Lower primary curriculum overview
Year One to Three (Ages 3 to 5)
The Australian Curriculum is designed to develop successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens. It is presented as a progression of learning from Foundation - Year 10 that makes clear to teachers, parents, students and others in the wider community what is to be taught, and the quality of learning expected of young people as they progress through school.
Students bring to school a wide range of experiences, abilities, needs and interests. They have a natural curiosity about their world. Their desire to make sense of the world provides a platform to plan and review their learning through interactions with others, experimentation, scaffolding, explicit teaching, practice and play in the classroom and beyond.
In the Lower Primary, the development of sensory, cognitive and affective appreciation of the world is provided through exploratory, analytical and creative practices in The Arts and Technologies curricula, and through the opportunity to learn a language using the Languages curricula.
The Australian Curriculum builds on the key learning outcomes as described below.
Year One and Two
Literacy and numeracy development are given priority because these are the foundations on which further learning is built. The foundation for the Literacy general capability is built primarily in English; and the foundation for the Numeracy general capability is built primarily in Mathematics. However, both Literacy and Numeracy capabilities are reinforced and strengthened through learning in all areas of the curriculum.
English curriculum engages students with listening, reading, viewing, speaking and writing activities for various purposes and contexts. It supports students to create and enjoy a range of literature. It presents explicit strategies for beginning reading and writing, spelling and expanding students’ vocabulary. The English curriculum expands students’ understanding of the conventions of spoken and written language use at home, at school, socially and in other contexts to promote skills and interest in language and its use and importance.
Mathematics curriculum develops a sense of number, order, sequence, pattern and position, using the students’ environment. It introduces mathematical symbols and language to communicate and explain mathematical ideas; it presents simple strategies to pose basic mathematical questions and to investigate and solve simple, concrete problems.
The development of movement skills, and social and emotional skills through physical play, and the development of knowledge and skills to help keep students safe, healthy and active are provided for in the Health and Physical Education curriculum. Purposeful exploration in personal and familiar contexts provides an opportunity for students to harness their curiosity about people, places and how their world works, as they develop skills in inquiry and investigation in Science, and Humanities and Social Sciences.
Year 3 assists students to develop their ability to take positive action for well-being; relate and communicate well with others; pose questions and solve problems; make informed decisions and act responsibly. It engages students more purposefully with the discipline, knowledge, understanding and skills learning areas of the Australian Curriculum.
Literacy and numeracy are again prioritised. The curriculum further builds the essential knowledge and skills in literacy, consolidating ‘learning to read and write’ through English, as well as increasingly using literacy skills for ‘reading and writing to learn’ in other learning areas. Similarly, the curriculum continues to progress the development of specific mathematical skills and knowledge, and uses these skills in learning across the curriculum to both enrich the study of other learning areas and contribute to the development of broader and deeper numeracy skills. The development of Information and Communication Technology Capability is more apparent across the curriculum at this level.
The English curriculum provides opportunities to develop further understanding of grammar and language, and the skills to articulate this knowledge. More complex punctuation, clause and sentence structures, textual purposes and patterns are introduced, as are skills for classifying word, sentence and text structure and the metalanguage to communicate these ideas. Students engage with different forms (narrative, prose, plays and film) and purposes of written and spoken language to develop their skills for text creation.
The Mathematics curriculum extends key understandings of number, patterns and relationships, measurement and geometry, and statistics. The introduction of fractions and decimals is important; it represents a key challenge for students at this stage. While relevant mathematics and active and concrete experiences remain important, there is an increasing use of models, pictures and symbols to represent and communicate mathematical ideas.
The Science curriculum focuses on recognising questions of interest that can be investigated scientifically and investigating them in an increasingly systematic way. Skills and techniques to conduct a fair test using variables, accurate measurement and the idea of cause and effect, and evidence and explanation are highlighted.
The Humanities and Social Sciences curriculum continues to draw on students’ growing experience of community and the wider world to develop their understanding of the world, its systems, and students’ relationship to other people, places and systems, past and present. Methodical investigation using observations and concrete information sources offers opportunities to develop skills of inferring, prediction, reflection and generalisation, which enhance conceptual development.
An increasing range of movement activities, including more specialised movement skills, structured games, fitness and challenge and adventure activities, is introduced in the Health and Physical Education curriculum. Critical and creative thinking is encouraged in both movement and health by questioning contextual factors. The focus of social and emotional skill development broadens to working effectively with others, understanding and valuing diversity, challenging stereotypes, managing change and negotiating roles and responsibilities.
The Arts curriculum in Year 3 introduces description and interpretation of art works across dance, drama, media arts, music and visual arts. It introduces and develops knowledge and use of subject-specific skills and techniques, and uses these in the production of artworks, including performance. The Arts in the primary years encourages engagement with local artworks and those from further afield.
The Technologies curriculum, in Year 3 Design and Technologies, introduces a systematic approach for students to design, produce and evaluate a range of designed solutions in at least three technologies contexts, considering sustainability and future use. In Digital Technologies, there is a focus on knowledge and understanding of data, digital systems and their interactions; and computational thinking skills and their application to design and implementation of digital solutions.
The Languages curricula enable the continued study of additional languages throughout primary school. In Year 3, the curricula build on earlier stages of oracy and literacy development. Students begin to translate and interpret familiar and unfamiliar texts, to analyse how a language works and to understand the dynamic relationship that exists between communication, culture and context.