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:

  • Art
  • Languages- Auslan in Years Prep to Year 3, and Japanese in Years 4 to Year 6
  • Performing Arts
  • Physical Education
  • Science
  • STEM (Science, Technology,Engineering and Maths)


Art at St Catherine’s consists of the Victorian Curriculum areas of VISUAL ARTS and MEDIA ARTS.

Visual Arts and Media Arts includes the fields of art, media, craft and design. Students create visual artworks that communicate, challenge and express their own and others’ ideas. They learn about the role of the artist, craftsperson and designer. Students learn about the relationships between the viewer and artworks and how artworks can be displayed to enhance meaning for the viewer.

MEDIA ART- Students make and respond to Media Arts forms such as film, documentary, advertisement, music video, animation, video games and graphic novels. They produce artworks in narrative and non-narrative forms that reach audiences through specific media contexts that include but are not limited to, print, cinema, television, internet, mobile devices or new and emerging contexts.

VISUAL ART - Students make and respond to artworks, drawing on the world as a source of ideas. Students engage with and develop knowledge of visual arts, skills, techniques and processes, and use materials as they explore a range of forms, styles and contexts. Students use a range of materials that include but are not limited to, paint, pencils, pastels, paper, charcoal, glue and textiles.

Students at St Catherine’s attend a 40-minute lesson each week, in a dedicated Art Room, to further develop their Visual & Media Arts skills.



Auslan is the sign language used by the majority of the Australian Deaf community. The term Auslan is a portmanteau of "Australian Sign Language". The formal study of Auslan contributes to the overall intellectual and social enrichment of both first language and second language learners by providing:

  • opportunities for engagement with the Deaf community and insight into its rich cultural heritage
  • opportunities to develop intercultural capabilities, understanding and respect for others, appreciation of diversity and openness to different perspectives and experiences.


Victorian Curriculum F-10 Auslan aims to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to enable students to:

  • communicate in Auslan
  • understand language, culture and learning and their relationship, and thereby develop an intercultural capability in communication
  • understand themselves as communicators
  • develop a knowledge and an understanding of the diversity of Deaf experience and the nature of identity.

Teacher as Co Learner (TCL)

St Catherine’s has adopted the Teacher as Co Learner model. Teachers as Co-Learners (TCL) is a highly innovative language teaching and learning approach grounded in both academic research and practical teaching applications offered to all Victorian Catholic primary schools. At its core, TCL provides high frequency language sessions delivered by classroom teachers, embedding effective literacy and language learning practices. 

This whole school approach encourages and supports the use of communicative and functional language throughout the day beyond the classroom, and seeks opportunities to integrate language across various curriculum areas. TCL fosters the active participation of the whole school community in language learning, whilst increasing teacher understanding and mastery of language acquisition principles through a comprehensive and highly scaffolded program.

Students from Pre to Year 6 at St Catherine’s complete 4 10-minute mini-lessons of Auslan per week.


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 of 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.

Students from year 4 to year 6 at St Catherine’s attend a 40-minute lesson each week to further develop their Japanese skills.

Performing Arts

Performing Arts at St Catherine’s consists of the Victorian Curriculum areas of MUSIC, DANCE and DRAMA.

Performing Arts encourages students to develop their creative and expressive abilities by learning about the different practices, disciplines and traditions that have shaped the expression of culture locally, nationally and globally. It contributes to the development of confident and creative individuals and enriches Australian society. 

MUSIC- Music has the power to engage, inspire and enrich all students, exciting their imagination and encouraging them to reach their creative and expressive potential. Skills and techniques are developed through participation in music learning, allowing students to manipulate, express and share sound as listeners, composers and performers. Music learning has a significant impact on the cognitive, motor, social and personal abilities of students.

DANCE- Dance encourages students to develop a movement vocabulary with which to explore and refine imaginative ways of moving both individually and collaboratively. They choreograph, perform and appreciate as they engage with dance practice in their own and others’ cultures and communities.

DRAMA- Drama enables students to imagine and participate in the exploration of their world, individually and collaboratively. Students actively use body, gesture, movement, voice and language, taking on roles to explore and depict real and imagined worlds. They create, rehearse, perform and respond using the elements and conventions of drama and emerging and existing technologies available to them. Students learn to think, move, speak and act with confidence as both performers and audience.

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

Physical Education

The Victoria Curriculum describes Physical Education as the acquisition of movement skills, concepts and strategies to enable students to confidently, competently and creatively participate in a range of physical activities. As a foundation for lifelong physical activity participation and enhanced performance, students develop proficiency in movement skills, physical activities and movement concepts and acquire an understanding of the science behind how the body moves. In doing so, they develop an appreciation of the significance of physical activity, outdoor recreation and sport both in Australian society and globally.

Students move the body by refining their movement skills and participating in games with and without equipment. They understand movement by exploring how regular physical activity keeps individuals healthy and identify and describe how their body moves in relation to effort, space, time, objects and people. Students learn through movement by cooperating with others when participating in physical activities and using trial and error to test solutions to movement challenges.


At St Catherine’s 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, Region and State levels. Year 6 students participate in Interschool Sport during Term 3 competing against other Catholic schools in our area. They have a choice of participating in one of three different sports. Each year the Year 5 and 6 students participate in a Hooptime Basketball competition.

Students at St Catherine’s attend a 40-minute lesson each week to further develop their Physical Education skills.


The Victorian Curriculum describes Science as a dynamic, collaborative and creative human endeavour arising from our desire to make sense of our world by exploring the unknown, investigating universal mysteries, making predictions and solving problems. Scientific knowledge can be challenged, revised, refined and extended as new evidence arises.

Science is broken into two strands; Scientific Understanding (the content and knowledge);

  • Science as a Human Endeavour
  • Chemical (Materials, States of Matter, properties and changes)
  • Physical (Heat, light, force and energy)
  • Biological (Living things, adaptations, interdependence and ecosystems)
  • Earth and Space (Earth’s resources, geology, weather, climate and Space)

and Science Inquiry Skills;

  • questioning and predicting, 
  • planning and conducting, 
  • recording and processing, 
  • analysing and evaluating, 
  • communicating.

Science is underpinned by the following key concepts;

  • Patterns, order and organisation
  • Form and function
  • Stability and change
  • Scale and measurement
  • Matter and energy
  • Systems

Cross-curricular priorities are also included as part of the delivery of our Science program, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures and Sustainability.  Ethical and Critical & Creative Thinking Capabilities are addressed in Science by engaging students in collaborative work, discussions, making predictions and conclusions based on observations and evidence.

Science is the newest of the five Specialist subjects taught at St Catherine’s. Students at St Catherine’s attend a 40-minute lesson each week to further develop their Science knowledge and skills.

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.