At St Mary’s we provide a high quality Literacy program which equips students with English knowledge and skills enabling them to become confident communicators, creative thinkers, problem solvers and informed citizens.

Every morning, during the 2 hour literacy block, all students from Prep-6 engage in purposeful activities that cover Reading and Viewing, Writing and Speaking and Listening. The content for these sessions is drawn from the Victorian Curriculum.

At St. Mary’s we are guided by the enormous body of research that is known as The Science of Reading (SOR). This approach to the teaching and learning of reading maximises outcomes for all students. Learning to read is not a natural skill like learning to walk so our brains are not hard wired to do this. This body of work explains how our brains learn to read and provides instructional approaches that are most effective. It encourages the teaching of skills through explicit instruction.

At St. Mary’s we use a Systematic Synthetic Phonics approach to teaching the 44 speech sounds of the English language. In Foundation-2 we follow the scope and sequence from Decodable Readers Australia. Children learn the relationships between the sounds (phonemes) and the letter symbols or spelling choices (graphemes) in a structured manner. The ability to match the phoneme and grapheme enables students to read and spell words successfully. Students have plenty of opportunity to practise their phonic knowledge and blend these sounds together when completing daily activities from Heggerty Phonological and Phonemic Awareness Program and when reading from our large range of decodable texts.

Once students have a firm understanding of this alphabetic code, they dive deeper into their understanding of words through our structured approach to morphology and etymology. Students learn a range of prefixes (un, re, mis) suffixes (ed, ing, able) base and root words (tract, aqua, happy, geo) Learning these, helps students understand new vocabulary better, spell more difficult words and identify links between words.

Students develop their comprehension skills through authentic texts, rich in literature. In P-2 these are often read to or with students as they are still developing their code knowledge. The focus of these sessions is to build students’ vocabulary knowledge, to learn about the sentence structures used in writing, to develop knowledge of different topics and expose students to many different forms and genres of writing.

In the 3-6 classrooms at St. Mary’s students engage in novel studies which are also designed to develop the above mentioned comprehension skills. We support all students in accessing the text regardless of their decoding ability. We do this through reading to students, reading with a partner, listening to audio books or with assisted technologies such as the C-Pen. We believe all students should be provided opportunities to engage in conversation and knowledge building of age appropriate material. With reading to learn being the focus in the Senior School, students are provided with many opportunities to express this learning in writing tasks. Through structured practice, students create sentences, paragraphs and whole texts to communicate their ideas in many written and oral forms.

At. St. Mary’s, we conduct evidence-based assessments that provide us with clear, detailed understanding of our students’ needs. We have a multi-tiered approach to intervention to differentiate instruction and target specific skills for our learners.
Tier 1: whole class instruction using evidence based teaching
Tier 2: support in small group sessions for students identified as at risk to build required skills
Tier 3: individual intensive 1:1 targeted support


MiniLit is a special teaching program designed for young children in Years 1 and 2 who are struggling to learn to read. The program is usually offered in small groups of up to four children to help them to catch up with their classmates.

Teachers work with small groups for up to an hour a day for four days a week using the carefully structured MiniLit program materials. The program takes about two terms to complete.

Each lesson has three main components –

  • Sounds and Words Activities where children learn to pay attention to the different sounds in words and to associate them with the letters of the alphabet
  • Text Reading which gives children the chance to practise their new skills
  • Story book Reading which involves the teacher reading and discussing a story book with the students, to help improve their vocabulary and comprehension


At St. Mary’s, we believe that it is essential to equip our students with mathematical knowledge, understanding and skills relevant to daily life. We believe that learning mathematics at school should be a positive experience in which students develop confidence and a sense of achievement from what they learn.

The Mathematics curriculum is divided into three strands: Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, and Statistics and Probability.
At St. Mary’s we take pride in our Mathematics program and have high expectations of children and staff in relation to the learning and teaching of Mathematics.  

As a staff we keep informed of current practices through the opportunities for staff professional development. We work at team levels to analyse data, plan and reflect on classroom practice. We promote opportunities to learn from each other including sharing ideas and modelling practice.

When planning units of work we personalise the learning including enabling and extending opportunities for our students. We make clear to the students our learning intentions and what success looks like when new concepts are learnt. We understand that feedback both formative and summative are valuable for students. Staff may use a range of assessments such as rich tasks, rubrics, general, formal and informal assessments.

We use a common language throughout the school. The starting points for all Maths lessons are based on what the children already know. Mistakes are “celebrated” as another tool for learning in Maths.
At St Mary’s we promote a cohesive whole-school curriculum that is contemporary and flexible which makes relevant links to student learning.

We endorse a knowledge and understanding of how to use the Proficiencies to develop rich and authentic tasks.

We offer additional numeracy support to our students through our Early Number and Algebra Program in the Junior Years, our Getting Ready in Numeracy (GRIN) program and through small group learning sprints with Learning support staff and classroom teachers.

Religious Education

The formal Religious Education program at St. Mary’s is based on the ‘Pedagogy of Encounter’ and Framework documents, as directed by MACS.

We also aim to provide an education that is based on our faith and Gospel teachings, where students have the opportunity to further develop their relationships with God and their community. We encourage students to live our school motto, “Love Above All”.

Our programs allow students to engage in:

  • Daily prayer
  • Class Masses
  • Regular Reconciliation
  • Whole school Masses for Feast Days and other special events
  • Prayer as a whole school (assembly, reflections, through song)
  • Social justice exploration and action
  • Mini Vinnies
  • Sacraments
  • Reconciliation and First Communion from Grade 3
  • Confirmation in Grade 6
  • Baptism (as required) by arrangement with the Parish Priest

Specialist Program

Throughout their time at St Mary’s, students are immersed in a rich specialist program of Physical Education, The Arts, STEM, Library and the Italian language.

Physical Education

Physical Education classes allow students to experience a range of activities to improve their fundamental movement skills and then how to participate effectively in game situations through their use of teamwork and tactics. Students are also given the opportunity to participate in athletics, cross country and swimming, as well as inter school sport events.

Performing Arts

All students from Prep to Grade 6 take part in Performing Arts classes. Students are encouraged to express themselves through Music, Drama and Dance. Each year, as a culmination of their learning, students perform in either the School Production (3-6) or the Junior Showcase (Foundation-2). Students also have the opportunity to take part in lessons for Guitar, Recorder and Keyboard.

Visual Arts

The Visual Arts program aims to foster confidence, curiosity, imagination and enjoyment through student engagement. Students are exposed to a variety of techniques, materials and processes through creating, viewing, discussing and interpreting artworks. The annual Art Show showcases student artwork completed throughout the year.


In STEM students are taught specific knowledge, understandings and skills in Science, Technologies, Engineering and Maths. A focus on critical and creative thinking, collaboration and communication is key through various investigative and hands-on activities.


Through the Library program we aim to nurture a love of reading and literature in our Foundation to Grade 2 students. From Years 3-6 a love of literature continues to be fostered however there is a specific focus on developing responsible users of digital technologies to support education and research.


At St. Mary’s students learn the Italian language from Foundation to Grade 6. During this program we focus on exploring culture and building skills of communication for various purposes and contexts.

Learning Diversity & NCCD

Learning Diversity is a broad area of support for all learners and their personal learning differences. All aspects of Learning Diversity are guided by MACS and Australian Government Disability Standards legislation. There are a broad range of supports available depending on the child’s needs.

National Consistent Collection of Data

Macs and the Victorian Government called the NCCD have a funding model in Learning Diversity team support teachers to:

  • Identify students’ needs
  • Provide extra support to enhance development
  • Meet and plan with parents throughout the year

Should you have any questions or concerns either about an existing diagnosis or suspected condition we encourage you to speak with the Principal for assistance.