Acknowledgement Of Country
St Therese's Community School Wilcannia acknowledges that our school stands on sacred land of past traditional peoples. While there has been great change to this land over many generations, we know in our hearts that the story and spirit of the ancestors will always be written in this landscape. In the spirit of reconciliation we honour and respect the custodians past and present sharing in continuing to nurture this land together.
St Therese's Mission School was established on 22 February 1966. At the request of the local people Bishop Douglas Warren obtained the services of the Sisters of Compassion from New Zealand. The school is situated on a flood plain on the outskirts of town, in delightful bush surrounds on the banks of the Darling River.
In 1989 the name of the school was changed to St Therese’s Community School and adopted a new logo with the motto 'We are the hope of the future. Let's get educated.'
St Therese's has an enrolment of 30 students catering for classes from K-2. We welcome all students to enrol at our school. At present we have 98% Aboriginal. The NSW syllabus is followed with a strong emphasis placed on Literacy, Numeracy and Aboriginal Studies. The school operates a daily morning and afternoon bus run, a daily nutrition and dental program.
Throughout the school year students are involved in a variety of learning experiences outside the classroom. Classes travel to locations of cultural relevance within the local area and participate in activities designed to further develop their knowledge of the Paakantji Culture and Wilcannia.
Celebrations are held throughout the term through birthday assemblies. This is our way of celebrating each individual child as well as celebrating each class through an item they prepare to showcase at the assembly. At St. Therese's Community School we have a Community Visiting Program. Twice a term, each class visits those in the community who are in need, sick, experienced loss or just to celebrate an event in their lives.
St. Therese’s Community School is ‘a culturally appropriate Learning Environment in which children in Years K-2 can learn and develop their identity and life skills; with the caring support of passionate Educators assisted by Aboriginal Community members’
Our main objective is “to integrate local Wiimpatja Cultural and Spiritual Teachings,” within the K-6 Syllabus as directed by the NSW Board of Studies and inline with Wilcannia-Forbes Diocesan Office expectations.
The Staff and Community are committed to:
- Providing a learning environment where student welfare is priority.
- Implementing high quality teaching with a focus on the Literacy and Numeracy curriculum.
- Implementing Personalised Learning Plans (PLPs) for every child where individual needs are catered for.
- Liaising with community elders and community members in order to share and implement a traditional and contemporary Paakantji Cultural Studies Program
- Fostering Community involvement in and an understanding of all school learning experiences
- Modelling the Gospel and Traditional Spiritual Values of Love, Respect, Justice and Dignity in our Living and Learning.
We offer a further commitment to:
- Aboriginal Staff being trained in roles of responsibility.
- Providing cultural awareness opportunities for Non-Indigenous staff and students.
- Reconciling and healing past injustices suffered by Aboriginal People.
At St. Therese's Community School we focus on creating a safe and supportive environment where our students can have fun and learn. We understand the importance of the first years of schooling on a child’s overall development and we focus strongly on the literacy and numeracy development of our students. We have a very strong Paakantji Cultural Studies Program which runs weekly.
The NSW Board of School Studies and the Wilcannia-Forbes Catholic Education Office Documents and Syllabus are the basis of the school programs.
As a parish primary school, we exist to provide the children with the opportunity of living in a caring, Christian community, which gives witness to the Gospel values it proclaims.
The Catholic Education Office document 'Sharing our Story' is implemented in each classroom and Religious Education is integrated totally into everyday life in the school. Emphasis is placed on connecting Aboriginal Spirituality to our Christian Values and Beliefs.
Focus is placed on literacy at St. Therese's Community School. Every morning is dedicated to teaching our students to read and write. The English curriculum is divided into three main strands which are reading, writing and talking and listening.
At St. Therese's we use the First Steps Program as a resource to help give structure to what we are teaching. Wherever possible links are made in other Key Learning Areas to what we are teaching in our Literacy Block.
At St. Therese's Community School we have an agreed practice to what our Literacy Block will look like every morning. Our Literacy Block consists of Modelled Reading, Shared Reading, Guided Reading, Independent Reading, Modelled Writing, Shared Writing, Guided/Independent Writing, Handwriting, Talking and Listening, Rotating Literacy Groups and Literacy Learning Experiences.
Mathematics is taught explicitly every day at St. Therese's Community School. Each session starts with 10 minutes of Mental Warm-ups, with the rest of the session emphasising students' thinking, understanding, competence and confidence with numbers, measurement and shapes.
Students learn to recognise, count, model, order, add, subtract, divide and multiply whole numbers in real-life contexts. They learn to measure and read time and calculate with money. They learn to recognize and describe 3D objects and 2D shapes. They learn how to measure length, area, mass, volume and capacity. They learn how to work with data and graphs.
Key to student development in Mathematics is a clear connection to real-life experiences including trips to the local shop to learn about money and visits to the river and bush to explore shapes and measurement.