Teaching & Learning

Curriculum Overview

The curriculum at St Bernard’s School is directly aligned with the NSW Board of Studies. Specific outcomes, appropriate for the stage of a student’s development, are targeted as the focus for teaching and learning in each of the Key Learning Areas throughout each term and student progress is assessed against the identified outcomes. Students participate in all Key Learning Areas from Kindergarten to Year 6 - Religious Education, English, Mathematics, Human Society and Its Environment, Science and Technology, Creative Arts and Personal Development/Health/Physical Education. At the beginning of each year, curriculum notes are sent home for every grade. These notes provide an overview of the teaching focus in all Key Learning Areas and any other relevant information such as excursions and special events in the grade for the year.

Religious Education

At St Bernard’s, we believe Religious Education is a lifelong process. Our school is one contributing element within this process. We are mindful of the fact that Religious Education is not restricted to specific lessons but a dimension to the school that is embedded in all we do. It is an important part and the basis of other subject areas, creating a solid foundation for all other learning.

Within St Bernard’s, it is obvious by the witness and celebration of the members of the entire school community that we are constantly striving to ‘Make Jesus Real’. In 2012, staff were introduced to the MJR program. Years 5 and 6 began integrating some elements of the program into their class practice. At school prayer and through the Newsletter key elements were introduced to the school and to the wider community. We nurture the dignity of the whole individual within a diverse religious, social and cultural environment.  We recognise that parents/carers are the primary educators of our students and embrace the evangelical role of our school to spread and witness the Gospels to staff, students and parents. We do this through family participation in our Sacramental program and open invitation to all liturgies and prayer celebrations. Teachers at St Bernard’s use the Treasures New and Old document to guide all planning, teaching, learning and assessment practices in Religious Education.


At St Bernard’s, we believe that language is integral to the whole curriculum and learning experience of students’ lives. It is not only necessary for students to learn language, but also learn about language and through language. Best learning takes place in authentic contexts, and literature plays a special role in enabling this to happen. The strands of oral, written and visual communication are learned across and throughout the subject areas. It is through language that students learn to communicate, analyse, understand and build relationships with others and interact with the world around them. We believe that students engage in language at St Bernard’s to develop their ability to be confident communicators, informed citizens, imaginative and analytical thinkers. The study of English from Kindergarten to Year 6 should develop a love of literature and learning and be challenging and enjoyable. It develops skills to enable students to experiment with ideas and expression, to become active, independent and lifelong learners, to work with each other and to reflect on their learning. Through responding to and composing texts from Kindergarten to Year 6, students learn about the power, value and art of the English language for communication, knowledge and enjoyment.

At St Bernard’s the teaching and learning programmes allow students to be supported with the necessary scaffolds for them to achieve success. The Gradual Release of Responsibility Model addresses this belief and explicitly guides our teaching and learning practices in all learning areas. Programmes are developed as whole class, small group and for individual differentiation and are noted as such in the teaching programme template. Use of First Steps Reading, Writing and Spelling, the Read On and Write On documents, support this model.


At St Bernard’s we believe that students learn best when provided with relevant and contextualised inquiry learning experiences that support mathematics as integral to their everyday lives. This learning begins with the investigation of their world and is developed through explicit and purposeful teaching that is student focused. We believe that students learn best through hands-on, real life problem solving, supported by the development of increasingly sophisticated skills, language and understanding of number and algebra, measurement and geometry, and statistics and probability concepts. We believe that students engage in Mathematics at St Bernard’s to develop the ability to apply numeracy skills to all aspects of their lives.                                            

Effective teachers of Mathematics;

The use of frameworks such as the Gradual Release of Responsibility (GRR) model, Working Like a Mathematician, Count me In Too and Inquiry-Based Learning assist in the planning and implementation of rich, engaging, differentiated learning experiences which cater for all learners in Mathematics.


At St Bernard’s we believe that Science is an investigational way of answering interesting and important questions about the biological, physical, chemical and technological world.

Through Science students and teachers are:

Staff at St Bernard’s use ‘PrimaryConnections’ as the principal resource for programming K-6. This program uses the 5 E’s inquiry framework.

Information Communication Technology (ICT)

At St Bernard’s, the ever-increasing impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on teaching and learning is recognised. The use of technologies is integrated as much as possible into student inquiries. ICT provides opportunities for the enhancement of learning, and may significantly support students in their inquiries, and in developing their conceptual understanding. At St Bernard’s, technology is considered as a tool for learning, albeit with its own set of skills, as opposed to an additional subject area.

Students continually explore imaginative uses of new media tools beyond their basic functional applications, discovering alternative or individual ways to conceptualise the role of digital technologies in their lives. The development of innovative thinking and creative use of technologies prepares students to participate fully in this multifaceted world. Our school Life pages allow students and staff to access a safe learning management system which showcases a variety of web-based links and opportunities for collaborative and interactive experiences.

Use of ICT:

• documents the learning, making it available to all parties

• provides opportunities for rapid feedback and reflection

• provides opportunities to enhance authentic learning

• provides access to a broad range of sources of information

• provides students with a range of tools to store, organize and present their learning

• encourages and allows for communication with a wide-ranging audience.

Human Society and Its Environment (History and Geography)

History is a disciplined process of inquiry into the past that helps to explain how people, events and forces from the past have shaped our world. It allows students to

The study of History from Kindergarten to Year 6 investigates the actions, motives and lifestyles of people over time, from individuals, family members, local communities, expanding to national and world history contexts. The culmination of the students’ studies in History and Geography is the Year 6 Cultural Day – ‘World Expo’. History at St Bernard’s strengthens an appreciation for and an understanding of civics and citizenship, historical experiences of different cultural groups within our society such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, migrants and women.

Students at St Bernard’s will develop skills in Historical concepts such as:

The iCentre will be the information hub where students will carry out inquiry based investigations using a 21st century learning model, incorporating collaboration, creativity and technology. They will investigate historical issues through a range of sources that will stimulate curiosity and develop problem-solving, research and critical thinking skills.

Students at St Bernard’s will learn to:

Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments. It integrates knowledge from natural sciences, social sciences and humanities to build a holistic understanding of the world.

Students learn to:

Geography emphasises the importance of the environment in supporting human life from local to global scales and the relationships between people and the natural world for their wellbeing. Geographical inquiry involves students acquiring, processing and communicating geographical information. Students will explain patterns, evaluate consequences and contribute to the management of places and environments.

Students will learn to apply skills including:

Students at St Bernard’s will engage in fieldwork and use other tools including mapping and spatial technologies for geographical inquiry.

Excursions are planned to support learning in both History and Geography. These excursions occur at a local and state level including our national capital Canberra. Local venues may include Batemans Bay Museum, Botanic Gardens, Batemans Bay Marine Park, Mogo Zoo, Bingi Dreaming Track and Shire Offices. Stage 2 and 3 students also visit venues in Canberra; Parliament House, The Electoral Centre, National Museum and Birrigai and Narrabeen, NSW.

Geography enables students to become active, responsible and informed citizens preparing them for active participation in community life committed to sustainability intercultural understanding and lifelong learning.

Personal Development, Health & Physical Education (PDHPE)

At St Bernard’s we believe that we have a responsibility to build and nurture an active, responsible and informed community. We believe that there is a link between good physical and mental health and successful social and family relationships. PDHPE is an important area within the primary curriculum that permeates all aspects of school life.

PDHPE relates to:

The Arts

At St Bernard’s we believe that The Arts provide students with a wide range of opportunities and means to respond to their experiences and engage with historical, social and cultural perspectives. Through The Arts the students are stimulated to think and to articulate their thoughts in new ways, via a variety of media and technologies. The Arts is a powerful mode of communication through which students explore and construct a sense of self and develop an understanding of the world around them. It promotes attitudes such as empathy and appreciation, and skills such as analysis, that help us to see the uniqueness of each person as well as explore the commonalities that connect us. 0The Arts engage students in creative processes through which they explore and experiment in a continual cycle of action and reflection. Such creative processes are seen as the driving force in learning through inquiry.

We are fortunate to have a specialist teacher to teach the strands of Dance, Drama and Music. Classes K-6 are rostered for a 40 minute lesson once per week and have their lessons delivered in a fully equipped music room.



Parents Guide to the new NSW K - 10 Syllabuses