At Erasmus Primary School we recognise that learning to speak, read and write well is one of the essential aspects of a fine primary education. The literature and texts provided at the primary stage also act as a treasure trove of ideas for the imagination that can be enjoyed and drawn upon in later development.
We place emphasis on learning the basic facts and conventions of English and use the finest literature and texts available. We believe the works of Shakespeare and other great writers can be accessible to children and offer a unique opportunity to keep company with great ideas and virtues and to experience the range of human emotion.
Students develop their reading and writing skills using phonic (sound) patterns, sight words and spelling patterns. They follow a progressive reading scheme both at school and home. Early emphasis on the development of fine motor skills necessary for writing is followed by a systematic introduction to the New South Wales Foundation hand. (This hand was chosen because it retains a distinct print script that is used as the basis for a clear and attractive cursive script.) Writing is practised regularly in an atmosphere that encourages careful attention and enjoyment. A methodical study of English grammar is introduced in Year 2 and written expression is encouraged which is precise, ordered and beautiful.
Students develop their speaking and listening skills through class discussion, dramatic role-play and spoken presentations. They learn inspiring works by heart and recite them for others in small groups and larger audiences.
The Erasmus English Curriculum is based on the Australian Curriculum which sets out the sequence of learning across the years of schooling. Teachers use the Australian Curriculum to develop teaching and learning programs that build on student’s current learning. It enables teachers to plan rigorous, relevant and engaging learning experiences for all students.
Erasmus Primary School follows the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics. We place additional emphasis on providing an appreciation of the beauty of mathematics and an introduction to traditional geometry.
We recognise that, in addition to its important practical uses, the study of mathematics reveals the wonderful order and pattern of the universe. Children naturally delight in the appreciation of simple mathematical laws, number and geometric and patterns and are encouraged to investigate mathematics in the natural and man-made world.
Tables and basic number facts are learned by heart in the first few years at school. Concise principles, rules and techniques are practised and revised so that the children can tackle routine problems confidently and without confusion. Understanding of key mathematical concepts is cultivated through hands-on learning activities. Problem solving skills are developed so students can learn how to approach and solve problems in unfamiliar situations. A good grasp of these basics in the early years provides a solid foundation for the study of more advanced mathematics in secondary school.
From Year 2 onwards, students also engage in the traditional study of Geometry, allowing them to experience the spontaneous beauty arising from geometrical order, as well as developing their skills in visual-spatial perception. We use the traditional tools of geometry: a compass and a straight edge. The children also learn fundamental principles or axioms of geometry. These can be observed in nature and be used as a starting point for geometric constructions.
In Years 4 to 6 there is more emphasis on the development of logical thought and mathematical reasoning. Students are required to explain their thinking and justify their methods and answers.
Cross Curricular Learning (An Inquiry Approach)
At Erasmus Primary School, we endeavour to develop the potential of our students to participate and contribute to their school, community and world around them. It is with this in mind, that we utilise an Inquiry-based learning approach to incorporate the cross curricular areas of Humanities and Social Sciences, Health and The Arts.
Inquiry-based learning encourages students to become investigative learners who have the ability to reflect on what they have learned and how they have been involved in the learning process. The very nature of Inquiry learning encourages students to extend their own thinking with open ended questions, scenarios and problems often engaging the use of higher order thinking skills.
The Inquiry Learning approach offers students a curriculum that is engaging, relevant, challenging and significant. This approach is used to plan and develop units of work in each year level P-6. The inquiry approach follows the set structure of; Tuning In, Finding Out, Sorting Out, Going Further, Drawing Conclusions and Reflecting and Acting. This structure leads students to actively pose questions, investigate, solve problems, and draw conclusions about the world around them.
Students inquire into and learn about local and global issues in the context of the units of inquiry, each of which addresses a particular theme. The students make connections and contributions, and deepen their understanding through the perspective of their personal and cultural experiences. The themes of each inquiry identify areas of shared human experience and have meaning for individuals from different cultures and ethnicities. These themes are common ground that unifies learning. Inquiry themes include;
Through the inquiry approach at Erasmus, we aim for our students to;
Our library supports the curriculum, information, research and recreational needs of the children. Our librarian carefully selects books to ensure content is congruent with the ethos of Erasmus Primary School.
We endeavour to foster a love of reading and good reading habits. Every class visits the library weekly to learn library and information skills appropriate to their level and the children engage proactively in selecting reading and research material. Young children are introduced to fiction and non-fiction books, they learn to select, borrow and return books and are encouraged to read two books most weeks. Older children learn how to access the online catalogue and use the Internet for individual and class project research. Parents are asked to monitor their child's use of books and assist with their reading and research skills at home as needed. Various computers, Internet access, audio-visual resources and an interactive whiteboard are incorporated into the learning area. The library is also open during lunchtime twice weekly to enable children to quietly read, play chess or borrow and return books.
All children are encouraged to participate in the annual Premier’s Reading Challenge and to share ideas about their favourite books with their teachers and other children.
The children enjoy celebrating Book Week every year. They dress up as a favourite character and there is a special assembly with literature recitations, perhaps a visiting author and novel writing activities during the week.