Learning and Teaching

St Mary's holds close to our hearts, our core values of Learning, Justice, Love.  These values permeate a collaborative approach to learning and teaching at our schoool.  In 2023 we developed a Curriculum Framework that outlines our priorities for how we believe students learn best, identifying four key pillars that anchor what we do.  This work proudly represents a collaboration between parents, students, staff, the school executive team and the Parish.  It demonstrates our alignment as a community.

Each year a rigorous schedule of professional learning is developed for our staff, so that they have every opportunity to be contemporary educators that prepare our students for life long learning across all of the challenges of the current context.  Any initiatives that our school engages is have a solid research baseOur educators work collaboratively in teams so that all students in the grade benefit from the skills and talents of each colleague.  We uphold the minimum expectation that one year of learning must equal at least one year of growth for each of our students.

The professional standards for teaching provide a firm base for expectations of our profession.  The first standard, 'Know Students and how they Learn' drives the importance of really knowing our students.  At St Mary's 'our students are all our students' and we take collaborative responsibility for really knowing and understanding the children in our care.  We have developed a comprehensive schedule of assessment from K-6 to track our students' growth and offer differentiated learning to meet our students in their zone of proximal development (Vygotsky).  On a tour of St Mary's you will find a calm and focused environment where students have the opportunity to learn with and alongside their peers in a variety of modes.

We are fortunate to have bright, comfortable and inspiring spaces for learning, both in classrooms and in the playgrounds.  We are well-resourced, with students having access to a variety of devices and digital technologies as well as opportunities to express themselves through Creative and Performing Arts.  Our teachers regularly use our outdoor spaces as an extension of the classroom and children have ample opportunity for 'brain breaks', movement for  and exercise throughout the school day.

{! pdf_by_id;;3_____St__Mary's__Catholic__Primary__School__Orange,__Learning__Framework !}


All schools including St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Catholic Diocese of Bathurst, follow the same Kindergarten to Year 12 curriculum, with our Catholic values underpinning everything that we do. 

With a focus on the development of the whole person, curriculum offered at the school covers the NESA syllabus requirements, developing the core skills of literacy and numeracy as well as our Catholic Education Diocese of Bathurst Religious Education curriculum.

Our teachers extend and challenge students to be the best they can be, building responsibility while recognising the human uniqueness and sacred dignity of each student.  

Religious Education

Catholic Schools hold core Catholic beliefs as central to their mission. Such beliefs permeate all that is done in a Catholic School, including teaching and learning across the entire curriculum.

At St. Mary’s we believe that through Religious Education in our classrooms and in partnership with our parents and parish community, students will gain knowledge and understanding of the person of Jesus Christ and the traditions of the Catholic faith.

Curriculum areas have a spiritual dimension, inviting students where appropriate, to examine the world of human culture and the world of religion, exploring a just  worldview and fostering the search for meaning and truth. This religious dimension is given depth by the faith witness of staff through their presence, relationships and teaching.

Catholic Schools view Religious Education as a core curriculum area. As well as being an opportunity to develop knowledge and skills, values and dispositions, Religious Education in a Catholic School invites students into a relationship with their faith. "I came that they may have life and have it  abundantly". (John 10:10)

Students of all faith backgrounds are welcome at St Mary's and we value the richness of our diversity.  Regardless of their faith backgrounds, all students are asked to participate in the religious life of the school, including Religious Education classes.


In English ‘students learn to read, write, speak, view and represent language. They learn about the English language and literature through working with a wide range of spoken, visual, multimedia and digital texts. Students learn how language varies according to context, and how to communicate with a range of audiences for different purposes. They learn to read for information and pleasure. Students gain a sound grasp of language structures, punctuation, spelling and grammar. They also learn to think in ways that are imaginative, creative and critical.’ – NSW Education Standards Authority.

Literacy is the effective use of knowledge and skills to interpret and use language confidently for learning, communicating and engaging in a rapidly changing society. It involves the integration of listening, speaking, reading, viewing, creating, writing and critical thinking. These skills are applied in different curriculum areas for a variety of purposes.  High quality texts, in a wide variety of modes, are used as exemplars of language and literature.

{! pdf_by_id;;3_____Parent__Guide__to__the__NSW__Primary__Syllabuses !}


From Kindergarten to Year 6, Mathematics ‘focuses on developing students’ mathematical understanding, fluency, communication, reasoning and problem-solving through their study of Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, and Statistics and Probability. These capabilities enable students to respond to familiar and unfamiliar situations, using strategies to make decisions and solve problems relevant to their further education and everyday lives.’ – NSW Education Standards Authority. 

Numeracy is the effective use of Mathematics to meet the demands of daily learning and life. Numeracy takes place across the curriculum and throughout the school day in a variety of contexts.  At St Mary's we use a problem-solving approach to developing Mathematics knowledge, skills and understandings.  Students are encouraged to develop a repertoire of strategies to solve mathematics challenges.

{! pdf_by_id;;3_____Parent__Guide__to__the__NSW__Primary__Syllabuses !}

Science &Technology

The Science syllabus covers Science and Technology for Kindergarten to Year 6 students.

Science and Technology ‘fosters in students a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around them. Students are encouraged to embrace new concepts and to learn through trialling, testing and refining ideas. They are supported to participate responsibly in developing innovative ideas and solutions in response to questions and opportunities relevant to them and the world around them.’ – NSW Education Standards Authority.

Science & Technology offers an opportunity for meaningful cross-curricula links.  Our students use their Literacy and Numeracy skills widely when engaging in Scientific Writing, hypothesising and undertaking investigations.

{! pdf_by_id;;3_____Parent__Guide__to__the__NSW__Primary__Syllabuses !}

Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE - History and Geography)

Human Society and Its Environment ‘provides opportunities for students to explore the past and present to develop an understanding of their personal and community identity. They investigate the interactions between people, places and environments that shape their nation and world. They learn to participate in society as informed, responsible and active citizens.’ – NSW Education Standards Authority.

Students from Kindergarten to Year 6 learn History one semester and Geography the next.  Aborginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture and Traditions are included in these subjects and enhanced by the work of our Aboriginal Educator Officer, who helps us make these natural connections.  In 2023 St Mary's wrote our own Acknowledgement of Country to reflect the unique context of Orange on Wiradjuri Land.

{! pdf_by_id;;3_____Parent__Guide__to__the__NSW__Primary__Syllabuses !}

Creative Arts

Creative Arts ‘gives students experiences in the visual arts, music, drama and dance. They have opportunities to explore their creativity in each of these areas. Students learn to appreciate the meanings and values that each art form offers. They perform and express themselves through the visual arts, music, drama and dance.’ – NSW Education Standards Authority. 

Our Stage 3 students participate in the Diocesan Christmas Art Competition each year.  From 2024 St Mary's will regularly participate in local Eistedford competitions along with our annual engagement in the Country Women's Association Public Speaking Competitions.  All students participate in a weekly music lesson with a specialist Music Teacher and students in Stages 2 and 3 are offered tuition in strings (guitar), percussion and woodwind instruments facilitated by music teachers from the Orange Conservatorium of Music.  Through this, St Mary's is working towards having a musical ensemble.  Our choir engages in weekly sessions and performs in the Orange City Centre Santa's Arrival Parade.  In Term Four each year St Mary's engages a local dance company to facilitate a dance program for 7 weeks, culminating in an annual dance concert.

{! pdf_by_id;;3_____Parent__Guide__to__the__NSW__Primary__Syllabuses !}

Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE)

‘Through Personal Development, Health and Physical Education students develop self-management, interpersonal and movement skills to help them become empowered, self-confident and socially responsible citizens. The learning experiences in PDHPE provide students with a foundation to actively contribute to, and advocate for the health, safety and wellbeing of themselves and others in the community and beyond school. Students are provided with opportunities to participate in physical activity to develop movement skills and recognise the impact of physical activity on health and wellbeing.’ – NSW Education Standards Authority.  Each week St Mary's students participate in a specialist personal development and health lesson.  Students engage in a 'Real Talk' program for Years 4 - 6 in Term Three each year, focusing on personal development.

{! pdf_by_id;;3_____Parents__Guide__to__the__NSW__Primary__Syllabuses !}

Wellbeing: School specific programs

A student cannot learn to the best of their ability if their wellbeing is compromised.  Similarly a teacher cannot teach to the best of his/her ability is  their wellbeing is compromised. Therefore the wellbeing of our community must be of the highest priority at St Mary's. 

Open communication is prioritised at all levels along with transparency and opportunities are in place for feedback for staff, parents and carers and students.  Our parent group, the CaFE (Community and Family Engagement), honours the vitally important role of partnership for a child's educational success, and provides a vehicle for inclusion and welcoming at St Mary's.  Some of the ways we prioritise the wellbeing of our students are described below.

Wellbeing: Student Voice

We encourage and provide regular opportunities for 'student voice' to be heard.  One of the ways we honour student voice is through our Student Representative Council body, providing a direct line of communication from students through their elected peers to teachers and leadership.  Our Schoolwide Positive Behaviour for Learning structure allows us to communicate shared expectations for Safe, Responsible and Respectful Behaviour with the whole community and staff work hard to uphold consistency with our guidelines.  Each week there is a whole school focus on one of the expectations. Through a K-6 class dojo system, students are rewarded for behaviours that are in alignment with Safe, Responsible and Respectful behaviours and work towards a merit system of Bronze, Silver, Gold merits and St Mary's Awards.  On attainment at each level, students can select from a variety of rewards that have been identified by their peers.K/6 Buddy program

St Mary's also engages in a weekly VIBE (Valuable Insights, Behaviours and Engagement) survey for Stage Three students, designed to monitor levels of well-being and flag students who may need some support.  Students are well supported through a variety of models:  access to a school counsellor on referral, access to programs such as 'Seasons for Growth' and 'Cool Kids' Anxiety Program and initiatives led by the school Wellbeing Officer.  Staff engage in regular case management meetings to discuss the wellbeing needs of their classes.  There is close communication between the counsellor, teachers, learning support teacher, school leadership and parents.

Wellbeing: Kindergarten buddy system

St Mary's runs a Kindergarten buddy system between new Kindergarten students and the Year 6 students.  This commences in Term Four prior to school beginning for our newest students, with the current Year 5 students attending Kindergarten transition and playgroup sessions to get to know the children.

New Kindergarten students are buddies with Year 6 students in this program.  Strong bonds are formed between the students, helping to settle our new Kinders into the life of St Mary's.  Year 6 buddies regularly support Kindergarten students with activities such as art and craft, reading, sporting activities and the much loved 'Buddy Lunch' each week.

Wellbeing: Peer Support

St Mary's conducts a Peer Support Program in either Term Two or Term Three each year, depending on Curriculum commitments/nuances for that year.  Peer Support is nationally accredited program from Peer Support Australia and is backed by over 50 years of research on how to build strong relationships between students and consolidate school spirit, while building empathy and resilience for all participants. For more information please visit Peer Support Australia

Our Year 6 students attend a Peer Support Training Day during which they learn the intent and content of the program and how to run sessions with students from Kindergarten to Year 5.  One of the important advantages of the Peer Support Program is the opportunity provided to our Year Six students to develop their Leadership Skills.  The program runs in vertical groupings across the school for a period of 8 weeks.  Year Six students are carefully mentored by teachers to deliver this program.  A whole school celebration of Peer Support and relationships formed follows the eight week program.

Wellbeing: Lunchtime clubs

While we have extensive playground facilities at St Mary’s, we acknowledge the importance of providing various extracurricular options for students at lunchtime.  Our staff generously give up their break times to provide a wide variety of opportunities.  While these vary from term to term, this is an example of the Student Lunchtime Clubs on offer:







*Flight Club;

* Library  Yrs 3-6.

*Mini Vinnies ;

*Garden club ;

* Body Movement.

*Library Yrs K-2;

*Drawing Yrs 3-6;

*Stop Motion Yrs 3-6;

*Well Being club ;

*Lego/games Yrs 2.


* Kids Lit Club;

* SRC (Odd weeks).

*10 minutes of additional supervised play time for the winning house of the week!

 *Chess Club Yrs 3-6.