrol at Our Holy Redeemer, we sit down together to map out a transition program that best meets the needs of the child. The transition program can take a variety of forms. It may comprise the child attending school with their new class teacher over a period of mornings, progressively leading to a series of longer days. Some families, however, prefer to have the child attend a series of half days which progress to full days. Either way, we work collaboratively to support the child with this important change. The only regret expressed by some parents has been that they did not make the decision to move to Our Holy Redeemer sooner.
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