Student Learning

We are proud of the:

  • Broad range of exciting learning opportunities that are provided for all children at Malvern Valley Primary School.
  • High standard of achievement by the children.

The balanced and sequential curriculum we offer is comprehensive, challenging and innovative in its approach.

Being based on the Victorian Curriculum, it encompasses eight Learning Areas and four Capabilities. Learning Areas and Capabilities are both explicitly taught and have connections made between them when appropriate.

These Learning areas are: English, Mathematics, The Arts, Health and Physical Education, Science, Technologies, Languages and The Humanities (Civics & Citizenship, Economics & Business, Geography & History).

The four Capabilities are: Critical and Creative Thinking, Intercultural Capability, Ethical Capability and Personal and Social Capability.

The school’s Malvern Valley Way program provides the framework for our students’ interpersonal and personal development and is focused on each day in each classroom. The program focuses on the cornerstones of Teamwork, Restoring Harmony, Community and Personal Power.

More information

More information on the curriculum is available on the following pages and in the 2018 Parent Handbook, which you can download below.

Prep (Foundation)

Malvern Valley Primary School has two Prep classes. In addition to working on English and Mathematics, they work on inquiry based units that encompass these curriculum areas integrated with other curriculum areas.

Inquiry Units

All About Me

An inquiry into how communities function, relationships and families and friends.

Central Idea:
I am special and am shaped by my family and friends.

Key Questions:

  • What are some similarities and differences between myself and others?
  • What do families and friends look like?
  • Why are friends and families important?

In Motion

An inquiry into the scientific world & its laws, changes over time and technology

Central Idea:
Forces make objects move in different ways.

Key Questions:

  • What is motion?
  • What forces make things move?
  • How does shape affect movement?

Sharing the Planet

An inquiry into different places around the world (local and global geography).

Central Idea:
We are responsible for looking after our environment.

Key Questions:

  • What is our environment?
  • What makes a healthy environment?
  • What choices can we make to help the environment?
  • What action can we take now to help our classroom/school/wider environment?


An inquiry into finite & infinite resources, weather and environmental change.

Central Idea:
Humans and animals make their homes depending on their needs and environment.

Key Questions:

  • What are some different types of homes?
  • What materials are different homes made out of?
  • How does location affect our homes?
  • What other factors that impact upon the homes we make?

Buddy Program

The Preps are matched up with a Big buddy in the first week of the year. Having their own “Big Buddy” when they start school provides a sense of security and belonging for our newest students.

There are a number of activities organised for the Prep students and their buddies throughout the year, including lunches, morning teas, cross-age tutoring and weekly shared activity sessions.

Big buddies are very important as they assist the preps to settle in. A prep’s buddy is a support person in the yard and throughout the first year at school. Buddies become very special friends.

Grades 1 & 2

Malvern Valley Primary School has four Grade 1/2 classes. In addition to working on English and Mathematics, they work on inquiry based units that encompass these curriculum areas integrated with other curriculum areas.

The Grade 1/2’s Inquiry Units for 2017 are:


An inquiry into beliefs & values, community engagement, personal & local histories & families & friends.

Central Idea:
Our community believes and values different things and celebrates these in many ways.

Key Questions:

  • What are beliefs and values?
  • How do we show our beliefs and values?
  • How do we celebrate them?

Sounds Sensational

An inquiry into the scientific world & its laws, humans’ understanding of scientific principles, changes over time & technology

Central Idea:
Sound helps us in our lives

Key Questions:

  • What is sound?
  • How do we describe different types of sound?
  • How does sound work?


An inquiry into Indigenous Australian history, Australian history & homes & journeys

Central Idea:
Stories can be communicated in many different ways to pass on histories and traditions.

Key Questions:

  • Who are Australian Indigenous people?
  • Why do people tell stories?
  • How can people communicate their traditions and histories?
  • What can we learn about through viewing art, songs, stories and dance?

How Does Your Garden Grow?

An inquiry into the natural world, living things, humans’ rights & responsibilities, sustainable practise & weather

Central Idea:
All living things depend on each other in order to live.

Key Questions:

  • What are living things?
  • How do plants grow and survive?
  • How do we look after plants, and how do plants look after us?

Grades 3 & 4

Malvern Valley Primary School has three Grade 3/4 classes. In addition to working on English and Mathematics, they work on inquiry based units that encompass these curriculum areas integrated with other curriculum areas.

The Grade 3/4’s Inquiry Units for 2017 are:


An inquiry into community engagement & how communities function.

Central Idea:
Communities develop according to the needs, ideals and common interests

Key Questions:

  • How do communities function?
  • What drives communities to change?
  • What is my place in the community?
  • How do groups & individuals respond to the needs, ideals & common interests of a community?


An inquiry into the scientific world & its laws, humans’ understanding of scientific principles & the impact of scientific & technological advances

Central Idea:
Scientific processes and understandings have enabled developments throughout history.

Key Questions:

  • What is the scientific process?
  • How have materials and their uses changed over time?
  • What are the impacts of scientific discoveries?

First Contact

An inquiry into explorations, Indigenous Australian history & Australian History

Central Idea:
First contact between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples shaped Australia’s past.

Key Questions:

  • What prompted different cultural groups to explore the world?
  • What were Indigenous peoples’ first experiences with explorers and colonisers?
  • What are/were the impacts of settlement?

Environmental Change

An inquiry into the natural world, weather & environmental change.

Central Idea:
The natural world is fundamentally altered by both natural processes and human actions.

Key Questions:

  • What natural processes shaped the Australian environment before humans?
  • How have humans altered the Australian environment?
  • How do we respond to environmental change?

Grade 4 students participate in the Bike Education class throughout 1st and 2nd term.

They are also able to participate in Inter-school Athletics, Swimming and Cross Country with teams selected during our annual school carnivals.Big buddies are very important as they assist the preps to settle in. A prep’s buddy is a support person in the yard and throughout the first year at school. Buddies become very special friends.

Grades 5 & 6

Malvern Valley Primary School has two Grade 5/6 classes. In addition to working on English and Mathematics, they work on inquiry based units that encompass these curriculum areas integrated with other curriculum areas..

The Grade 5/6’s Inquiry Units for 2017 are:

Power of One

An inquiry into personal health & wellbeing, beliefs & values & relationships.

Central Idea:
Our identity and well-being is influenced by choices we make.

Key Questions:

  • How do we define our own identity?
  • What aspects of our identity and well-being do we have control over?
  • How do choices we make define us?

Scientists R Us

An inquiry into the scientific world & its laws & humans’ understanding of scientific principles

Central Idea:
Through observation and experimentation people make sense of the world around them

Key Questions:

  • What is the scientific process?
  • How do humans manipulate scientific principles?
  • How have our understandings of scientific principles impacted our everyday lives?

Build ’em Up

An inquiry into local and global geography & significant local & international events through time.

Central Idea:
People in a community design and build structures to meet their needs.

Key Questions:

  • How are man-made structures similar / different around the world?
  • How have natural geographical features and resources impact various structures?
  • How have natural resources impacted constructions?

Live & Let Live

An inquiry into the natural world, living things, humans’ rights & responsibilities, finite & infinite resources & sustainable practise

Central Idea:
Many changes in our living world are dependent on human actions.

Key Questions:

  • What makes up our living world?
  • How has our living world changed over time?
  • How can we as individuals impact the environment positively?
  • How has scientific knowledge impacted our living world?

The Senior School also participate in Interschool Sports:

  • Winter Sports – Soccer and Netball
  • Spring – Cricket, basketball and Softball

The Senior School students participate are also our school leaders and work in ‘portfolio groups’ that focus on Sustainability, Physical Engagement, Resources and Communication. Students develop leadership skills and are able to influence much of what happens in our school.

Each year the Grade 6s are involved in specialised programs which focus on getting ready for secondary school and includes practical as well as emotional support for the transition. In the past some of the programs include Reach Rookies, Grade 6 club, NIDA Week, Stonnington Youth Services sessions etc.

Students also have an Orientation Day early in December at their future school, to help them become familiar with the setting and organisation.


All Students engage in weekly science lessons in a dedicated space to foster both a love of all aspects of science and an understanding of the scientific process of hypothesising, experimenting and analysing.

Students develop strong understandings of a range of transdisciplinary skills in science, and thoroughly enjoy the chance to immerse themselves in exciting experiments.


Students are taught to use a variety of programs to extend their personal skills and to use the Internet as part of the regular programs.

They have access to an array of technology in their classroom including iPads, netbooks & laptops. They are linked to the intranet and internet as a many of the tasks that teachers ask the students to do on them are on the web. Interactive whiteboards are in every classroom.

The School is also currently in the trial phase of the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) suite of resources, enabling the setting and assessing of work online, collaboration and co-construction.

Visual Art

At Malvern Valley, our aim is to deliver an exciting and engaging Arts Program that enables students to develop skills, techniques and processes in the following discipline areas:

  • drawing, painting and printmaking
  • construction and clay modelling
  • collage and textiles

All students participate in a session each week, focusing on skill development in particular or combined areas, in accordance with their developmental stage.

By enabling students to experiment with a broad range of materials and styles, we endeavour to nurture individual expression and creativity, cultivate aesthetic awareness and develop an understanding of the elements and principles of art and design.

Performing Arts

Performing Arts aims to increase student confidence and improve skills in areas such as Public Speaking, Drama and Music in a fun and supportive environment.

Some examples of what the students have been doing include:

  • Exploring the qualities of successful versus unsuccessful speakers and performers; such as using a clear voice, projecting your voice, using appropriate body language and facial expressions and facing and maintaining eye-contact with the audience.
  • Experimenting with voices and sounds.
  • Acting out scripted skits and plays.
  • Improvising, rehearsing, presenting to the class and providing feedback to peers.
  • Performing in response to a stimulus such as music or a picture book.
  • Creating accompanying music using percussion instruments.
  • Learning increasingly complex dance steps and working in small groups and as a whole class to create their own unique dance moves.

Health and Physical Education


A specialist Physical Education teacher takes all children for a one hour session each week. Classroom teachers also provide physical education lessons covering fundamental motor skills and sports to complement the Physical Education Program.

All classes take part in the Physical Education Program..

Our school has a strong focus on being active and promotes being healthy and fit. Our comprehensive program includes:

  • Weekly P.E. sessions which are skills and games based and taught by a specialist P.E. teacher.
  • A swimming program which takes place in term 4 at Ashburton Pool for all grades.
  • An Athletics, Swimming and Country Carnival.
  • Interschool sport for the grade 5 & 6 students.
  • Bike Education for the grade 4 students.
  • Perceptual Motor Program (Prep)
  • Clinics for a range of sports.
  • Annual Twilight Sports Evening.
  • Premier’s Active April Program
  • School grounds that promote being active and fit.
  • Active Travel Program – encouraging students to walk or ride to school (in March, 2014 the number of children walking/riding to school on any given day has been as high as 85% of the student body!)
  • Sporting Schools Program – students are able to try a range of sports (at no cost) by participating in this exciting during and after school initiative. Sports introduced to date include Basketball, Lacrosse, Yoga, Ice Sports, Table Tennis, Hockey, Basketball and Circus Skills.

A Swimming Program is conducted at each level of the school in term 4 at Ashburton Pool and Recreation Centre. All children are involved in the program provided by qualified swimming instructors supported by the class teachers. This culminates in our school swimming carnival.

Japanese (LOTE)

At Malvern Valley we learn to speak Japanese. In Prep, Grade 1 and Grade 2 the students learn to speak Japanese through music. In Grade 3 to Grade 6, the students continue to learn to speak Japanese plus they learn to read and write it as well.

Sensei comes from Japan and her passion in teaching the children about the country, language and songs is evident in the concerts where the children perform.

Sensei organises for the students to write to other students in a school in Kyushu. The students love to get letters back from them.


All children are involved in the library program, which covers both literature, and research skills. Children are encouraged to borrow material. When borrowing these materials, children have a responsibility for the care of them and for returning them on time.

We regularly use the Phoenix Park library so we encourage all children to be registered at the library by their parents. The teachers take the children over the library each week and they are able to borrow using their card.

We also have a library which the children use with their class and it is open at lunchtime on a Monday and Friday. Students are welcome to visit during these times to browse and borrow. Borrowing is generally for a fortnight except over the holiday period.

Individual Needs

At Malvern Valley we pride ourselves on developing each child’s potential. As well as teachers ensuring all students are challenged, a number of individual programs support our ability to tailor learning and ensure each child’s growth is enhanced. These include the following.


  • Participation in the Australian Primary Schools Mathematics Olympiad
  • Participation in the Mathematics Talent Quest
  • Opportunities to attend GATEWAYS enrichment programs

Learning Support:

Reading Recovery: Students in Grade 1 requiring such support receive a series of individual, 30-minute Reading Recovery lessons daily from a specially trained teacher. The program is an excellent way to assist those students that need some extra help to get back on track to being confident with their reading and writing.

Literacy Enhancement Activity Program (LEAP): This program is delivered by our Literacy Support Teacher and supports students between Prep and Grade 6 who are experiencing difficulties with literacy development. Each LEAP program has been designed to target specific literacy and language skills that are essential for learning in the classroom. The LEAP programs lead students sequentially through skills, with students required to reach a specific skill level before moving to the next skill. To provide the best possible learning outcomes, LEAP programs are designed to be delivered intensively over three sessions per week.

Excursions and Camps

Our school is proud to include incursions, excursions and a school camp as part of our learning program.


  • Link the student learning to the real world through excursion and incursions.
  • Enrich the student learning by giving them opportunities to hear, see and do learning outside the classroom with other people.

Permission slips are obtained prior to events and parent helpers are welcomed. Parents will receive payment information and permissions at the beginning of each school term, for the whole term.

Children in Grades 3/4 and 5/6 are each involved in a school camp annually. Students and staff attend the camps, with the camp chosen being developmentally appropriate, yet challenging for the students. A rotation of camps are used to ensure students have a new experience each time.

  1. Camp Jungai – With an Indigenous focus located near Healesville.
  2. Cave Hill Creek – near Beaufort and includes a visit to Sovereign Hill
  3. Philip Island Adventure Resort
  4. Anglesea YMCA Camp – With a strong coastal and environmental focus.