Learning

Overview

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.

Learning at Malvern Valley Primary School is characterised by a Rich, Rigorous and Relevant Curriculum. We have a consistent approach across our school to our teaching and learning, and as a result, can have high expectations of our staff and students. Our strategic goals focus heavily on ensuring we are providing a curriculum that challenges all learners, particularly those who are highly able, and is rich in feedback to enable student growth.

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.

Extra Curricula Programs

Extra Curricula Programs enhance the curriculum and add breadth and depth to student learning. Some programs the school currently provided include:

  • Passion Clubs: an array of activities run by teachers at lunchtime
  • Canteen Garden
  • Perceptual Motor Program (Foundation)
  • Swimming: All students
  • Bike Education (Grade 4)
  • Inter-School and District Sport: Grades 3-6
  • Brass Band: Grades 3-6
  • Private music lessons
  • Annual 3/4 & 5/6 Camps & Snow Camp (Grades 3-6)
  • Excursions

More information

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

Wellbeing

The school’s Wellbeing Program is underpinned by the evidence-based Positive Education framework that is comprised of the domains of Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Purpose, Health and Accomplishment. It is taught explicitly throughout the week and habits of positive wellbeing are practised at the beginning of every session, every day in every class.

Our Values underpin all expectations of behaviours and actions as a community. They are espoused every day by everyone. They are:

  • Resilience: Being able to bounce back and make the most of a situation when unexpected things happen
  • Respect:  Having regard for yourself, other and property
  • Cooperation: Working together for the good of everyone
  • Confidence: Having faith and trust in yourself

 

Malvern Valley Academy

The Malvern Valley Academy is an initiative that provides an opportunity for every one of our Grade 3-6 students to develop their talents in a range of learning areas, with a particular focus on STEM. In weekly Academy sessions students work with like-minded students, industry professionals and use specialised equipment to develop knowledge specific to their chosen field and foster critical and creative thinking skills. Students work together to innovate, create and design solutions to real-world problems, using a Design Thinking approach. Student Voice is an integral part of the Academy, with students electing their program of choice and driving the direction of their investigations throughout the year. The Academy is supported by cutting edge resources and spaces such as our STEM Lab and STEM Studio. The Current Academy Programs are:

 

Science Academy

Students make sense of our world by investigating, making predictions and solving problems. They identify questions about the world around them that can be investigated scientifically and predict what might happen based on prior knowledge. Students use a variety of tools, materials, equipment and technologies to develop explanations of events and wonderings.

 

Coding Academy

Students move from ‘unplugged’ coding experiences to using various applications to design and create animations, games, websites and apps to fit an authentic purpose.

 

Robotics Academy

Students learn to use block code as well as writing simple code to program robotic equipment (Lego EV3) in our STEM Studio. They design pathways and program robots (using bricks, motors and sensors) to move along these courses and perform specific tasks.

 

Engineering Academy

Students work in the STEM Lab to tinker, design, create and build using a range of materials and programs. They work collaboratively to create new and exciting solutions to real-world problems and print their designs using the 3D printer.

 

Music Academy

Students are explicitly taught to play the violin by an experienced music teacher. They develop the ability to read and interpret music, tune their violin and perfect their hand position. Students build confidence and collaboration skills as well as self-discipline. They also perform in a variety of settings.

 

Sustainability Academy

Students investigate real-world issues and develop solutions that make a difference in our school and community. They enhance their knowledge of sustainability through questioning, research and taking action to reduce our environmental footprint. Students work in the kitchen garden to grow and maintain a variety of plants which may be sold to the school community or used for cooking.

 

Sports Academy

Students develop their understanding of what it means to be fit and healthy. They investigate the factors that help fuel optimal performance and learn the science behind how the body moves. They look closely at and enhance their skills in specific sports through research and participation.

Program of Inquiry 

The school’s Program of Inquiry emphasises the importance of learning and practicing transferable, 21st century skills and understandings in a transdisciplinary way. That is, students learn about key understandings from Inquiry Units in all connected subjects they engage with throughout the term, such as using English to research, Mathematics to conduct data analysis or Science to test hypothesis. 

The Design Thinking approach is followed in all inquiry units to ensure there is authenticity in what is being learnt as well as to empower students to have a positive impact in their own and others’ lives.

The Foundation (Prep) Inquiry Units for 2020 are:

All About Me

An inquiry into relationships, beliefs and values.

Central Idea:
Every day we learn more about who we are and what we can do.

Key Questions:

  • What are my Character Strengths?
  • How do I identify others’ strengths?
  • How does a Growth Mindset help me learn?

In Motion

An inquiry into technology; the scientific process, laws, principles & advances.

Central Idea:
Everyday items move in a range of different ways.

Key Questions:

  • What is movement?
  • Why do objects move in different ways?
  • How can I control the movement of objects?

People & Places

An inquiry into the natural & living world.

Central Idea:
Our world is made up of many different places and cultures.

Key Questions:

  • What is a country and where are they within our world?
  • How are countries similar and different?
  • Why are cultures similar & different?

Sharing the Planet

An inquiry into geographical characteristics.

Central Idea:
Living things have features that are necessary for survival.

Key Questions:

  • What are living things & why are they important?
  • What features allow living things to survive?
  • How can living things support each other to survive?

The Grade 1/2’s Inquiry Units for 2020 are:

Being Balanced

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

Central Idea:
I can make choices to lead a balanced life.

Key Questions:

  • What is a balanced life?
  • What choices can I make to look after my health?
  • How can I improve my health?

Amazing Machines

An inquiry into the scientific processes; cause and effect.

Central Idea:
Machines allow humans to be more efficient.

Key Questions:

  • What forces make machines work?
  • What materials are machines made of and why?
  • How are machines made?

On Location!

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

Central Idea:
Places are influenced by their location and can be important to particular people.

Key Questions:

  • What are some important places in our local area?
  • What significance do local places have for people both now and in the past?
  • Are there similarities between what we have and other places in the world?
  • What places are significant to me and how can I show this?

Chain Reaction

An inquiry into the natural world, living things, humans’ rights & responsibilities, sustainable practises.

Central Idea:
Living things rely on their habitat and each other to survive.

Key Questions:

  • Where do living things live?
  • How are living things interdependent?
  • What happens when the things we need aren’t there?
  • How can I have a positive impact on habitats?

The Grade 3 & 4’s Inquiry Units for 2020 are:

Beliefs & Values

An inquiry into community engagement & how communities function.

Central Idea:
People’s beliefs, values, cultures and religions influence the choices they make.

Key Questions:

  • What are my beliefs, values, culture and religion and how do they evolve?
  • How do my beliefs, values, culture and religion influence my life?
  • How do other people’s beliefs, values, culture and religion influence their lives?

Spinning in Space

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

Central Idea:
Our understanding of Earth and its place in the universe has led to many advances in our society.

Key Questions:

  • How have our understandings changed over time?
  • What is Earth’s place in space?
  • How has space exploration contributed to our daily lives?

Location, Location!

An inquiry into explorations, Indigenous Australian history & Australian History

Central Idea:
The Earth’s physical geography has an impact on settlement and people’s way of life.

Key Questions:

  • How does the world’s geography vary?
  • How does the physical environment impact upon humans?
  • How do people alter the physical environment to support their way of life?

Healthy Ocean, Healthy Planet!

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

Central Idea:
Human activities impact on aquatic environments.

Key Questions:

  • What is an aquatic environment?
  • What is a healthy ecosystem?
  • How do common products or materials impact on an ecosystem?
  • How do my choices impact aquatic environments?

The Grades 5 & 6’s Inquiry Units for 2020 are:

Earn & Learn

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

Central Idea:
Communities are interdependent in the way they operate.

Key Questions:

  • What is a community?
  • What are roles within a community?
  • How do different members within a community work together?

Invention Convention

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

Central Idea:
Needs and wants are the basis for inventions.

Key Questions:

  • How are inventions created?
  • What is the process of making an invention?
  • How have Australians made a contribution to advancing technology through inventions?

Pack Your Bags

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

Central Idea:
Migration has a significant impact on communities.

Key Questions:

  • Why do people move to Australia?
  • What experiences do different migrants have?
  • How are societies influenced by migrants?
  • How does my migration story connect to others?

Natural Disasters

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

Central Idea:
Earth and its changes impact us in many ways

Key Questions:

  • How do geological changes affect the Earth’s surface?
  • How does extreme weather change the Earth’s environment?
  • How do natural disasters impact on humans and other living things?

Specialist Subjects

Science

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.

Technology

Technology is embedded throughout all subject areas and at all levels within our school, with a strong focus on enhancing the learning experience, not simply substituting off-line experiences for online ones. All students are taught Digital Communications as a specialist subject area and within this, become proficient in a range of skills, particularly the use of the Adobe products.

All students have access to an array of technology in their classroom. Students in Foundation – Grade 2 have iPad pods between each class, whilst students in Grades 3 – 6 have laptop pods between classes. Students also engage with robotics and coding equipment regularly to develop their computational thinking.

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.

Digital Communications

Digital Communications provides students from Foundation – Grade 6, with the opportunity to develop their skills and understandings within the areas of graphic design, photography, the media arts and social media. It ties in closely with Inquiry Units by providing a skill set to enhance students’ ability to communicate their understandings digitally. With communication representing one of the most high-yield 21st-century skills, and an increasing majority of our communication being digital, this subject gives our students the skills they will need to have an edge in their future studies and professions.

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.

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.

Library

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.

Enrichment:

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

Learning Support:

The Levelled Literacy Intervention Program is conducted by our Education Support Staff and overseen by our Literacy Learning Specialist for all students from Grade 1 – 6 who require additional support to become proficient readers.

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.

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

School Band

Grade 4 to 6 students can choose to be in the Malvern Valley Brass Band which is run in partnership with the City of Stonnington Brass Band. The students get free tuition and hire of instruments. Band members come to the school to teach the students.

Excursions & Camps

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

Excursions/Incursions occur at all levels and provide opportunities for authentic learning experiences

Annual Camps occur once students are in Grades 3/4 and 5/6. Camps are developmentally appropriate, yet challenging for the students. A rotation of camps is used to ensure students have a new experience each time.

Ski Camp

Students in Grades 3 – 6 have the opportunity to attend an annual Ski Camp to Mount Buller. This camp, over three days provides students with the opportunity to develop their skills, build cross-grade relationships and for some, be challenged by a new experience.

Canteen Garden

The Canteen Garden supplies fresh herbs and produce for our Canteen.

At Malvern Valley we also have our own worm farm that the children look after and compost bin that we deposit all food scraps from our Canteen into.

The garden is looked after by parents and also during our Gardening Club that is run during lunchtime.

Bike Education

Bike Education, which is part of the Road Traffic Safety Program, is offered for all Grade 4 Students at the beginning of the year. The program is a sequenced set of safe and controlled riding activities which are regarded as the minimum necessary to teach children how to ride competently and safely on the roads.

Malvern Valley has received the “Ted Wilson Memorial Bike Education Award” in recognition of our Bike Ed program, our Hands Up (daily riding log) and generally the way we promote students being active travellers.

Sporting Schools Program

Malvern Valley Primary School has begun implementing the new Sporting Schools Program, as a replacement to the Active After School Communities program we previously participated in.

Sporting Schools is a national programme available to all Australian primary schools. Sporting Schools aim to:

  • support sporting organisations in the delivery of great programmes that are suitable for children
  • provide schools with opportunities to get their children excited about sports through quality and diverse programmes
  • provide children with positive sporting experiences in the best possible way: by having a go
  • support schools and coaches through offering online coaching resources and information to help them run programmes

Learning At Home

A constructive partnership between parents are teachers strengthens the learning experiences of our students and enables the application of learning in the real-world.

Nightly home reading for all students forms an essential part of the Home Learning Program. All students also are provided a Mathletics subscription to support the development of fluency and proficiency in all areas of Mathematics.

From Grade 3 onwards students are also required to complete other Home Learning tasks supporting and extending what happens in classrooms.

In links provided here you will find supplementary ideas of Home Learning that all students can engage with, including a list of recommended Apps.