Complementing the year-by-year description of the curriculum, this document provides advice on the nature of learners and the relevant curriculum across the following groupings:
Foundation to Year 2: typically students from 4 to 8 years of age, beginning with Kindegarten in Tasmania
Years 3–6: typically students from 8 to 13 years of age
Years 7–10: typically students from 12 to 15 years of age.
By the time young children reach Kindergarten classrooms they may have been exposed to many stimulating experiences, which have enhanced the development of their emotional control, social responsibility and attitudes to thinking and learning. As they grow they show independence, curiosity and a desire for hands-on experience to see how things work. They are explorers and discoverers. They are learning who they are and are gaining confidence to explore beyond parents and carers.
Inherently spiritual, the Early Years child enters increasingly independently into their environment and is encouraged to wonder, ponder and develop a capacity to ask questions about themselves, their families, their friends and the ever increasing circles of concerns beyond themselves. God is introduced as loving creator that loves the earth and all people. Children are introduced to the person of Jesus Christ, his story and his family. They engage with the idea of the Church as a celebrating community. The Word of God is shared in simple prayer routines. Sacred seasons and times are honoured. Students are encouraged to ponder how the Sacraments celebrate the presence of God in our midst that we are all connected as one human family.
Interaction with their peers is more pronounced and persistence with tasks that interest them is obvious. Personal issues of right and wrong, fairness and justice concern them and they begin to express how they feel. Language use develops rapidly and they can reflect and imagine in relatively abstract ways when talking. Imaginations are vivid at this stage and a love for creative and dramatic play is important to them. Play continues to be essential for learning and for practice in choosing, thinking, negotiating, problem solving and taking risks. Our role as educators is to provide the space, time and materials for play so that learning can be extended. Learning occurs best when tasks are purposeful. Young children learn by observing and working collaboratively with adults in joint activities.
Children in these years are beginning to view themselves as part of a larger community. They are developing respect for one another and are beginning to listen to and consider different points of view. Concentration span is longer especially when a topic interests them and when they can have some control over the expected tasks. Students in these years enjoy investigating the wider world, collecting, matching, contrasting, grouping, predicting, and drawing conclusions. Language, a great tool of learning, now displays greater variation in vocabulary and syntax. Through story, children at this age identify with, and glean important information from, what they learn about people, beliefs, rules and relationships.
In Years 3- 6 children are encouraged to see themselves as created in the image of a loving God that calls them to wholeness and fullness of life, modeled in the Trinity. Jesus shares his Spirit with us, present also in the Church that celebrates and makes present his work of justice and peace and joy. Students reflect on their lives in the light of Scripture. Children learn that through the Sacraments they are nourished and encouraged to follow the example of Christ to make good choices and love others with compassion and gentleness in ministry and service. In these years students increasingly engage with the idea that God offers a pattern for a just and compassionate world. As they broaden their understanding of the wider community, children are also supported to see that the Catholic Church is one with other faiths searching for truth about the mystery of God.
These students in an age range from 10-15 years, may be described as young adolescents. This is a time of great diversity and capacity among students as they grow through a period of dramatic changes in body and mind. Although the differences between students are many there are still some general characteristics that may be evident:
New intellectual capacities become obvious with students as they become more capable of the formal, logical thinking in which they interpret data, predict, generalise and draw conclusions. They begin to experiment with a range of roles as they seek to clarify personal identity. The conventions of the peer group provide a powerful framework for interpreting the world and making meaning.
Students in the secondary years need support to develop intellectual frameworks by which they reflect on experience and search for personal meaning in the light of faith tradition. For these years the curriculum invites the learner to encounter God revealed in Jesus present in the world, fully human and fully God. Jesus calls his followers to discipleship. The Church is revealed as proclaiming the Good News of Jesus and is missionary and prophetic, challenging injustice and proclaiming that all of creation is intended for ‘fullness of life” (Jn 10: 10). Students in year 7-10 study and pray with the scriptures, encountering the Bible as a text of inspiration and challenge. The Sacraments are explicitly taught across age levels revealing the sacramentality of life culminating in the study of the Eucharist as the source and summit of Catholic life. Students are encouraged to pray and explore the teachings of Catholic spiritual writers to foster habits of prayer, knowing that effective prayer transforms and leads to a deeper love of God and one another. Christian life is explained as living in right relationship in the context of building the “Kingdom of God”. While the church celebrates diversity it seeks unity amongst all peoples.