Curriculum

Kindergarten

At Balmoral Community College, the Kindergarten focus is on the whole child and everyone works to support each individual’s social, emotional, intellectual and physical self. The Kindergarten values the promotion of children’s self-esteem and the fostering of fundamental foundations that they will need for later life.

Strategies include:
-    The fostering of an atmosphere of mutual respect.
-    Diversity and the advocacy of community awareness.
-    The belief that children learn through active, concrete exploration of the world around them, play.
-    The aim to build resourcefulness and adaptability.
-    The provision of open ended experiences that prompt creativity, socialisation, communication, problem-solving and exploration.
-    The encouragement of children to follow through with their interests.

The key to all this is fun! When children are having fun they develop enthusiasm for learning, curiosity about the world around them, tolerance and awareness of others and above all a positive image of themselves.

The Kindergarten program is flexible and responds to children’s ideas yet also includes the careful planning of experiences, resources and strategies to enable children to engage in processes of exploration, investigation, problem solving and discovery in collaboration of others. Staff encourage the children to choose their own playmates and develop their own ideas and learning by providing time for uninterrupted play.

The program is enriched by regularly incorporating skills and information provided by parents and members of the community.

P-4 Curriculum: The Early Years

At Balmoral Community College, the curriculum in the Prep-4 years is focussed heavily on the areas of Literacy and Numeracy. Two sessions each day involve writing and reading followed by Numeracy sessions. Parents play an integral and active role in the classroom reading activities through the “Parent Helpers” program by working with teachers and students within the classroom setting. An information session for parent helpers is run early in Term 1 each year for prospective parent helpers. The Reading Recovery Program engages students who are identified as benefiting from an intensive one on one language program to develop reading, writing and spelling skills and knowledge. Experienced, specialist staff operate this program.

From the beginning of their schooling students are encouraged to use the library facilities to borrow books. To accommodate this students have access to the library during allocated library sessions and at certain lunchtimes. At the beginning of each year all students are involved in a swimming program using the town’s swimming pool facility. The swimming program for Yr 3 to 6, where possible, will consist of a one week program and that the P-2 swimming program will be at the start or the end of the school year determined by the number of qualified instructors and volunteer helpers to run both programs. These programs then culminates in the Balmoral Community College Swimming Carnivals.

Students are allocated to one of three house teams: Glenelg, Mitchell or Henty. In the first semester the students participate in swimming and athletic sports and a cross-country event conducted around part of the town.

Art, Physical Education, and Music are specialist classes that each class visits each week. Within each classroom there are computers available for students to use and classes are also allocated a weekly session in the modern computer laboratory to develop their computing skills.

5-8 Curriculum: The Middle Years

To ensure that students are challenged by the curriculum, they are supported in their quest to explore beyond their current areas of interest and to strive for in-depth learning. Students are encouraged to comprehend issues from a number of perspectives and in a way that constructs connections with previous learning. Students are taught skills that enable them to think their way through problems and issues that have an effect on themselves, their community and the wider world. To achieve this:

•    The curriculum is designed to increase the level of complexity of student research, response and problem solving.
•    Students are educated in the use of a range of ‘thinking tools’ and taught how to take responsibility for their own learning. They learn how to learn.
•    As they move through the unit students have greater access to a negotiated curriculum in which they choose some of the learning outcomes and topics that they wish to explore. This increases the level of student engagement, based on personal interest and involvement.
•    Information and Communication Technology is infused into, and integrated into the curriculum, providing powerful opportunities to share and access personal and global learning.

The 5-8 Middle Years curriculum is designed around an Inquiry based learning model. The use of Information Technology is used to engage students and link them with the global classroom.

9-10 Curriculum: Pathways and VET

Students in years nine and ten study various curriculum units each semester. To assist students in their selection of units a student Pathways handbook is published each year. The handbook provides important information on the unit selection process, prerequisites and the unit descriptions. Students’ selection of work units is monitored twice a year by a counselling process during which each student meets with a teacher to discuss their courses. Parents are seen as an integral part of this process and are encouraged to attend counselling sessions.

 

(VCE) THE VICTORIAN CERTIFICATE OF EDUCATION

 

Year eleven and twelve students follow a full VCE course, most students taking six units each semester in year eleven and five units each semester in year twelve. Detailed handbooks containing a description of all subjects being offered are distributed to students during the second semester. Information sessions for students and families are also held. Individual counselling is also undertaken to assist students in making their choices.

 

(VET)  VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING

 

 VCE VET programs are vocational studies approved by the VCAA as appropriate for senior secondary students. VCE VET programs lead to a nationally recognised qualification, thereby offering students the opportunity to gain both the VCE and a nationally portable vocational education training certificate. VCE VET programs are fully recognised within the unit 1-4 structure of the VCE and therefore may contribute towards satisfactory completion of the VCE.

VCE VET units have equal status with other VCE studies.

In addition to VCE Vet subjects students can undertake, VET programs or School Based New Apprenticeships. In a School Based New Apprenticeship (SBNA) students are assessed in the workplace and need to be employed on an average of fifteen hours per week.
Studies where students have currently undertaken programs in these areas include: Hairdressing, Hospitality, Sport & Recreation, Information Technology, Business (Office Administration), Agriculture.

 

(VCAL) VICTORIAN CERTIFICATE OF APPLIED LEARNING

 

The VCAL qualification aims to provide the skills, knowledge and attitudes to enable students to make informed choices regarding pathways to work and further education. Personal development, the utilisation of a student’s particular interests and new pathways for senior secondary students in the context of applied learning are underpinning principles of the VCAL.

The VCAL certificate at each level recognises completion of a senior secondary qualification and primarily prepares students for further studies at the next VCAL level in VCE and in VET and/ or employment.

The VCAL has four curriculum areas, called strands. These strands are: Literacy and Numeracy, Industry specific skills, work related skills and personal development skills.