Teaching & Learning
Holy Family uses a school-wide Explicit Instructional approach that ensures every child can achieve success. Simply put, learning is teacher-directed but always student-centred.
Daily Reviews are an essential part of our instructional pedagogy, assisting us to reduce students’ cognitive load and ensure they are receiving multiple exposures to all new concepts and content. Daily reviews assist students in developing their fluency in essential understandings, spiralling the content for review throughout the year in a planned and sequenced manner.
Our curriculum is knowledge-rich, inclusive, and low variant, meaning students receive consistency no matter which class they are in throughout not only our school but also our archdiocese. Evidence-based high-impact teaching strategies are utilised across the school, building collective responsibility for improving both teacher practice and student learning. High importance is put on reducing students' cognitive load throughout each lesson, each day. Students are empowered to 'think about their thinking' (also known as metacognition), and develop skills in order to articulate this through each subject area.
Holy Family Primary School and the Early Learning Centre embrace the traditions, rituals and understandings of the Catholic Church through the religious life of the school and its Religious Education programs. These are embedded into our ethos, learning experiences and relationships. The school motto is: "Open the Doors to the Redeemer.” In 2023 our school theme is ‘Our Faith, Our Story, Our Family’. We reflect on this theme using the scripture passage from Mark 12:31, “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Through this theme, we are currently exploring our school charism and reflecting on our foundations and school journey.
Religious Education is beginning the Catalyst journey of High Impact Teaching Practices by explicitly teaching religious content and traditions. The students and staff come together regularly to celebrate prayer liturgies, school and class masses and liturgical celebrations.
Holy Family is part of the Parish of Corpus Christi, working in close partnership with our other parish schools, St Francis of Assisi and St Clare of Assisi. The school is actively
involved in supporting the Parish team to develop a holistic and comprehensive parish‐based sacramental programme. Through the leadership of our Youth Ministry Team, we support Caritas Australia, St Vincent de Paul and Catholic Missions.
The staﬀ at Holy Family are committed once a month to the St Vincent de Paul "Night Patrol Van". Members of our staﬀ take the Vinnies Van into the city to assist the people of Canberra in need. This is a testament to Holy Family Primary School being a family that wishes to nurture and welcome all. Holy Family is a thoughtful, compassionate and spirited community that promotes the pastoral care of all its members.
Holy Family students participate in a shared Parish and school-based sacramental program. The typical year levels for these units of work are:
Year 4: Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Year 5: Sacrament of Eucharist.
Year 6: Sacrament of Confirmation.
Students at Holy Family Primary School are engaged in a minimum of four hours of mathematics per week, with a minimum of three hours of these being taught through Explicit instruction. Teachers and students largely follow an ‘I do, We do, You do’ model to introduce new concepts. We know that the ‘We do’ section of each lesson has the most impact on student learning, therefore emphasising the modelling of and working through concepts together as a group until the class's mastery reaches at minimum, 80%.
Our focus when teaching Mathematics is to move learning into long-term memory, building automaticity in foundational concepts and skills. We explicitly teach the study of Number and Algebra, Statistics and Probability and Measurement and Geometry. Throughout the week, lessons will incorporate each strand of Mathematics listed above, spaced and interleaved for periodical review and exposure. With this, proficiencies are embedded in all learning experiences to give students opportunities to develop their Mathematical Understanding, Fluency, Problem Solving and Reasoning.
Teachers are constantly checking for understanding of students' knowledge, supplemented with periodic content reviews, monitoring students' ability to recall, recite and apply their knowledge every 5 weeks.
Students at Holy Family are engaged in a minimum of eight hours of literacy per week. Our school and archdiocese goal is that every student at our school becomes a competent reader. To attain this goal we teach through the modes of Reading and Viewing, Writing, Speaking and Listening.
Holy Family Infant staff are trained in InitialLit, a systematic synthetic phonics program that teaches our youngest learners to read and write. Our Primary staff are trained in Spelling Mastery and The Writing Revolution. Our class lessons are developed to combine these skill-based programs with specific comprehension instruction and reading fluency, leading the students to become successful readers and writers.
The curriculum taught within all grades is both sequential and spaced. Understanding checks for skills and knowledge are frequently sought during lessons and more formal assessments are completed at the end of each teaching cycle.
At Holy Family, we believe in an educational model that strengthens the growth and development of the whole child, outside of their academic focus in literacy and numeracy. We, therefore, believe that our specialist program is integral to the learning that all students will experience.
Our Specialist program is made up of;
Language- Indonesian & Latin
During 2023, Holy Family Primary School, along with MacKillop (our closest neighbouring secondary school) offer the language Latin. With the adoption of Latin at MacKillop College, our students are in a unique position where they are able to complete a language pathway through both their upper primary and secondary years of schooling.