At Pearcedale Primary we take great pride in our curriculum. Our Learning and Teaching Programs are designed to encourage and promote a love of lifelong learning. The new Victorian Curriculum forms the basis of the school’s comprehensive and integrated curriculum programs. Whilst a wide variety of additional resources materials and texts are used by teachers, the school’s curriculum structure and focus is based on these documents.
The Victorian Curriculum provides a stable foundation for whole schooling curriculum and assessment planning. It incorporates the Australian Curriculum and reflects Victorian standards and priorities. The curriculum includes a strong focus on the foundational skills of literacy and numeracy and on personal and social skills, thinking skills and new areas of learning such as computational thinking. The Victorian Curriculum gives students the skills they need for work and life: literacy, numeracy, scientific knowledge and skills, resilience, respectful relationships, the use of digital technologies and the capacity for critical and creative thinking and expression.
Key features of the new Victorian Curriculum include the following elements.
* Structured as a learning continuum, that is, developmental levels that enable teachers to identify current levels of achievement and readiness to learn and then plan to enable students to achieve expected levels.
* Incorporates all key content in the Australian Curriculum.
* Capabilities represented as sets of knowledge and skills that are distinct from any single learning area but that students develop and apply across the curriculum.
* Cross-curriculum priorities (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culture, Asia and Australian’s engagement with Asia and Sustainability) are embedded and included in the learning areas and capabilities, not represented as additional or separate components of the curriculum.
* Four rather than seven capabilities are included in the Victorian curriculum. The additional three capabilities in the Australian Curriculum are Literacy, Numeracy and ICT. Teachers will develop students’ learning of Literacy, Numeracy and ICT across the curriculum. In Victorian Curriculum these capabilities are incorporated in the learning areas and do not require separate treatment.
Specific features that are new to the Victorian Curriculum include the following:
* Reference to phonics and phonemic awareness have been strengthened in the English curriculum.
* The Digital Technologies curriculum includes new learning for F-10 students, including computational thinking, developing and evaluating digital solutions and data collection, representation and interpretation. Learning about coding is included in both Digital technologies and Mathematics curriculum.
* Reference to respectful relationships and safety in the home have been strengthened and made more explicit.
Detailed description of the Victorian Curriculum
The Victorian Curriculum Foundation–10 (F–10) sets out what every student should learn during their first eleven years of schooling. The curriculum is the common set of knowledge and skills required by students for life-long learning, social development and active and informed citizenship.
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 incorporates the Australian Curriculum and reflects Victorian priorities and standards. It represents the curriculum as a continuum of learning and the structural design and it is a single, coherent and comprehensive set of content descriptions and associated achievement standards enabling teachers to plan, monitor, assess and report on the learning achievement of every student.
* Curriculum Design
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 includes eight learning areas and four capabilities. The learning areas of the Arts, Humanities and Technologies include distinct disciplines. The capabilities represent sets of knowledge and skills that are developed and applied across the curriculum
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 includes both knowledge and skills. These are defined by learning areas and capabilities. This curriculum design assumes that knowledge and skills are transferable across the curriculum and therefore are not duplicated. For example, where skills and knowledge such as asking questions, evaluating evidence and drawing conclusions are defined in Critical and Creative Thinking, these are not duplicated in other learning areas such as History or Health and Physical Education. It is expected that the skills and knowledge defined in the capabilities will be developed, practiced, deployed and demonstrated by students in and through their learning across the curriculum.
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 learning areas are a clear and deliberate reaffirmation of the importance of a discipline-based approach to learning, where learning areas are regarded as both enduring and dynamic.
Their enduring nature rests in their different epistemologies, or ways of understanding, and the associated skills they provide for students. Each of the learning areas provides and is defined by a unique way of seeing, understanding and engaging with the world. For the Arts, the Humanities and the Technologies, students engage in and through disciplines, which provide discrete content descriptions and achievement standards.
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 includes capabilities, which are a set of discrete knowledge and skills that can and should be taught explicitly in and through the learning areas, but are not fully defined by any of the learning areas or disciplines. A key distinction between the Australian Curriculum F–10 and the Victorian Curriculum F–10 is the provision of content descriptions and achievement standards in the four capabilities.
The Australian Curriculum F–10 includes three additional general capabilities:
- Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 design does not include these three general capabilities as separate learning areas or capabilities with discrete knowledge and skills.
Given the inclusion of a Literacy strand in English, and the proficiencies of understanding, fluency, problem solving, and reasoning in Mathematics, it is unnecessary to define Literacy and Numeracy as a distinct curriculum. The learning of the skills and knowledge defined by the ICT general capability are now embedded in student learning across the curriculum.
There is considerable research that identifies the importance of the teaching of literacy and numeracy and ICT in the context of the different curriculum areas. It is both appropriate and necessary that the literacy, numeracy and ICT requirements be embedded in the curriculum areas.
While much of the explicit teaching of literacy occurs in the English learning area, it is strengthened, made specific and extended in other learning areas as students engage in a range of learning activities with significant literacy demands.
In the Victorian Curriculum F–10, the knowledge and skills that underpin numeracy are explicitly taught in the Mathematics strands Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry and Statistics and Probability and reinforced and further exemplified in and across other curriculum areas. Through this process, students recognise that mathematics is widely used both in and outside school and learn to apply mathematical knowledge and skills in a wide range of familiar and unfamiliar situations.
Information and Communication Technologies
In the Victorian Curriculum F–10, the ICT general capability skills are either specifically embedded in the content descriptions of Mathematics, Media Arts, Geography, English and Digital Technologies or schools have the flexibility to determine how these skills will be used in their teaching and learning programs for other curriculum areas.
The Literacy, Numeracy and ICT general capabilities from the Australian Curriculum F–10 are therefore represented in the Victorian Curriculum F–10 as embedded in each curriculum area and are not discrete areas against which teachers should report student progress.
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 is structured as a continuum across levels of learning achievement not years of schooling. This enables the development of targeted learning programs for all students, where the curriculum is used to plan in relation to the actual learning level of each student rather than their assumed level of learning based on age.
Each curriculum area includes content descriptions explaining what is to be taught and achievement standards describing what students are able to understand and do. The achievement standards are provided in 11 levels for English and Mathematics or in five or six bands for all the other learning areas and capabilities.
The achievement standards reflect the emphasis within the broad stages of schooling, these being:
- Foundation stage (Years F–2)
The focus is on the five curriculum areas of English, Mathematics, The Arts, Health and Physical Education, and Personal and Social capability. These areas all have a standard at Foundation. In the early years of schooling, schools may choose to structure teaching and learning programs around the five outcomes of the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF).
- Breadth stage (Years 3–8)
Students have the opportunity to fully engage with all learning areas and capabilities, with a focus on English, Mathematics, and Science.
Learning about the cross-curriculum priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia, and Sustainability is embedded in the learning areas of the Victorian Curriculum F–10.
Learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 includes opportunities for students to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. The knowledge and skills that students are expected to develop about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders histories and cultures has a particular and enduring importance and assists students to understand the uniqueness of these cultures and the wisdom and knowledge embedded in them.
* Personal and Social Capability
The Personal and Social Capability is essential in enabling students to understand themselves and others, and manage their relationships, lives, work and learning more effectively. The capability involves students learning to recognise and regulate emotions, develop empathy for others and understand relationships, establish and build a framework for positive relationships, work effectively in teams and develop leadership skills, and handle challenging situations constructively.
The Personal and Social Capability supports students in becoming creative and confident individuals with a sense of self-worth, self-awareness and personal identity that enables them to manage their emotional, mental, spiritual and physical wellbeing, with a sense of hope and optimism about their lives and the future. On a social level, it helps students to form and maintain healthy relationships and prepares them for their potential life roles as family, community and workforce members.
The Personal and Social Capability encompasses students’ personal/emotional and social/relational dispositions, intelligences, and sensibilities. Although it is named ‘Personal and Social Capability’, the words ‘personal/emotional’ and ‘social/relational’ are used interchangeably throughout the literature and within educational organisations. The term ‘Social and Emotional Learning’ is also often used, as is the SEL acronym.
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) evidence-based approach and definitions of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) are the best known and most highly respected in the world today, and provide an excellent framework for integrating the academic, emotional and social dimensions of learning.