Learning the language of computers

Coding is new to Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Primary School, Caringbah, which has been a pilot school for accreditation in the Newman Program.

The program has been in the school for the fourth year and caters to gifted students from Year 1 to 6 in a diversified group taking part in higher order thinking skills.

“We have a focus on blended online learning in Google Cloudshare,” said the school’s Gifted Education Coordinator, Joanne Ford.

It’s a collaborative project online with 22 other Newman schools.

“We feel one of the biggest gains is a focus on the affective side of learning, an awareness of social and emotional needs,” said Ms Ford.

She said belonging to the program helped students feel more comfortable and accepted.

Aside from (computer) coding, other areas of student enrichment are Literature, Mathematics, Visual Arts and Writing.

Students rotate through activities.

In order to be part of the program, students must be identified through online testing and must be two years ahead of their cohorts. One Year 6 student at the school works on the Year 8 Maths syllabus.

“The onus is also on parents to work in collaboration with the school,” said Ms Ford.

One mother, a Scientist and another mother a Senior Maths teacher all help out in the program.

“We’ve got a really good rapport with the parents – and they tell us how happy they are gifted students are acknowledged,” said the school’s Newman Maths Facilitator, Marissa Nicholls.

“The room functions five days a week and is complementary to classroom learning,” said Ms Ford.

Students also take part in academic competitions to develop learning skills, social skills and embrace their own capacity.


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