At Orchard Grove Primary School the students participate in five specialist subjects each week, these are Library, Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Physical Education and Spanish. The students are timetabled to participate in 40-minute specialist sessions.
Our school Library program encourages a love of books and reading. Boasting a fine collection of children’s literature, students and teachers access and borrow every week. Weekly lessons include author and illustrator investigations, understanding the information on a book, for example blurbs and about the author sections, the differences between fiction and non-fiction materials, how to research and then reference your work for the more senior students. Collections of books enable senior students to be part of a ‘lit circle’ program which enables them to discuss themes and ideas. The Library is open before and after school and at lunchtimes to allow for regular borrowing and to enjoy a quieter break with a book. Author visits during Book Week and a vibrant Book Fair are all part of the Library year.
STEM is the new Specialists offered in 2023. It covers the specific knowledge and skills found in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. In STEM students develop key skills including critical thinking & problem solving, creativity, teamwork – collaboration, initiative, communication and digital literacy. These skills foster resilience and allow students to learn life skills that can be applied in all areas of learning. At Orchard Grove PS we align the STEM program with classroom inquiry topics to enhance student understanding. They use the design thinking process which teaches the students to ask, imagine, plan/design, create, test and improve their design solutions. Through age appropriate tasks and challenges, students are given the opportunity for planning, investigating materials, components, tools, equipment and processes to respond to real world problems. We have a range of robots that are used for programming and engineering with all students from Foundation to Year 6.
Performing Arts is taught in one of our custom built performing arts spaces, which includes tiered seating and a stage. This allows for great possibility and opportunity. Our vibrant program caters for all levels of musical knowledge and skill and incorporates music, singing, dance and dramatic performance. Every student enjoys a variety of performing arts’ experiences, such as singing in massed year level choirs, devising and performing short plays, learning hip hop dancing and, in Year Four, an instrument. We have a fine collection of percussion and tuned instruments which are used regularly to support the program. Regular assembly presentations allow the students to experience performing to an audience and every second year the school produces a play featuring senior students. Visiting instrumental teachers provide lessons for a variety of instruments, and choirs rehearse and perform throughout the year.
Our Visual Arts program encourages creativity. The program provides for each age and stage, building skills and knowledge as the students journey through the school and through different art experiences. Boasting a well-resourced room including a kiln, the program supports the themes explored in class and in other areas of the school. For example, when the focus was on ‘Community” in Year Six, students created mosaics that were part of a Dementia Garden at a local community aged care facility. With the Rio Olympics, students created a Rio style float and mardi gras costumes in Art to support the special PE day. Visiting craftspeople and artists heighten the students’ appreciation and understanding of art techniques and styles. Visits to Galleries further enhance their learning. All areas of the art curriculum are covered and every tool is used from the pencil to the iPad to keep students in tune with current and classic creative skills.
Physical education lessons are taught weekly and from Foundation to Year Six, students participate in additional sport sessions run in their Year levels. The program is carefully planned to develop the students’ skills as they develop physically and to lead the students through fundamental movement skills to more complex game situations. A whole school athletics day, cross country day and swimming program feature across the year and students can strive to be part of district teams representing the school against other schools. Fair play and sportsmanship are key messages delivered during physical education sessions. Visiting clinics are organised and offered at every level. The school hall is a full-sized basketball court and we also have a multi-purpose netball and tennis court.
Spanish is the Language Other Than English offered at Orchard Grove Primary School. The program is carefully planned to introduce another language and another culture to the students. Weekly sessions practise greetings, simple sentence structures and vocabulary, allowing students to expand their knowledge and understandings and their confidence operating in another language. With such close links to many words used by the students in English, Spanish is a very accessible language and the speed with which the students acquire the language makes it a positive experience, paving the way for further language study in secondary school.