Specialist Learning Areas

At St Catherine’s we encourage the natural curiosity of our students and support them to become lifelong learners, equipped with the necessary skills to solve problems in a contemporary world.

The disciplines explored through our specialist classes play a crucial role in providing opportunities for our students to become confident learners who appreciate Every student at our school learns to develop and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, practices and attitudes to be an engaged, robust digital citizen capable of shaping our future in the increasingly globalised and interconnected 21st Century.

In addition to the core curriculum, St Catherine's School runs specialist classes which are typically provided to all students for 40 minutes per week.

Specialist Classes

Once a week students enjoy Specialist classes in the areas of:

  • Physical Education
  • Languages- Ausland Prep -year 3 & Japanese year 4-6 
  • Performing Arts 
  • STEM (Science, Technology,Engineering and Maths)
  • Visual and Media Arts
  • Science

Physical Education

Participation in Physical Education is an important part of the education journey for students at St Catherine's School. The Physical Education program places a strong emphasis on developing fundamental motor skills, strategies in game situations as well as physical fitness.

Prep students participate in activities that improve their essential motor skills. These activities are aimed at developing fitness, balance, hand eye co-ordination, spatial awareness and body control. Learning opportunities are designed to develop fine and gross motor skills through mini games and activities.

The students in Years 1 and 2 build on their existing fundamental motor skills. They learn new skills that they practise when participating in minor games.

In Years 3 to 6 the students work on mastering fundamental motor skills. They focus on developing game sense and learn strategies that will enhance their skills, when playing a variety of sports. They develop their ability to perform skills under pressure.


Students from Years 3 to 6 compete in Swimming, Cross Country and Athletics Competitions, where they have the opportunity to represent the school and compete against other schools at the District, Division, Regional and State levels.

Year 5/6 students participate in Interschool Sport during Term 1 and 2 competing against schools in our district area. They have a choice of participating in one of six different sports each term. Weekly training sessions take place to hone skills and practise strategies used in game situations.

Each year the Year 6 students participate in a Hooptime Basketball competition.

Fitness sessions take place before school on specified days, focusing on improving fitness while incorporating different sports into the sessions.

LOTE (Japanese)

The Language Other Than English program (LOTE) taught at St Catherine's School is Japanese. The core focus of the program is to expose the students to learning and communicating in a language other than English and to develop intercultural knowledge and language awareness.

The major focus is to help students to see themselves as global citizens of the future with greater sensitivity and a deeper understanding of the Japanese people, their language and culture.

Students are encouraged to practice conversational language, and to identify and imitate culturally appropriate language. The students repeat words and learn to ask and answer questions related to themselves, building a personal profile in Japanese. Students are also encouraged to join in songs, dance and art projects and be able to demonstrate awareness into the immersion of the Japanese language and culture.

Participation in Japanese enables students to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills to: 

  • communicate in the language they are learning
  • understand the relationship between language, culture and learning
  • develop intercultural capabilities
  • understand themselves as communicators.

Performing Arts

The Visual Arts program incorporates both art making and art appreciation in association with developing a visual arts language. Arts specialists take weekly lessons across the school where students learn to explore their creativity and imagination through a skills based visual arts program. Clear instructions on the correct use of tools, materials and techniques support the process of art making. Over the course of the year, students experiment with a variety of media including painting, drawing, construction, textiles, modelling and collage.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)

STEM is a fundamental part of the Victorian Curriculum. This includes the learning areas of Science, Design  Technologies, Digital Technologies, and Mathematics as well as cross-curricular capabilities such as ethical, critical, and creative thinking.

Young children experience rapid brain development and acquire skills at a faster rate than at any other time in life. Children have a natural curiosity to explore the world around them. An emphasis on developing STEM skills in the early years encourages children to feel positive and enthusiastic about STEM, leading to interest and achievement later in life.  It is predicted that careers of the future will utilise many of the skills taught in STEM from an early age. 

At St Catherine's STEM involves;

  • asking questions
  • working together
  • thinking creatively
  • solving problems
  • exploring and taking calculated risks
  • testing solutions to problems
  • discovering new ways of doing things.

The Victorian Curriculum, which sets out what every student should learn, supports improved achievement in STEM. It includes a strong focus on STEM skills and capabilities. This includes relatively new areas of digital technologies. In STEM students have access to an extensive range of technology resources including iPads, Chromebooks, Beebots, Blue bots, Indi robots, Ozobots, Lego We do kits, Edison robots, Probots, Makey Makey, Dash robots, and drones, in addition to technology in the classrooms. Students across all levels participate in coding and robotics lessons which further enhances their knowledge and engagement in the area of STEM.

To support Design Technology at St Catherine's students have access to Lego, Keva planks, marble runs, domino kits, snap circuits, Make-Do kits, and a wide range of consumables including cups, straws, paper, cardboard, pipe cleaners, masking tape, rulers, string, playdoh, popsicle sticks, packing peanuts, and many other purposeful items.

Students at St Catherine’s attend a 40-minute lesson each week, in a dedicated STEM classroom, to further develop their STEM skills.