Port Phillip Specialist School has 2 sub schools.
- An Early Learning Program (ELP) located at the Uniting Church kindergarten about 100 metres from the main school campus. Children who attend this program are between the ages of 2.5 and 5 years of age. Once they are eligible to attend school they can apply to attend PPSS.
- Junior Program – for students aged 2.5 to 10 years of age
- Senior Program – for students aged 11 to 18 years of age
The School also offers the Sensory Teaching / Education Program for students of all ages who have sensory, physical, and multiple disabilities.
Port Phillip Specialist School began a process of review and development of its curriculum offerings in 2003. This detailed and rewarding process enabled all staff to discuss the nature of the educational core of the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of our practices.
These data gathering professional discussions resulted in our shared commitment to making the arts: dance, drama, music and visual art, the central vehicles by which we deliver all of our English, Mathematics, Physical Education/Health/Wellbeing and living skills goals. It has been a recognition, through research and by observation, that has led PPSS to understand the power of the arts to engage learners and therefore to facilitate deeper learning.
This is a key understanding in appreciating our movement to an arts-based curriculum. The arts can empower and engage where other teaching methods do not elicit such a positive response. An important part of this new approach is to bring arts-based therapy and teaching closer together. This integrated approach has therapists from Art Therapy, Drama Therapy, Music Therapy, Physiotherapy, Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy coming together with class teachers and specialist subject teachers to plan appropriate units of work to engage and extend the learning opportunities for our students.
This innovative approach to learning and teaching means that we are constantly breaking new ground in discerning opportunities to improve our practices. Ongoing professional development for all staff, that is targeted to support our visual and performing arts curriculum, is a high priority as we continually seek ways to improve and develop our practices. In practical terms this means that our students continue to regularly see specialist teachers in Art, Dance, Drama, Music, Physical Education and Swimming.
These areas of learning are also used in meaningful and directed ways by the classroom teacher to achieve literacy, numeracy and living skills goals. Our students may also see a therapist either on a one-to-one basis or as part of a small group or with the therapist working alongside a teacher in a classroom.