Excellence in Education


Victorian Curriculum 


Students in the garden

At Clifton Hill Primary School we provide students with rich, varied and rigorous experiences that explore the natural and social world in which they live. Where appropriate, we employ an integrated approach to learning, where natural links are made between subjects. Often referred to as 'Integrated Studies', this knowledge and understanding is taken from the Victorian Curriculum Learning Areas of Science, History, Geography, Economics, Civics and Citizenship, Health, Design and Digital Technologies.

Students are encouraged to build knowledge and understanding about a range of fundamental and powerful concepts that underpin each topic of study, such as systems, change, identity, and power. In each unit, students develop responses to significant and essential questions that provoke consideration of the world around them.

In order to provide learning experiences that engage and extend students with a diverse range of interest and abilities, teachers at Clifton Hill Primary strive to differentiate the learning and students are encouraged and supported to investigate areas of interest and share their learning in a variety of ways. We aim to develop collaborative, and critical and creative thinking skills.

Specialist programs

The Performing Arts program focuses on music. The school has an excellent music room equipped with many classroom instruments such as marimbas, xylophones, drum kits, pianos, electric guitars, bass guitars and ukuleles.


The Performing Arts program focuses on music. The school has an excellent music room equipped with many classroom instruments such as marimbas, xylophones, drum kits, pianos, electric guitars, bass guitars and ukuleles.

Roz Girvan – grades 2, 4, 6 (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays)

Roz has taught music at Clifton Hill for 10 years. She has gained two levels of Orff Music Education qualifications. This approach encourages children to make music through speech, singing, body percussion and the use of classroom instruments such as xylophones and recorders. In the latter years of primary school, Roz encourages students to incorporate into the class ensemble the skills that they have learned through private lessons on other instruments. This may include students who play piano, guitar, violin, saxophone, clarinet or drums.

Roz sings,plays the piano and guitar, has been in a number of bands over the years and still writes and performs her own songs at gigs in Melbourne.


There are many performing arts occasions during our school year including:

  • folk dances for Prep and Grade One
  • end of term music assemblies where grades and music groups perform
  • a school production or concert - We have implemented a 3 year cycle for School Productions Year 1 = Prep/One/Two Production; Year 2 = Grade Three/Four/five Production Year 3 = smaller, school based performance opportunities. Productions vary each year — some are held in the Multi Purpose Room at school, and others at the Clock Tower Theatre in Essendon. Some productions have had music and songs written by the students; others focus on a musical theme such as Latin America or The Beatles. 2016 is the third year of the cycle.
  • a Christmas concert at school for Grades Prep/One and Two
  • a graduation concert for grade 6

In addition to these special occasions, Roz leads the school in communal singing at the end of our fortnightly assemblies.

Excursions and Incursions

As part of the performing arts program, all students participate in an excursion or incursion each year. In 2016 students will attend the following:

  • Grade Prep, One and Two students will participate in an OZ Opera incursion.
  • Grade One will be attending a concert by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
  • Grade 3 students will be attending a concert by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
  • Grades 4 and 5 will be attending Circus Oz
  • Grade 6 will be going on a tour of the Arts Centre followed by a performance of ‘Tap Pack’.

The aim of this part of the curriculum is that the students will be exposed to a range of performing arts experiences.

Extracurricular Music Opportunities

In addition to classroom music there are also a number of extracurricular music opportunities at CHPS. These include:


Open to all students from grade 2 — 6, our choir has a mixed repertoire of popular and folk songs. It performs at assemblies and special occasions. It rehearses on Friday lunch times. There is no fee.

Grade 6 Girls Singing Group

Open to all girls in grade 6, this group focuses on a repertoire of pop songs. It rehearses on Tuesday lunch times.

String Ensemble

Our string ensemble is open to all students who have been learning violin, viola or cello for 12 months or more. The ensemble is directed by Ross Henderson, our school violin teacher and tackles a varied repertoire. It rehearses on Thursday mornings at 8.00am. There is no fee.

Grade 6 Rock Band

Jeb and Roz will be running the Grade 6 Rock Band on Monday lunch times. There is no fee.

African Drumming Ensemble

Guinean master artist Mohamed Camara provides ensemble classes on a term by term basis, from Term 2. Students who participate will perform at special occasions such as school productions, the Fair and special assemblies. The group will rehearse on Monday lunch times.(Cost = $13.00 per class.)

Private Music Tuition

Private lessons are provided onsite at Clifton Hill Primary School with a range of instruments on offer. Please contact teachers directly to ascertain availability.

Visual Arts

The Visual Arts program stimulates interest in and gives children practical first hand experience with a wide variety of tools, techniques and art materials in the areas of painting, drawing, threads and textiles, modelling and construction. Each art experience challenges students to progressively develop and extend their present level of artistic knowledge and skills. Opportunities are provided for children to appreciate art. Children are encouraged to share their art ideas and work with others. Displays are an important aspect of developing art appreciation.

Physical Education

All students participate in regular Physical Education sessions planned and delivered by a specialist Physical Education teacher. The Physical Education Program emphasises skill development and enjoyment focusing on fundamental motor skills, gymnastics, ball skills, fitness, sport education and games. Prep students participate in the perceptual motor program aimed at developing body awareness, hand-eye and foot-eye coordination, balance and ball skills.  

Throughout the year the school conducts trials for swimming, cross-country and athletics. Successful students from Grades 4 to 6 compete in District, Division, Region and State championships.

Our school PE blog is accessible via the following link:

Languages Other Than English (LOTE)

The school offers two language programs: Mandarin (Chinese) and French. French is offered as a LOTE in Prep through Grade 6. Mandarin is offered as a LOTE  in Prep, Grade 1 and Grade 2, and is being progressively phased in as a LOTE to additional upper grades. During this transition, it is offered in Specialist classes in Grades 3, 4, 5 and 6, with some fast-tracking for more advanced language students in the older grades.  


The French program at CHPS runs from Prep to Year 6. All students receive 90 minutes of French per week.

Our program’s main goal is ‘critical fluency’ i.e. getting students to be able to effectively communicate in French. To do this, we use an approach to teaching languages called the AIM (Accelerative Integrated Methodology) which is a methodology comprising of 5 key areas:

Each unit of work that students complete is based on a central story and most activities, oral and written, have the story as their focus. Using music and drama is not a new concept in teaching and certainly not in language teaching but the high use of drama, dance and song in this program is one of the keys to its success. Physically active programs suit many learning styles. Drama is story telling and this is what most children do most of the time so we encourage them to do this as much as possible in the second language.

Almost every word students learn is accompanied by a hand gesture. Words are kinesthetically, auditorily and visually presented through speech and gesture simultaneously, and contextualised through story and drama so students learn to see (word and visual symbol) and feel the language as well as hear it. Gestures allow the classes to be conducted with little to no use of English and allow the teacher to know the level of a student’s comprehension more accurately. The gestures also allow students to be producing the language constantly throughout each lesson.

PDL (pared down language):
The words targeted for presentation through gesture and story have been selected through action research in second language classrooms. The vocabulary is selected according to frequency, function and ease of acquisition. This target vocabulary places a high emphasis on verbs but not conjugation. PDL presents vocabulary in a way that parallels first language learning so each part of a verb is learnt as the need arises.

Language Manipulation Activities (written and oral):
Students complete many scaffolded writing tasks as part of their language learning. They become confident in reading and writing French. Creativity is encouraged in their writing and editing skills and analysis of language and grammar are also taught.

Transfer of knowledge into spontaneous interaction and creative writing:
Students are encouraged from the very beginning to use the language they learn in creative ways and as they become more proficient teacher support can be reduced and students can have more and more control over their written and oral language production.

Sophie Gammon
French Program Coordinator

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Mandarin is offered at CHPS from Prep to Year 6. For incoming Prep students, Mandarin can be chosen as a regular LOTE subject, which is offered 90 minutes per week. The school currently also has elective Mandarin classes from Grade 4 to Grade 6 where students choose to study Mandarin up to 5 times a week. However, with the gradual introduction of Mandarin as LOTE, these elective classes will be phased out.

Mandarin is taught as an academic program whose aim is to enable children to speak and understand the language for practical, everyday purposes, and learn the basics of reading and writing characters. This prepares our students for further study in high school and their future role as active and engaged citizens with a global outlook, who have deepened knowledge and understanding of Australia’s engagement with Asia.

Mandarin Curriculum and Pedagogy


The overarching approach to Mandarin teaching at CHPS is the widely used Communicative Approach, which is evidence based and current best practice in language teaching (Richards, 2006). It emphasizes fluency in speaking and strong listening skills through the use of practical and relevant teaching materials.

We also progressively introduce literacy skills, starting with drawing Chinese characters as art and proceeding to simple reading and writing.

Our program embraces a child-centred methodology for language learning. Classroom activities include:

·  singing songs

·  learning chants and dances

·  listening to stories

·  playing language games

·  performing role-plays

·  doing mini research projects

·  analysing Chinese cultural practices

·  making videos / art work

·  working with ICT tools to enhance literacy development

This approach awakens children’s curiosity and inquisitiveness, fostering their desire to learn more about foreign languages and cultures.  

One distinctive feature of our Mandarin pedagogy is the integration of technological tools. Students use apps on iPads for in-class activities, as well as online tools to aid vocabulary learning and practise interaction. This use of technology not only enhances language learning but also builds digital literacy, which is a transferable skill across different academic areas.

Language Immersion Program in Machong (March)


We have recently established a sister school relationship with Machong Central Primary School in Guangzhou in southern China. Every March, a group of CHPS Mandarin students is offered the opportunity to undertake one week of intensive language immersion in Machong where our students attend regular classes taught in Chinese with their Chinese peers. Students also participate in Math and Science lessons as well as specialist classes such as chess and Badminton. This program is limited to Grade 5 students learning Mandarin.

Cultural Immersion Program in China (September) 


Every September, CHPS offers students the opportunity to visit China for a two-week cultural immersion. This trip includes visits to Shanghai, Beijing, Xian and to our other sister school, Huaibei Experimental Primary School, where students spend up to four days living in homestay with Chinese families. This trip provides students with first-hand insights to Chinese culture, geography, history and daily life in modern China as well as some language development. The program is open to any CHPS student in Grade 5 and 6.

Sister Schools Visiting CHPS (July and August)

Every year students and teachers from our two sister schools come to visit CHPS to immerse themselves in our school community and experience life in an Australian primary school.

In July, students and teachers from Machong Central Primary School come for a five day language immersion program, which includes participating in regular classes as well as targeted English instruction.         

In August, students and teachers from Huaibei Experimental Primary School come to CHPS for a five day homestay experience. They also participate in some of our specialist classes.


Chinese Cultural Day


Every three years, CHPS hosts a whole-school Chinese Cultural Day. We offer a wide range of Chinese-related activities for students to explore Chinese culture, such as lion dance, tai chi, papercutting and Chinese chess accompanied by a special Chinese lunch.

Kevin Yang
Mandarin Program Coordinator
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