Student Learning

Victorian Curriculum

The Victorian Curriculum sets out what every student should learn at school. The curriculum is the common set of knowledge and skills required by students for life-long learning, social development and active and informed citizenship. It includes the Learning Areas for English, Mathematics, Science, The Humanities, The Arts, Health and Physical Education, Languages and Technologies and provides a single, complete set of common state-wide standards which schools use to plan student learning programs, assess student progress and report to parents.

The English program at Ruskin Park Primary School is designed to cater for the individual needs of our students. Our goal is to improve their literacy skills in three key areas reading, writing, speaking and listening in line with Victorian F-10 curriculum. We focus upon fostering the development of skills which will enable our students to become productive individuals who can confidently communicate in a variety of settings.


The Early Years Literacy Program at Ruskin Park Primary School includes:

  • A structured and balanced classroom program focusing upon the development of reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.
  • Ongoing monitoring and assessment of all students which assists the classroom teacher to plan a program that explicitly caters for the needs of each student
  • Explicit teaching of skills appropriate to each level
  • Additional assistance for students in our Literacy Support Program
  • Parent education, involvement and committment
  • Ongoing professional development for teachers

Junior School

In the Junior school, we conduct a two hour literacy block daily in line with the Early Years Philosophy. The major focus is upon the development of reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. Each child is carefully monitored and grouped to allow for the explicit teaching of skills thus ensuring we are catering for their individual needs.

Language experience activities provide a purpose for reading and writing daily. Phonological awareness is of paramount importance at this level as it provides the foundation for reading, writing and the development of spelling skills. Cued Articulation is introduced in all junior grades to enhance the letter/sound relationship and spelling combinations.

Students are encouraged to write regularly, to develop their ability to write a variety of text types such as recounts, retells, procedural texts and narratives. Their efforts are acknowledged and celebrated in sharing time. We also encourage students to accept responsibility for editing their written work and praise their efforts.

Middle School

At this level the English program aims to provide meaningful opportunities for students to become confident, competent and voluntary readers, writers, speakers and listeners.

Students are explicitly taught strategies that will enhance their reading comprehension skills.

In writing they explore a greater range of text types, grammar and spelling rules using a variety of resources such as a Thrass chart. Our students are encouraged to accept responsibility for editing their written work. They are encouraged to offer constructive feedback to their peers using rubrics with the aim to improve the quality of their written work.

Senior School

The senior school’s English program is designed to continue to strengthen the student’s skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening. They explore a greater variety of texts to broaden their knowledge and to challenge their skills.

Writing is an important facet of the program and students are encouraged to select and use a variety of text types to express their opinions and to present information. Students at this level study and produce a variety of text types, develop grammar, proof reading and drafting skills.

Speech Club is an effective and engaging facet of the program at this level fostering the development of successful speaking and listening skills. Presentations of personalised projects, research, and stories enables students to develop confidence and an ability to use various techniques to engage their audience and express their views and ideas.

The Mathematics program at Ruskin Park Primary School is designed to cater for the individual needs of our students. Our goal is to improve numeracy skills in AusVELS areas of:




  • Number and Algebra
  • Measurement and Geometry
  • Statistics and Probability

We focus upon fostering the development of skills which will enable our students to have the essential knowledge skills and behaviours to become productive individuals.

Approaches to Teaching and Learning of Mathematics at Ruskin Park Primary School includes:

  • A structured and balanced classroom program
  • Ongoing monitoring and assessment of all students which assists the classroom teacher to plan a program that explicitly caters for the needs of each student
  • Explicit teaching of skills appropriate to each level
  • Ongoing professional development for teachers


The QuickSmart mathematical program is now in it’s third year of operation, catering primarily to Level 4 students. This intervention program focuses on the student’s ability to instantly recall tables and number facts. This knowledge allows these students to complete more complex tasks involving number and computation.

Students are on the program for 30 weeks. The program uses flash cards, worksheets and computer based software and interaction to reinforce their learning of tables and number facts.

The students have three thirty-minute sessions per week with the same tutor and are placed in like pairs.

This program which is currently being used throughout Australia has demonstrated significant improved outcomes for the children involved.


During this study, students learnt to collect and analyse data. A question was composed to commence the inquiry and then results were collected and displayed as a tally and a pie or line graph. Observations were then made from the results. Below are some of examples of the work done by students.


These following websites are useful to assistance children’s mathematical development:

CERES Project

Since 2013, Ruskin Park Primary School commenced participation in the CERES Program. As part of the CERES program, the school has gradually been working towards the completion of the first two stars for the ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic 5Star Sustainability Certification. ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic is a Victorian Government initiative that helps schools benefit from embedding sustainability in everything they do such as sustainable living – minimising waste, saving energy and water, improving biodiversity and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Through the program, the school community will continue to identify practices in becoming a more sustainable school and developing students’ knowledge of sustainable practices in the school.

More information about CERES can be found here

Ruskin Park Primary School participates in Tree Planting Day. Students have been involved in planting a variety of native trees in the school grounds, promoting the need for trees and vegetation in the environment.

Ruskin Park Primary School offers students the opportunity to participate in Garden Club. The thriving Garden Club provides students with educational knowledge on a range of subjects including composting, mulching, planting, etc. Garden Club is run by a group of dedicated parents who provide students with knowledge and passion for providing sustainable means in the school grounds.

Science Understanding

Science understanding is evident when a person selects and integrates appropriate science knowledge to explain and predict phenomena, and applies that knowledge to new situations. Science knowledge refers to facts, concepts, principles, laws, theories and models that have been established by scientists over time.

The Science Understanding strand comprises four sub-strands. The content is described by level.

Biological sciences

The biological sciences sub-strand is concerned with understanding living things. The key concepts developed within this sub-strand are that: a diverse range of living things have evolved on Earth over hundreds of millions of years; living things are interdependent and interact with each other and their environment; and the form and features of living things are related to the functions that their body systems perform. Through this sub-strand, students investigate living things, including animals, plants, and micro-organisms, and their interdependence and interactions within ecosystems. They explore their life cycles, body systems, structural adaptations and behaviours, how these features aid survival, and how their characteristics are inherited from one generation to the next. Students are introduced to the cell as the basic unit of life and the processes that are central to its function.

Chemical sciences

The chemical sciences sub-strand is concerned with understanding the composition and behaviour of substances. The key concepts developed within this sub-strand are that: the chemical and physical properties of substances are determined by their structure at an atomic scale; and that substances change and new substances are produced by rearranging atoms through atomic interactions and energy transfer. In this sub-strand, students classify substances based on their properties, such as solids, liquids and gases, or their composition, such as elements, compounds and mixtures. They explore physical changes such as changes of state and dissolving, and investigate how chemical reactions result in the production of new substances. Students recognise that all substances consist of atoms which can combine to form molecules, and chemical reactions involve atoms being rearranged and recombined to form new substances. They explore the relationship between the way in which atoms are arranged and the properties of substances, and the effect of energy transfers on these arrangements.

Earth and space sciences

The Earth and space sciences sub-strand is concerned with Earth’s dynamic structure and its place in the cosmos. The key concepts developed within this sub-strand are that: Earth is part of a solar system that is part of a larger universe; and Earth is subject to change within and on its surface, over a range of timescales as a result of natural processes and human use of resources. Through this sub-strand, students view Earth as part of a solar system, which is part of a galaxy, which is one of many in the universe and explore the immense scales associated with space. They explore how changes on Earth, such as day and night and the seasons relate to Earth’s rotation and its orbit around the sun. Students investigate the processes that result in change to Earth’s surface, recognising that Earth has evolved over 4.5 billion levels and that the effect of some of these processes is only evident when viewed over extremely long timescales. They explore the ways in which humans use resources from the Earth and appreciate the influence of human activity on the surface of the Earth and the atmosphere.

Physical sciences

The physical sciences sub-strand is concerned with understanding the nature of forces and motion, and matter and energy. The two key concepts developed within this sub-strand are that: forces affect the behaviour of objects; and that energy can be transferred and transformed from one form to another. Through this sub-strand students gain an understanding of how an object’s motion (direction, speed and acceleration) is influenced by a range of contact and non-contact forces such as friction, magnetism, gravity and electrostatic forces. They develop an understanding of the concept of energy and how energy transfer is associated with phenomena involving motion, heat, sound, light and electricity. They appreciate that concepts of force, motion, matter and energy apply to systems ranging in scale from atoms to the universe itself.

Inquiry learning is an approach to teaching which is characterised by:




  • asking questions, building on prior knowledge and encouraging students to make their own discoveries
  • finding out information from primary sources to answer generative questions and develop deep conceptual understandings
  • making connections between ideas, learning domains and experiences.
  • Students move through six stages/area of inquiry learning:

Tuning in: providing experiences for the children surrounding the topic. Activities will engage students’ interest, allow students to make personal connections with the topic, and arouse student curiosity.

Preparing: to Find Out/Finding out: At this stage, student knowledge should be established and a focus should be provided for future learning. Activities at this stage should continue to stimulate students’ interest and curiosity, challenge students’ knowledge, beliefs and values and raise questions to explore in the future.

Sorting out: Students are provided with opportunities to process and sort out and represent information and ideas discovered in the previous stage.

Going further/Making connection: Students’ knowledge is extended and challenged and more information is provided to broaden students’ understandings. Teachers help students to draw conclusions about what they have learnt, and provide opportunities for reflection on what has been learnt, and the learning process itself.

Taking action: Students are given opportunities to act upon what they have learnt.

The benefits of using an inquiry approach in each of the programs – (integrated, discipline/subject-based and extended) are significant because this approach:

  • considers the connections across learning areas, as well as the way that individual students learn
  • allows learning to be more relevant, as concepts are learned in context and relate to existing knowledge
  • requires that content is relevant, integrating multiple aspects/concepts simultaneously
  • provides students in secondary schools with an understanding behind vocational training and links schools to the wider community and jobs in the workplace
  • assists in the management of a crowded curriculum as it combines a number of expected outcomes into rich assessment tasks whilst enabling skills to be developed in context and across domains
  • provides students with meaningful links between activities, rather than jumping from ‘subject’ to ‘subject’ with little contextual relevance
  • supports students to become autonomous learners


Fun for Kids:

Focus on Inquiry PDF

Focus on Inquiry


All our new Foundation students are supported to successfully settle into their classes and gain confidence in their new school setting as they explore a range of new learning experiences. During the first term, all Foundation students participate in a unit, which focuses on the concepts of identify and personal self-image. The aim is to develop the student’s confidence so they are willing to take risks and engage in the learning experiences offered. Through games and a range of activity, students gain an understanding of the importance of persistence and are supported to build strong bonds with their peers and teachers.

Foundation Level Programs are:

Daily Literacy Program:

Reading: Students are supported in small teaching groups to acquire basic reading skills such as: left to right orientation of text, strategies for reading unfamiliar words, sight words recognition and comprehension.

Writing: Students are immersed in a range of writing activities to explore different genres such as recount, narratives and simple letter writing. During these sessions teachers model writing strategies and provide a language rich classroom environment. Students have a chance to celebrate their writing daily on the Author’s Chair, where they receive feedback from their peers.

Handwriting: All students are supported to develop their letter and number formations in line with the Victorian Cursive Script.

Spelling Program: A major emphasis is upon developing the student’s ability to recall the name and sound for both upper and lower case letters of the alphabet. Students apply this knowledge when they are writing unfamiliar words.

Phonological Awareness Intervention Program: Students will be involved in a 16 week program which reinforces the initial, final and medial sounds in words and develops their word attack skills.

Daily Mathematics Program:
At the Foundation level we explore Mathematical concepts through the use of hands on concrete materials and connections to real life experiences. The activities offered develop an interest in Mathematics and their ability to problem solve. At the Foundation level we explore Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry and Statistics and Probability.

The Inquiry Approach:
Students in the Foundation year are engaged in inquiry units related to the concepts of Identity and Community, Living Things, Design and History. For further details about the Inquiry Approach, click here. 

This program focuses upon the development of fundamental motor skills such as throwing, catching, jumping and balancing. It builds upon each child’s developing gross motor skills. Parent helpers are encouraged to support the students during P.M.P.

Better Buddies
All Foundation students are partnered with a responsible Year 6 student and each pair works together to complete organised activities on a regular basis. Through this program the children involved learn the values of: caring for others, friendliness, respect, valuing difference, including others, and responsibility.

Supporting your child’s learning at home:

  • Read to and with your child daily, discussing their understanding of the text
  • Talk about the letters, words and numbers your child sees when shopping, on television, in books and on computer screens
  • Encourage your child’s curiosity by asking questions in return
  • Take your child to your local library and choose books together
  • Encourage your child to write for different purposes such as notes, shopping lists and birthday cards.
  • Play games with your child to reinforce concepts introduced in the classroom.

Junior School – Years One & Two

This year, Junior School is home to 5 classes of super learners:

  • 1A   –  Ms Jones
  • 1D   –  Mrs Dickinson
  • 1J   –   Mrs Jinks
  • 2C  –   Ms Clarke
  • 2D  –   Ms Doensen
  • 2E  –   Mrs Edwards

Our whole school goal is for all students to achieve high standards in literacy and numeracy through explicit teaching and offering students a personalised program to cater to their individual learning needs based on the Victorian Curriculum. Students engage in creating and exploring through inquiry based learning opportunities as well. The specific and relevant use of IT tools such as iPods, iPads and desktop computers supports all areas of the Junior School curriculum. Every class is equipped with an interactive electronic whiteboard to cater for visual and auditory learning styles. Flexible break-out learning spaces provide a learning environment conducive to enhancing creativity and personalising learning for every student.


All classes provide literacy groups to ensure each student is targeted in their zone of proximal development. Literacy groups involve activities such as Guided Reading with the teacher, listening to reading posts, comprehension activities, making role plays, hands on spelling activities, ICT activities and class novel literacy study. Students are provided with rich writing tasks, which relate to real world experiences and are supported in extending their creativity and imagination. << In this photo students were exploring procedural texts by making butter. Students enjoyed tasting the butter with some biscuits after their writing lesson.


Level 2 teachers endeavour to explore Maths through hands on learning experiences. They explore shapes outside the classroom, maps of the school and community, use water and jugs to explore volume, and use a variety of materials for fractions, length, mass and number. In this photo students were exploring three dimensional shape characteristics. >>


Level 2 students participate in water safety and swimming lessons each year. Students are grouped according to the swimming ability and are taught by a team of trained swimming instructors. This is a valuable and enjoyable experience for all our students.

Middle School – Years Three & Four

Our Middle School teachers are:

  • 3C   –  Mrs Cutcliffe
  • 3J   –   Ms Campion
  • 4B   –  Mr Bell
  • 4C   –  Miss Cochrane
  • 4M   –  Ms McKerrow

Students at this level participate in a number of special learning activities throughout the year such as:

– Swimming Program

– Camping Experience (Year 4)

– BGreat @ Being You Program


Students in level three enjoy learning about science! They learn the process of predicting, observing and analysing what actually happens after an experiment is conducted. The latest experiment included the heat of a candle flame as well as a balloon filled with a little bit of water. What do you think happened?


Our Year 3 and 4 students compete in a level 3 sport session each week run by the classroom teachers (separate from their specialist run PE class). During this time classes compete in good spirits against each other in a round robin format.

Students are involved in a wide array of physical activities at Ruskin Park Primary School including cross country, athletics, Hooptime basketball, swimming, team and individual sports.

The skills of these activities are appropriately taught to students to support their understanding and development. High priority is placed on teaching appropriate social skills of competing with good sportsmanship.

Senior School – Years Five & Six

The Senior School teachers are:

  • Year 5O       –  Ms O’Halloran
  • Year 5P      –   Mrs Pratley
  • Year 6C      –   Mr Coffin
  • Year 6M      –   Ms Marshall

Senior students are expected to act as role models for the younger children. The students’ voice is highly valued and there are many opportunities throughout the year for students to develop and try out their leadership skills.

All Year 6 students are partnered to mentor a Prep child as part of the Better Buddies Program. This program aims to develop empathy, responsibility and a caring attitude in a mutually beneficial and positive paired learning partnership.

Year 6 Transition

Year 5 and 6 students will be involved in various transition activities throughout the year. This includes representatives from several schools attending Ruskin Park for information sessions and an excursion to some of the local secondary schools.

The Year 6 students will be expected to complete and submit their Application for Enrolment forms during May 2019 for their choice of Secondary school in 2020.


In the last week of 2019 the Grade 6 students will be attending their Graduation Ceremony. Parents and students can mingle in the gardens of the school for photographs before the students and staff head into the gymnasium for a beautiful spit roast dinner prior to the official presentations.

Following the dinner event, parents were invited to join us for the formal Graduation Ceremony where the students receive their certificates. It is always a memorable evening.


Music Specialist Teacher: Ms Davies

Hello and welcome to the Ruskin Park Primary “Music” page. In Music there are many opportunities for your child to shine, whether this be through exploring our wide range of percussion instruments, dancing and singing or simply being part of the enjoyable musical activities that are taught by our Music specialist. The Music Room is a bright and fun space to be in, where everyone has the opportunity to grow and express themselves freely.

Here at Ruskin Park Primary, we aim to build every student’s confidence and overall success, by developing skills in listening, reading and playing music. Our school has a strong tradition in performing, and we work hard to provide our students with plenty of opportunities to create and make, respond and explore. We run incursions that bring in musicians and performers to enhance musical learning. Every year the whole school takes part in country-wide initiatives such as “Count Us In” and “Harmony Day.” The whole school community works together to produce a concert that shows at Yarra Valley Performing Arts Centre biannually.

Ruskin Park Primary currently runs two choirs, the Senior Choir (3-6) and Junior Choir (P-2), who are kept very busy. We also have a fantastic rock band, run by one of our expert instrumental music teachers from Creative Music. These groups are regularly fulfilling the role of being the school’s ambassadors. All groups give many performances inside and outside of the school and rehearse on a weekly basis throughout the year. They make us very proud.

Creative Music offers instrumental music lessons at RPPS during school time on a wide range of instruments – guitar, piano, drums, voice, saxophone, flute, clarinet





Instrumental music lessons

Instrumental music lessons are also provided on a variety of instruments from experienced instructors through Creative Music In Schools.

The school values the excellent teaching and support of our two Creative Music teachers Ann and Stuart.


Mr. Brown – Japanese Teacher

All students in the school study Japanese LOTE for one hour a week. Japanese classes are held in the school Library precinct.

The Prep students learn mainly cultural Japanese but from year one to year six the students are taught to read, write, and speak in Japanese.

The students work through ten colour card levels starting at white and working through to black.

Interested parents also get an opportunity to study Japanese during evening classes run at designated times during the year.

Ruskin Park Primary School is a recipient of the ‘Schools of the 21st Century ‘Studies of Asia’ program and there is an ongoing focus to develop Asia-literate students. Motivating and engaging students through their involvement in events such as Japanese cultural days and Asia Nights supports this focus.

Each year we seek to invite a Japanese Intern to work with Mr. Brown in our Japanese program.

Physical Education

Mr. Lachlan McDonald
Physical Education Specialist Teacher:

Ruskin Park Primary School has a comprehensive Physical Education Program. Some of the features include

  • A weekly Perceptual Motor Program for all Foundation Children commencing in Term 2.
  • A swimming program focussing on water safety for Year 1 children through to Grade 6. The children visit the Croydon Indoor Aquatic Centre for lessons.
  • The children in Level 4 (Yr 5 & 6) participate in Inter-School Sport as part of the schools membership of the Montrose District Primary Schools Sports Association. This provides the opportunity for the children to participate in Athletics, Cross Country, Cricket, Softball,Soccer, Football and Netball.
  • Other programs include Bike Education for our senior students, After School Basketball Competition, Kelly Sports (an after school activity), and access to local Tennis and Athletic facilities.


Art plays an integral role at Ruskin Park Primary School with every student participating in our program. Students are encouraged to experiment with different mediums and tools and are encouraged to build skills and expand their interests in the program, while also being challenged. The experience and activities are based around the Australian curriculum making sure our students are learning all the right things.

The curriculum is also based around events and celebrations that take place around our calendar and we even incorporate our language program into our art program by looking at Japanese art.

Each year there is a full school exhibition where every student has the opportunity to bring loved one’s and share in their artistic achievements. Throughout the year the student’s work will also be exhibited around the school, either in hallways, outside the art room, or in the school reception area.

Homework Club

To meet the needs of our students to speak English as an Additional Language, we have created a Homework Club which is conducted after school each Thursday afternoon. We have a number of dedicated teaching staff who volunteer their time to support the development and understanding of the English Language for these students. This club is open for students from Prep to Grade 6, and incorporates language experiences and individual homework support.

We have been working in partnership with the Centre for Multicultural Youth, who have generously funded this program with the intention of building relationships between non-English speaking families and the school.