Our small class sizes and high teacher to student ratios enable us to work with each student to develop a challenging and inspiring program while providing freedom of choice that builds a deep and lasting love of learning.

The primary school is registered by the Office Of The Board of Studies NSW  and we adhere to the NSW Board of Studies curricula. Our most recent inspection was undertaken in 2013 when we fulfilled all the requirements and were awarded the maximum length of five years accreditation.

The Classroom

Currambena has always been different from other schools. When it began, in 1969, Currrambena was one of the alternative schools in Sydney, founded by parents and academics who wanted something very different from what was on offer in other school systems.

 Our Articles of Association, our foundation document, stipulates that the school shall:

·        -respect the individuality of the child

·        -foster self-determination in the child

·        -develop the child’s creative and critical abilities

·        -stress cooperation rather than competition

… and maintain high academic standards consistent with these other aims.

 In practice, this means, meeting the needs of individual students in a range of ways:

·        -by providing small classes where they can build close relationships with teachers and peers,

·        -being flexible so that children can learn effectively at their own pace,

·        -employing teachers who can guide progress and ensure opportunities for learning are varied and challenging and

·        -by using observations and other authentic processes for assessment rather than standardised comparative testing.

 Currambena has always had mixed age classes. Preschool takes children aged 3 to 5 years and classes are also mixed in age across the primary school years. There are 5 primary school teachers and, of course, 7 years of primary schooling. This means that children will twice spend two years with a single teacher, or sometimes 3 years if that is what is best for the child and possible with class numbers.

 These days, most moves between groups occur at the end of the school year. The teachers consider a number of factors when making the decision about class structure including social/emotional needs, age, dynamics of the group, academics, friendship patterns and, most importantly, where is the best place for each individual child.

 Working with children across an age range is a lovely concept that offers opportunities for creative teaching and dynamic learning. It broadens children's social groups and strengthens their ability to socialise in wider contexts. Children who stay with a teacher have the advantage of a teacher who knows them well and can start the new year at full pace. They are by no means being ‘held back’. And, of course, Currambena teachers will always work towards meeting each child’s needs in whatever group they are learning.

 The school aims have all its class groups mixed in age, with ‘Elders’ guiding and assisting younger children in each group. This is a philosophical choice, facilitating broader learning and socialising, as well as a necessity in a small school. Recently, however, as a result of demographic influences and high overall school numbers, some class groups have been more homogenous than others. Some groups may have a three year age spread while another may have much less.

 During the course of the year, teachers closely observe each child. Much consideration is given to the decision about class groupings for the next year. The individual needs of each child as well as what is possible and preferable for class groups and for the school as a whole are all part of the discussions.

 At Currambena, children are not locked into an annual move to a new group and new teacher. The flexibility of our process means that there is often a range of possibilities, which will maximise student learning and facilitate successful group dynamics. Discussion with parents is always a part of this process so please always raise any concerns with your child’s teacher as soon as they arise.

The Playground

The children share the playground and free time is coordinated so that all class groups have the opportunity to play together. The playground has been designed to provide as many play opportunities as possible for the children. There is room to run, climb, hide, build, dig, work, play sport and have quiet time.

Preschool is a physically integrated part of the school. There is no division in the playground between the pre-schoolers and the older children. The open and shared physical space is fundamental in supporting the learning philosophies of the school. The older children enjoy visiting the preschool classroom and the pre-schoolers also visit the big kids in their classrooms to play with friends and begin their own personal transition into primary school.

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