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A Focus on Preps

St John XXIII Primary School Thomastown East

In Prep at St John XXIII, we offer students learning opportunities that focus on:

  • Building foundational skills that will support lifelong learning.

  • The opportunity to investigate and develop oral language through dramatic play, construction zones, art zones etc. These support real life contexts which promote meaningful learning with the students, as they are able to make connections to real life experiences.

  • Engagement in mathematical concepts that incorporate a range of problem solving skills. Students are challenged to find multiple ways to solve a problem as well as justifying their answers.

  • A deep understanding of the English language by utilising a range of rich texts that support the phonetic development of the students. 


Play Based Learning in Prep

Prep students participate in Investigations four mornings a week, which enable them to explore a variety of areas which include Science & Nature, Dramatic Play, Art, Literacy, Mathematics, Sensory, Construction, Tinkering and Religious Education.  Experiences in these areas are linked to skills and Learning Intentions being addressed in the classroom and are often used as a springboard for explicit teaching throughout the day.  The aim of investigations is to develop oral language and vocabulary in our younger students.


Junior School

In Year 1/2 at St. John XXIII, students participate in a diverse range of experiences that aim to increase their curiosity and love for learning. Reading and Writing is explored using a hands-on approach, including phonological awareness activities and writing experiences which are purposeful and relevant to today’s world. In Mathematics there is a focus on developing the students' mathematical proficiencies of understanding, fluency, problem solving and reasoning through targeted and challenging tasks. 


We aim to build independence at this level by allowing students to take greater ownership of their learning. We provide additional opportunities for learning engagement and independence through excursions and an extended night at school. Additional extracurricular activities offered include gymnastics and swimming. 

Play Based Learning in Year 1/2

The foundations of a play based learning approach that were built in Prep are extended in Year 1/2. Students continue to participate in play based learning sessions that are carefully curated by our expert team of teachers. Students in Year 1/2 are challenged to engage in extended projects, developing their learning dispositions and critical and creative thinking skills. Students begin to learn about the importance of design and project planning.


Middle School

In Year 3/4, students are immersed in a variety of learning outcomes including Literacy, Numeracy, Religious Education, Inquiry and Wellbeing. Each learning area is comprehensively planned by the 3/4 teaching team, which are supported by our curriculum leaders. Students participate in hands-on, collaborative and guided learning sessions to enhance their educational experiences. We aim to guide our students through their learning by promoting our school dispositions through collaboration, self management and challenging themselves. Learning is a social process, and we aim to provide opportunities for students to experience a broad range of perspectives and expertise as well as build personal and interpersonal skills, central to living in our modern society. In Year 3, Baptised Catholics continue their journey into the Catholic Faith by participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Year 4 students celebrate  their First Holy Communion. 

Kitchen Garden Program

Year 3/4 students participate in weekly kitchen garden sessions based on gardening, cooking and supporting theory. Our Kitchen Garden Program provides students with an exciting, hands on approach to learning while establishing positive food habits. The program has strong curriculum connections, highlighting links with literacy, mathematics, science and the capabilities. Students are encouraged to develop collaboration, responsibility and leadership through the program. 


Senior School

Students in Year 5/6 at St John XXIII are involved in many exciting learning opportunities and experiences that encourage the development of the school learning dispositions, independence, critical thinking skills and community participation. Students are provided various opportunities to demonstrate leadership through the SRC, Mini Vinnie’s and Year 6 / Prep Buddy program.


Our school participates in a range of interschool sports throughout the year. These include cross country, athletics and a variety of summer and winter sports on Friday mornings. Through the Interschool sport program we aim to develop students' confidence, skills and sportsmanship through their participation in a variety of sports. The school competes against other schools in the Lalor District to ultimately decide the district representatives for each sport. 

As part of the Year 5/6 curriculum, all students are given the opportunity to develop their independence and team building skills by attending school camp. Students attend school camp in Canberra and Phillip Island as part of a two year rotation. During our Canberra trip students learn about the values that underpin the Australian democracy and the electoral process by visiting Parliament House, the Electoral Education Centre and the Museum of Australian Democracy. 

Award Winning STEM Education & Design Thinking Approach

STEM uses an inquiry approach to integrate skills and content from the areas of Science, Technology (Design and Digital), Engineering and Maths. STEM Education is woven through learning in Faith Life Inquiry at St John XXIII. Using the LAUNCH Cycle of Design Thinking, students are guided to make their own discoveries and solve problems through a range of challenges, experiments and hands on activities. The application of STEM and a Design Thinking Approach aims to develop key skills including problem solving, creativity, critical analysis and digital literacy. There is also a strong focus on collaborative learning, team work and communication.

STEM MAD Award Winners at St John XXIII

We are so proud of our exceptional students. A phenomenal SIX teams of St John XXIII students were selected from hundreds of entries to showcase their work at MACS STEM MAD Showcase. We came away with three awards:



MACS Wellbeing award for the Sensory Chain and Monash University Award for Social Entrepreneurship, awarded to TLE 400.



Royal Botanic Gardens Inspired by Nature - Awarded to the Spider Band-aid

Not only did the Year 5/6 students responsible for the development of TLE400 dirt resistant car paint win the Monash University Award for Social Entrepreneurship, they were also been selected to represent Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools at the STEM MAD National Showcase.

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