The curriculum for Eastern Ranges School is inline and reported against the Victorian Curriculum. Eastern Ranges School has developed a curriculum framework that is personalised and contextualises the learning experiences for students on the spectrum. The Victorian Curriculum consists of 8 Key Learning Areas which are;

  • The Arts
  • HPE
  • Science
  • Humanities
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Technologies
  • Languages

Specialist schools are exempt from Languages and so, Eastern Ranges School has developed a Social Adaptive key learning area as the eighth curriculum area.

Sub Schools

Junior School

The Junior School is an exciting and vibrant space at Eastern Ranges School. The Junior Sub-School, consists of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder ranging from Foundation to Grade 3. The early years of education are pivotal for our students as they begin to transition to school life and we lay the foundations for their future learning at Eastern Ranges School.

Our building is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of our early years learners. All classrooms have access to sensory break spaces, outdoor learning spaces and private in class bathrooms to assist with the individual needs of all students.

We recognize the key learning that takes place in the early years of schooling, so we take a direct and individualised focus on communication, play skills and emerging independence with all our students.

Play-Based Learning

We are currently in the process of developing a play based learning space for the junior school students of Eastern Ranges School. This will specifically target developmental play and the vital role this has with the development of communication, interaction and social skills.

Play-based learning enables us to explicitly teach students the social constructs involved with positive and meaningful interactions, within a structured environment designed specifically to target their social learning needs.
This space is collaborative in design with input from classroom teachers, specialist teachers and therapy staff.

Structured Teaching

Our whole school pedagogy supports the Structured Teaching Framework and our junior school is no exception to this.

Students begin to work towards their independence from the early years as we introduce them to their individualised schedules to establish predictability within their day. This assists them to navigate their classes and transition with an increased level of independence.

This approach is further enabled in the ways that we present their educational resources. Learning experiences are designed to increase clarity of expectation, clearly define start and end points and reduce levels of prompt dependency which increases students independence in their learning.
Learning experiences are interest based to provide intrinsic motivation for engagement whilst also addressing student ILP goals (Individual Learning Plan) and the Victorian Curriculum.

Access to Specialist Teachers and Aquatics

Junior school students are fortunate to have access to a variety of specialist areas over the course of a school year. Such specialist teachers include;

  • The Arts (Visual Arts and Performing Arts)
  • Health and Physical Education (Physical Education, Human Relations and Outdoor Education)
  • Music (Including Music Therapy)
  • Technology

Students will transition to the corresponding areas and be involved with programs that deliver content according to the Victorian Curriculum within their specialisations.

In addition, Junior school students have access to our school based Aquatics program on a weekly basis for the entire school year. This is facilitated by our Health and Physical Education teachers and is further supervised by the classroom staff.

We look forward to continuing to provide innovative and exciting programs in the Junior School, in order to support our enthusiastic little learners.

Middle School

The Middle School consists of students from years three to six.

In Middle School the students are truly familiar with the process of Eastern Ranges School. As with the Junior School and Senior School, Middle School students take part in Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Music, Health and Physical Education (H&PE), Swimming and Technology.

Components of H&PE include Outdoor Education and Human relations. These subjects are introduced with the expertise of the H&PE staff and are followed up by the class teachers throughout the year. The information, skills and content continues the development of the subject, which begins in the junior school.

2017 sees the introduction of the Vocational Room in Middle School. This learning space has been set up to accommodate different learning opportunities, such as a shop, weighing, packaging and assembling. The skills learnt and practiced in this area will be a benefit for the work that takes place in senior school where students begin to focus and plan for post school options.

Students in Middle School have the opportunity to work in like- minded groups within special times such as ‘Skills Group.’ Skills Group is run by the specialist teachers in the Arts and Technology

Structured teaching is part of the students’ daily routine. Students of Middle School are very comfortable moving around the classroom and the school independently and with purpose as they go about their learning schedule.

There are many opportunities throughout the year to share the achievements and the fun with parents and friends when we celebrate a variety of special days, such as Education Week, Science week, Footy Colours Day.

Our year culminates in a “Moving Up” ceremony for the years six students moving up to secondary the following year. This is an opportunity to celebrate the students’ achievements with their family and friends – it a great experience.

Senior School

Eastern Ranges School (ERS) is a developing toward P-12. At present, students have progressed to Year 11 resulting in the first cohort of students moving to Year 12 in 2018.

Transition planning is a significant part of senior school. As a result, curriculums have been developed that cater for the diverse needs of students. For students in years 7-10, the Victorian Curriculum will in general guide the development of individualised learning plans. For years 11-12, curriculums will be based on a pathways model, systematic instructional methods (structured teaching), and a positive support system (School-Wide PBS).

The pathway options for years 11-12 are:

  1. VCAL stream: VCAL units supported by VET courses and work experience.
  2. Applied Learning stream: modified VCAL units delivered through Pastoral programs, projects, work experience and volunteer work.
  3. Contemporary Living Stream: a curriculum based on functional living skills and community access and engagement.

It is expected that 2017 be a pilot year to trial the three curriculum options. An evaluation will be carried out periodically to determine improvement areas in each of the curriculum areas.


Speech pathology at Eastern Ranges School works to assist our students to access the curriculum. Our two full time speech pathologists work within a consultative model within the classroom to provide support to staff. This enables classroom staff to continue to support communication in a functional and meaningful way throughout the day.


Support is also provided though:

  • Direct classroom consultation to classroom staff including: modelling recommended strategies, Individual Learning Plan support, support, etc.
  • Parent meetings
  • Device trials and maintenance
  • Professional development sessions
  • Development of assessment and teaching resources
  • Contribution to curriculum and policy development

The Speech Pathology team at Eastern Ranges School support the scope of current recommendations from Speech Pathology Australia. Speech pathology service provision for individuals with ASD should be flexible and dynamic with a focus on achieving functional and meaningful outcomes.

The primary role of Occupational Therapy at Eastern Ranges School is to support and enable students to participate throughout the school day, to the best of their ability. To achieve this the Occupational Therapists consider environmental factors that affect individual students learning, as well as their interests and motivations.


At Eastern Ranges School the Occupational Therapists work collaboratively within the classroom with teaching and support staff to develop strategies that support students to achieve their learning goals, as well as to access the curriculum. The Occupational Therapists provide consultation to staff in the following areas:

  • Sensory processing and self-regulation – To enable students to be in a ‘ready to learn’ state throughout the day.
  • Play skills – Including imaginative play and social skills.
  • Fine motor skills – To encourage manipulation of small objects and tool use (e.g. scissors, pencils and cutlery)
  • Pre-writing and handwriting skills – including tracing/copying shapes, prewriting lines, letters and numbers.
  • Gross motor skills – Necessary for the classroom such as core strength, coordination and motor planning skills.
  • Self-care – School related personal care tasks such as toileting and eating.

The Occupational Therapists occasionally run group programs for students with similar needs (e.g. fine motor/writing, regulation and fussy eating groups). They also assist classroom staff to develop individualised therapy room programs, for students who need more support to stay regulated in the classroom and to achieve their learning goals. The therapy room contains a range of sensory equipment including swings, tunnels, therapy balls and a trampoline with a crashmat.

At times, the Occupational Therapists participate in case meetings with families and teaching staff to support shared goals. Support is also provided to leadership, classroom and other specialist/therapy staff through Occupational Therapy run professional development sessions and through collaboration around school wide initiatives, curriculum development and resourcing.

Eastern Ranges School currently has two part time Occupational Therapists who work Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.


Music Therapy at Eastern Ranges School works to support our students in all areas of development and the curriculum. The Music Therapy program has a flexible service delivery model, determined by individual student goals and the school wide focus.


Music Therapy Services may include:

  • Classroom music therapy developmental sessions
  • Parent/child music based therapy sessions
  • Using music to motivate students to communicate and/or play
  • Using music to assist with emotional regulation
  • Using music to assist with specific motor movements
  • Music composition and Song writing
  • Professional development sessions
  • Development of music resources

Music Therapy at Eastern Ranges School is run by a Music Therapist who has training in Neurological Music Therapy Techniques and is registered with the Australian Music Therapy Association. Music Therapy is the planned use of music to actively support students as they strive to improve their functioning and wellbeing. Music Therapists incorporate a range of music making methods within and through a therapeutic relationship.

Visual Arts

The Eastern Ranges School Visual Art program offers our students an opportunity to explore skill development and creativity in a structured environment.

The program is run according to the Victorian Curriculum which encourages students to explore visual art materials and techniques, gives students opportunities to experiment with art forms, make choices and to discuss their work and the work of others.

Students have exposure to a wide variety of art skills in the areas of painting, drawing, textiles, construction, collage and printmaking. Students are able to access the programme at all levels from sensory experiences to basic art skills and through to more challenging ones.

The Visual Arts programme focuses on creating two and three dimensional artwork, allowing students to explore a huge variety of materials and techniques. Students work on skill development, fine motor skills and spatial concepts as well as an understanding of the basic elements and principles of art making. Students have the opportunity to explore the sensory component of art making through play and investigation. The program gives all of our students the chance to engage with art making at their individual level.

The school has a large well equipped art room which allows flexibility in its set up. Students can work alone, in a small group or with a staff member all in the same room. Students work independently on tasks and projects which are designed for their particular level. They also work one on one, or in a small group, with the teacher to learn and practise skills.

Eastern Ranges has a number of display boards around the school where students’ artwork is displayed to celebrate their achievements and encourage observation and discussion.

Alongside teaching the Victorian Curriculum, the art department currently runs a senior elective in drawing, supports the VCAL program and collaborates with Performing Arts and Technology to deliver skills groups and one off projects. We aim to connect with the wider community and this year senior students participated in an excursion to the National Gallery of Victoria to see the David Hockney exhibition.

Eastern Ranges Visual Art programme encourages the idea that the art making process is more important than the final product and that everyone’s art work is worthy of recognition. The program encourages self-expression, creativity, independence, communication and confidence and recognises the unique contributions of ALL our students.

Performing Arts

Performing Arts at Eastern Ranges School is one of the specialist subjects offered to every student across the school and offered with reference to the Victorian Curriculum.

Students experience different creative mediums such as drama, dance, music, games and song.

The classes are prepared around the Victorian Curriculum. Performing Arts covers a range of different areas within the curriculum in particular personal and social capabilities.

In drama, students explore verbal and non-verbal communication, recognising and expressing emotion and engaging their imaginations through dramatic play.

Drama requires students to engage with others and work together, building on cooperative skills such as, turn taking, listening and play making.

Drama assists in the development of creative self-expression, decision making and problem solving, an understanding of self and builds self-confidence and a sense of worth and respect for others.

There are many forms of drama that the students explore such as mime, improvisation, role plays, puppet plays and masked drama.

Students perform productions at the end of each term.

Students also participate in dance classes. Through dance, students use the body as an instrument and movement as the medium for personal, social, emotional, and physical communication.

Students have the chance to use props and costumes, which really helps with engagement.

Students practice choreographic, technical and expressive skills and work towards a performance at the end of each term.

We are currently working towards putting on a whole school production in the future so that families can attend and witness the incredible talent that we have at Eastern Ranges School.


The Classroom Music Program is a new program to the school in 2017. In the current model, all students in the school are involved in the music program throughout the school year. This might be in the form of formal classes or extra curricula activities.

The Music Hub is a fantastic space with a large Band Room, storage for all of our instruments and a magnificent courtyard. In the courtyard, there is a large brick wall, the VCAL students a apart of one of their projects and assessments have designed a beautiful mural that will be painted onto the brick work by all of the Senior School students in late July/August. In December, we are looking forward to having outdoor concerts with this fantastic back drop behind the stage.

Currently all Middle and Junior school classes access the Music Curriculum for two terms of the year each. The focus for these classes are on beat and following colour patterns on instruments. The concept and keeping of beat/pulse is an important foundation in music tuition, we use many instruments and contexts to practice our keeping of beat. Instruments such as Hand Bells and Boomwackers are utilised in the Middle and Junior areas. These instruments are colour coded and create a good visual for the students. Using these instruments the students work on turn taking which leads to the students playing a structure song on the instruments. At the end of the semester that the students have had Music they will participate in a Sub School Concert were all classes and students from Middle School or Junior School will perform. The performance could be anything from singing a song to playing the hand bells, it all depends on the students and classes preference in what sounds they connect with.

The extra curricula activities that are offered to Senior students include: Rock Band, Choir and Percussion Band. Every band has a full group rehearsal every week. In addition to this, students receive a fortnightly one on one session in which they learn the instrument related to the group they are in, this including; bass guitar, drums, voice etc. The focus within each of the bands is team work, listening to what the other students are doing and working together.

The School Bands, Rock Band, Choir and Percussion Band will all have other performances throughout the year, these are community based performances that will be during school time and also evening performances. As an example, the Choir have been invited to perform at the Maroondah All Inclusive Performance Festival in June.

Every semester there will be a School Music Concert, this is an opportunity for classes and the bands to perform for the parents and staff of the school. We believe that performance is the most important element of studying music, and it is also were interpersonal development occurs as well as building of social skills can take place. This is why we endeavour for all students in the school to experience performance.


Eastern Ranges School values sees technology as crucial in supporting our students in social, communication, and behavioural interactions.

Following the Victorian Curriculum, programs are established based on:

  • Design and Technologies
  • Digital Technologies

ERS has invested significantly to meet the learning needs of our students for the 21st century. Research highlight the vital roles technology can play in improving outcomes for students with disabilities. ERS has  2 Technology Rooms- Primary and Secondary. Each classroom is equipped with two iPads and two computes. In addition, we have a Magic Carpet Room and Green Screen Room for filming. The school also has as 12 interactive screens across the school.

Video Modelling is a focus at ERS and we contribute to METV as well Our School Show to support School Wide Positive Behavioural Support (SWPBS).  We stride using Video Modelling to help our students learn functional life skills. In addition, we are proud to have won awards for some of the videos students have created! Previous videos topics have included: washing hands,  greeting people, personal care, cyber-safety and fire evacuations.

We also explore a variety of different coding/programming devices, such as Sphero, Bee-Bots, Edison Robots, and a variety of Apps to teach our students visual ways of coding/prograding.

The technology department at ERS is proud of all our work over the past 3 years since establishing the program. We also have held special events/activities such as: Girls Technology Club, Robot Incursion, Lego Power design car competitions, Life Education Van Visit about Cyber-safety and many others. If you wish to discuss Technology at ERS further, please feel free to contact Mark (ASD Technology Specialist).

We are also proud to be an e-Smart School.

Physical Education

The Health and Physical Education Department at Eastern Ranges School (ERS) provides opportunities for students to develop their knowledge of movement and physical activity through a range of school based activities. We aim to improve coordination, fitness, fundamental motor skill development and knowledge of sports and games during weekly PE lessons, whilst ensuring that all students are having fun! Though H.P.E we promote good sportsmanship, healthy lifestyle choices and encourage the participation of all students across the school.

Primary aged students access the Warm Up room at the commencement of their class. Here they work on balance, coordination and crossing the midline through a variety of activities. Secondary aged students access the Fitness Centre to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, coordination, local muscular endurance and flexibility. Students use equipment such as the treadmill, cross trainer, stepper machine, exercise bike, rowing machine, weights and boxing equipment. Students participate in physical activities that develop health related and skill related fitness components, and create and monitor personal fitness plans (Victorian Curriculum, HPE).

ERS also offers an interschool sport program that runs all year round. Students participate every Friday afternoon against other schools in the South-East Special Schools Sports Association. Some of the sports include:

  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Gymnastics
  • Football
  • Tee Ball
  • Athletics
  • Cross Country
  • Lawn Bowls
  • Indoor Cricket
  • Hockey

South-East Special Schools Sport Network aims to “Provide a wide range of quality interschool sporting opportunities that promotes physical and social development for secondary students with an intellectual disability”. The Association is divided into two divisions to better cater for the needs of the students and schools involved. ERS takes part in both the Competition and Development Divisions and therefore able to meet the learning needs of all of our students here at ERS.

Outdoor Education

At Eastern Ranges School the Outdoor Education Program includes learning at school both in the indoor and outdoor classroom and time engaging with the broader community in both natural and built environments.

At Junior School, students take part in Outdoor Education on a weekly basis. Both classroom staff and specialist staff are involved in the delivery of the program. Students learn important topics for successful community engagement such as safely crossing the road, holding hands when necessary, identifying community signs, dressing appropriately for the weather, being sunsmart when outdoors, sharing play equipment with each other and the community and transitioning between unfamiliar environments. Students participate in both walking excursions and bus excursions and are expected to pack their excursion bags pre departure and unpack their bags on return to school. Students identify and explore natural and built environments in the local community where physical activity (such as playing, walking, running) can take place (Victorian Curriculum, HPE). Students participate in outdoor games and activities to examine how participation promotes a connection between the community, natural and built environments, and health and wellbeing (Victorian Curriculum, HPE).

In Middle School Outdoor Education, students have the opportunity to participate in full day excursions with the Outdoor Education teacher, classroom staff and volunteers. The benefits and goals of the program are individualised and cover numerous areas of the curriculum and growth for participants. This Program aims to prepare students for overnight camp experiences in the future, increase community awareness and connection, and promote confidence, social skills and working in teams.

The Outdoor Education Programs has the following Victorian Curriculum links:

Health and Physical Education: being healthy, safe and active. Explore how participation in outdoor activities supports personal and community health and wellbeing and creates connections to the natural and built environment.

Personal and Social Capability: identify and express a range of emotions in their interactions with others, recognise personal qualities, achievements and strengths. Recognising that attempting new and challenging tasks are an important part of development.

Critical and Creative Thinking: students generate ideas that are new to them and make choices after considering personal preferences. They apply questioning as a tool to focus or expand thinking.

Science: describe how different places meet the needs of living things and the observable features of living vs non-living things.

Geography: define place and identify and describe features of places and changes at a local scale. Students to identify how people are connected to different places and explain the value of places to people.

Students take part in Outdoor Education excursions with the specialist teacher and classroom staff. This allows for thorough reflection, debriefing and learning after such experiences. Classroom staff are able to make links to the excursion for future teaching in all areas of the curriculum. For example, when visiting a bushland environment students may see birds, insects and native wildlife. Students are then able to go back to the classroom and further research a species they have seen, do a research project on that species and present to their class group.

In 2017 a Camps Committee was formed with representation of all areas of the school. The Committee meets regularly to discuss camp experiences for students across all sub-schools- Junior, Middle and Senior. The team is working hard to create ongoing camp experiences for each year level. This includes sub-school-wide day adventures to new places, overnight school sleep outs, day-camp experiences and overnight camp stays. In future times parents can expect consistency in what will be offered at each level of their child’s schooling.

It is exciting and growing times in the Outdoor Education and Camp Experience world, what a great time to be a part of an exciting journey!


The Aquatics Program at Eastern Ranges School runs for students from Foundation – Grade Six. The program runs all year with students participating once a week in a half an hour session.

The aquatic program has a major focus on water safety and students learn and consolidate skills such as safe water entries, rescue techniques, rescue strokes, floating and the use of floatation aids. Furthermore, students learn basic swimming strokes such as freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke. In Middle School, students have the opportunity to access the local community swimming pool to work on both water safety skills and stroke development, as well as generalising their independent dressing skills in a new environment. The program also allows students to work with the swimming teacher and classroom staff to develop independent dressing skills and build confidence in and around the water environment.

Students are assessed based on Swim and Survive standards from Royal Lifesaving Victoria with further assistance, resourcing and collaboration with Autism Swim. Autism Swim allows our swimming teachers to access expert professionals to help in designing individual swimming lessons for specific student needs.

The skills and techniques learnt in the Aquatics Program will assist students in future camp experiences that have a focus on water paly activities such as surfing, canoeing and beach swimming.


Eastern Ranges School are currently offering Foundation VCAL to a group of senior students. The VCAL Program is the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning and is based on a practical learning approach. VCAL consists of four learning strands; Literacy, Numeracy, Personal Development Skills and Work Related Skills. Through this hands on learning approach students gain skills and knowledge relevant to work and life. Students gain practical work-related experience, develop their personal development skills as well as the traditional Literacy and Numeracy skills.

Typically students spend some days in the classroom and work on various projects as a group as well as completing Student Workplace Learning placements. Students have been involved in projects such as a fundraising Sausage Sizzle, Transition Expo, Doggie Treats (business model), ERS Café, School Annual Magazine, TV Web Show, Music Mural and The Coffee Project. VCAL at Eastern Ranges School is proud to involve the local community in its programs and we believe that a successful partnership in VCAL involves school, home and our local community.

For the student to successfully complete the VCAL certificate they must meet all the criteria in ten units of study in VCAL. A unit of study can be either:

  • one VCAL unit
  • one VCE unit
  • 90 hours for VET modules or units of competence and/or Further Education (FE) modules.

There is a particular criteria of certain units that are required to complete the certificate. Students are able to access parts of the VCAL curriculum and be immersed in the learning without completing the certificate in its entirety.


The Transition program covers all students in Years 10, 11 and 12 at Eastern Ranges School.

Karen Gieschen (Transition Coordinator) and Sheona Lord (Transition Assistant) work closely with all curriculum areas – VCAL, Applied Learning, Contemporary Living Curriculum and Victorian Curriculum to assist teachers in obtaining best learning outcomes for all students.

Programs we are directly involved with are:

  1. School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBATS) – these are offered to eligible students in areas such as hospitality and food processing. We work closely with staff from atEast, a consortium of secondary schools in the Outer East to provide students with opportunities to gain valuable experience at work whilst studying a certificate course.
  2. Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses. In 2017 ERS are offering 13 VCAL students Certificate 11 in Public Safety. This course is delivered onsite by Magenta Training and involves both theory and practical learning over a two year period. We are also pleased to have Mountain District Learning Centre deliver components of Certificate 1 in Work Education to students in our Applied Learning groups. The MDLC trainer, delivers the course at ERS each Thursday morning.
  3. Structured Workplace Learning (SWL) is a vital part of the VCAL curriculum and students are placed in appropriate workplaces to learn about all aspects of going to work. Waverley Industries is a huge part of our SWL program with 19 students attending their site in Notting Hill during Term 2. In Term 2 we are expanding the student’s experiences into the community with a variety of workplaces including Good Start Early Learning, A Touch of Class and Airfab in Ferntree Gully, Radio 3MDR in Emerald and AFL in Docklands.
  4. Exploring Post School Options – students from the Contemporary Living Curriculum classes have begun accessing day services in Ferntree Gully and Lilydale with the aim of transition to post school options. We have also organised visits to YourDNA in Ringwood and Creative Moves in Mt. Waverley to prepare students for choices they may make when they leave school.
  5. The Depot – Transition staff support classroom teachers and students in their work in the ERS Depot – this involves providing pre-vocational tasks for students across senior school to undertake including recycling, paper fill, delivery of cleaning materials, collection of school banking, laminating, shredding, and maintaining kitchen and Depot supplies.

Karen also assists parents to complete their Disability Support Pension and other associated entitlements paperwork. This can be a daunting task that takes considerable planning and organisation.

One of the main focuses of our role during Semester One has been visiting a variety of post school option services to enable us to learn more about what is available in the Outer East for our students and families. So far we have visited Burke and Beyond, Interchange Outer East, Yarra View Nursery, Knoxbrooke, Monkami, Melba Services, Fire and Clay and Tasty AZ in Lilydale.

One of the highlights of Transitions in 2017 was the Transition EXPO which was held on June 1st. The VCAL students, under the expert direction of Bec, Tania and Jaspal assisted in organising 35 providers to attend ERS and set up information tables and close to 80 people attended the EXPO. We hope to run this EXPO each year to help inform parents and students of the post school options available in the Outer East.

Parents and students are invited to contact Transition staff to discuss the post school options available and view the many brochures we have in our office.

Karen Gieschen
Transition Coordinator
Eastern Ranges School