From the Director of Curriculum Innovation and Development

One thing I often say to parents is this: try not to simply ask your daughter how school was, or what they learnt today, rather ask her what great question she asked. Throughout history, it seems to me, that the greater the question, the more important the answer. It is through questioning that we learn.

I was reminded of this at our recent Parent Morning for Year 7 2018; I was speaking with a parent who then asked me a great question: what is the essence of curriculum at St Catherine’s School?

Curriculum is an interesting and complex concept. For instance, I could quite easily describe the content, the subject matter if you will, of what is documented in the curriculum handbooks or that exists in the folders and files on MyStCatherines. I could similarly quite confidently describe the strands that run through our curriculum; strands such as literacy and numeracy or inquiry, collaboration, reasoning, understanding, thinking, or even collaborating. In fact, I could also explain how our curriculum mirrors the words that describe our School: words such as perseverance, which our curriculum teaches, or words such as curiosity, which our curriculum demands, or empathy, which our curriculum supports or integrity, which insists that our curriculum remains relevant and embraces innovation. None of this though truly describes the essence of curriculum – for that, we must delve deeper into the actual DNA of the School.

In 1896, the founder of the School, Ms Jeanie Hood, clarified the foundational aim, which was simply the challenge to prepare students for life.

Our recent literature states confidently that ‘Her future begins here’ and these are not hollow or throw away words. Central to that future, the great but exciting unknown, is curriculum. Curriculum empowers your daughter to take ownership of her own learning; whether in French, or Maths, Science or Music, Technology, Art or Sport, curriculum embodies empathy, curiosity, integrity, perseverance, and empowerment, excitement and engagement.

Ownership of learning is not simply about content, it is so much more important than that. Ownership of learning is learning for life, and that is the essence of curriculum at St Catherine’s School. Things have certainly changed from the school Ms Hood established with such foresight in Castlemaine 120 years ago, but our DNA remains constant: curriculum empowers students to prepare for life.

A great question, with an important answer. Her future really does begin here.


Mr Adrian Puckering, Director of Curriculum Innovation and Development