NT school curriculum

Primary years curriculum

This page has information about what your child learns during the primary years of schooling and how you can help your child with literacy and numeracy and their social, emotional, physical and academic development.


The Australian Curriculum forms the basis of teaching and learning in the primary years.

There is a strong focus on the social, emotional, physical and academic development of children.

The Australian Curriculum recognises that your child develops at different rates to others, has different learning needs, areas of interest and aspirations. The curriculum is used flexibly in schools to meet the educational needs of all students.

Go to the Australian Curriculum website to view the primary years curriculum.


Your child is assessed both formally and informally.

Assessment is used for all of the following:

  • understanding your child’s strengths and weaknesses
  • informing the next stages of teaching and learning
  • helping teachers monitor your child’s progress
  • informing your child’s report.

Assessment includes all of the following:

You child may also be assessed in science, literacy, civics and citizenship and information and communication technology literacy under the National Assessment Program sample assessments.

For more information, go to the National Assessment Program website.

Help your child with social and emotional growth

To help your child develop social and emotional skills, you can do any of the following:

  • be affectionate and warm
  • provide security for your child by being consistent and predictable
  • have frequent face-to-face interactions, including making eye contact, smiling and laughing together
  • respond to your child’s signals and preferences
  • talk to your child about what is happening and what will happen next
  • help your child to manage their feelings
  • encourage your child to explore, play and try new things
  • use social and emotional skills yourself and show your child how they work (e.g. talking about your own mistakes, saying sorry and trying to make things better)
  • describe and label emotions (e.g. “I enjoyed doing the puzzle together with you. It was fun!”, or “Are you feeling sad today because your friend is not here?”)
  • tell stories, play games, sing, dance, and join in imaginary play
  • support your child to make choices and solve problems as appropriate for their age (e.g. “Do you want to wear your red dress or your blue dress?”)
  • provide opportunities for them to interact with others.

Help your children with their physical growth

To help your child to develop the physical skills, you can do any of the following:

  • be active yourself so your child is more likely to follow your lead
  • give your child praise and encouragement if an activity is proving a bit hard
  • spend active time with your child, try to make some time to have fun playing with your child
  • walk or ride a bike to the nearest park to kick or throw a ball around
  • encourage your child to play outside and praise them when they do
  • go with your child when they try an organised sport or group lesson
  • organise family activities such as camping, bushwalking, beachcombing and outdoor games
  • involve your child in daily chores around the house, such as gardening, washing the car and cleaning
  • keep an activities box at home and in the car with balls, bats, kites, beach bucket and spade
  • give balls, bikes and scooters as gifts to encourage physical activity and opportunities to play outdoors
  • limit screen time, aim for no more than two hours a day.

Help your child with numeracy

To help your child with numeracy skills, you can do any of the following:

  • allow your child to organise their spending money
  • talk to them about the best deals when you are shopping
  • help your child plan how much money they will need for their lunch or outings at school
  • ask your child to check they have the exact amount of money or receive the exact change
  • ask your child questions as part of your everyday routine:
    • what time will you be home?
    • what is the price after discount?
    • what is the quickest way?
    • who is the leading goal scorer?
    • does the result on the calculator look right?
    • is the petrol cheaper here?
  • encourage your child to plan and design things like cubby houses, furniture and vehicles to use in their games.

Help your child with literacy

To help your child with literacy skills, you can do any of the following:

  • use a range of reading materials with a variety of purposes e.g. recipes, shopping lists, school timetable
  • play word games like Scrabble
  • take books with you in the car, to the supermarket and on outings
  • join your local library:
    • it is free and a great source of books, magazines, dvds and tapes.
    • check for story times, parent sessions or special programs for families
  • read books with your child that relate to their interests, talk about the pictures and encourage them to share what they think and feel about the story, characters and places
  • encourage your child to ask questions and make predictions and give opinions
  • ask how and why questions to stimulate your child’s thoughts and ideas
  • role play well know stories and events with different voices, expressions and sounds
  • try reading chapter books to be read over time
  • use a variety of reading materials such as photo albums, magazines and newspapers
  • discuss aspects of the text such as different print types and sizes or punctuation marks.

Resources for educators

Educators can access teaching and learning resources through eLearn on the Department of Education website.

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Last updated: 23 July 2020

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