Our Primary School Curriculum

Our Primary School curriculum comprises a combined curriculum of the Victorian Curriculum and the Thüringer Lehrplan from the German state of Thuringia.

At Prep, our students are engaged in a program that is taught in 80% German and 20% English. This provides them with a solid foundation in German that can be built on in later years. By the end of primary, students are taking their classes in an approximately 50/50 split between German and English.

In addition to having both German and English as the languages of instruction, DSM has a unique curriculum that is informed by and meets the requirements of both Germany and Australia. DSM complies with all obligations placed on it by the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA). Additionally, DSM is recognized by the Kulturminister Konferenz (KMK) and the Zentralstelle für Auslandsschulwesen as a German School Abroad (Deutsche Auslandsschule, DAS). This blended curriculum allows for smooth transfer between school systems for expats and Late-Entry students, and draws on the strengths of each system to create a wide, robust curriculum informed by both systems, as well as their accompanying cultures and worldviews. This allows us to offer our students a program that is tailored to their needs, rigorous in its content and skills, and is truly international in focus.

The DSM curriculum incorporates the compulsory aspects of the Victorian Curriculum and draws on its strengths of wide-ranging topics and the interconnectedness of content. While each subject is contained within a standalone framework, this framework emphasizes its content links to other subject areas, as well as the acquisition and transfer of skills across disciplines and levels. Complimenting this, DSM incorporates the curriculum of the German state of Thuringia. In the junior years, this broadly follows the Grundschullehrplan and in the middle years the Gemeinschaftsschullehrplan (Gesamtschule). This curriculum is based around a deep understanding of subject knowledge, as well as the methodological, personal and social competencies needed to achieve success in the study of each subject. Thus, the breadth of the Victorian Curriculum and the depth of the Thuringian Lehrplan are combined to create a rigorous program that encourages independent inquiry and cross-curricular understanding.

In primary school, most subjects are compulsory. The subjects taught are: German, English, Mathematics, Integrated Studies/Sachunterricht (Science, Humanities and Social Sciences), Health and Physical Education (HPE), Art, Music and Class Council. From Year 5, students begin learning French. Students also participate in Ethics classes, unless they elect to participate in Religious Education instead. German, English and French are taught in their respective languages. Mathematics is taught in German until Year 3, after which it becomes taught in both languages. Integrated Studies (English) and Sachunterricht (German) are taught at all levels and cover different topics. Physical Education, Art and Music are generally taught in German at the junior years and then can be taught in either from the middle years. Below are sample timetables showing a typical day at different year levels.

Please find below more details on each of the subjects taught:


At Deutsche Schule Melbourne, we merge the Victorian and German Mathematics curricula:

  • In the early years, the curricula are taught exclusively in the German language.
  • From Year 3 onwards, one Mathematics lesson a week is taught in English and follows the Victorian curriculum. This ensures students have the required technical vocabulary in both languages.
  • Every other lesson is taught in German and incorporates both curricula.

There are distinct differences between the Mathematics curricula of Thuringia and Victoria. The Thuringian curriculum focuses heavily on first principles and understanding the concepts underpinning mathematical processes while the Victorian Curriculum is concerned with the practical application of mathematical knowledge and problem-solving. By including both approaches in the DSM curriculum, our students learn to deeply understand the principles behind algorithms and concepts while drawing on them to explore real-world application of knowledge. The approach to teaching Mathematics in both curricula is cyclical, with knowledge being revised, connected and built upon at each year level. By offering both curricula, these learnings cycle more frequently and benefit from expanded viewpoints and more varied strategies. Many of our alumni have said that the advanced Mathematics education they received at DSM has helped them to excel in their early high school years. 

The contrast between Mathematics in Germany and Victoria is more prominent in higher year levels. Some of these differences are:

  • Students learn to think abstractly in German Mathematics, allowing them to explore mathematical concepts more deeply
  • In the German curriculum, students are taught a wider range of mathematical strategies to solve a single problem, giving them more tools to draw on
  • The Victorian curriculum extends the number realm earlier while the German curriculum concentrates on algorithms before extensions
  • The Victorian curriculum has a stronger focus on modelling and probability, while the German curriculum emphasises arithmetic and algebra
  • The Victorian curriculum introduces some topics, such as fractions, earlier, while the German curriculum covers them from a first principles standpoint



Our curriculum covers both Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

However, we integrate ICT in all aspects of school life. This includes using laptops and iPads to create content and robots to help with spelling. We also incorporate Osmo activities (i.e. games which blend digital and physical play) and technology projects into our lessons.

The following are examples of some initiatives we have in these areas:

  • Curricular arts and music classes
  • Scientists in school programs
  • Engineering-related excursions
  • School concerts
  • Art exhibitions

French is taught as a beginner’s foreign language from Year 5 onwards. Over two lessons each week, students learn to discuss content to do with themselves, their preferences and their daily life. The emphasis is on vocabulary relevant to the students and the core grammatical structures necessary to construct simple sentences. This engages students and enhances the sense of relevancy to their learning. 

Additionally, the grammar taught is cyclical, meaning that structures are constantly reused, reviewed and built upon. This helps students by regularly reinforcing previous content, encouraging them to look for patterns (including by comparing and contrasting to other known languages) and experimenting with applications of previously learned content. Students are also invited to engage with French culture by comparing their lives to those of children in other Francophone countries, thereby also gaining appreciation of French as a global language.

Similar to German and English, French is also the main language of instruction of the class. This affords students as much exposure to the target language as possible. This is supported through comprehension strategies including the use of accompanying gestures and visual aids, repetition of key vocabulary and instructions, active learning techniques, regular check-ins to monitor comprehension and explanations in English/German for particularly difficult concepts. In particular, the early lessons are spent introducing students to the language of the classroom (instructions, learning materials, questions and responses to clarify content e.g. “Comment dit-on ______ en français/anglais/allemand?” – “How do you say _________ in French/English/German?”) which gives students the tools to participate in class in the target language. This ‘learning to learn’ approach reduces cognitive load later on, as the students have already internalized the language of learning before they tackle further content.

Unlike the other languages at DSM, there is no expectation for students to express themselves as extensively in French as they would in German or English by the end of Year 6. The exposure to the language is significantly less than the other two, with no additional subjects being taught in French. The goal of this program is to give students the confidence to participate in verbal exchanges using known vocabulary and structures, read and write simple texts, and an appreciation of the variety of French cultures across the globe. Completing Year 6 would roughly correspond to reaching a level of A1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.



At Deutsche Schule we provide a solid foundation for students to their physical education journey.

We build and consolidate our students' fundamental movement skills through various activities and games that also build confidence and resilience. We strike a balance through teaching via a problem-solving approach as well as instructional teaching and learning. We also use Sporting Schools funding, a government initiative to foster student’s physical literacy. The cooperation with local sporting groups like Collingwood Basketball and others make our students also find grassroots sports in the area. We are keen on expanding our student’s knowledge about sports off the beaten track like Lacrosse or Lawn Bowls.

We compete in Sporting Schools Victoria and have had successful soccer and swimming teams.

Our swimming program takes place at Collingwood Leisure Centre once a year throughout a whole term which provides a valuable experience for our students.

The sporty highlight of the year is the annual Athletics Carnival at Collingwood Harriers Athletics Track where we offer traditional competitions alongside fun activities.


In Term 3 of our school year, all students take part in an intensive swimming program taught at Collingwood Leisure Centre.

Each Friday throughout the whole Term 3 our students will have 45-minute swimming lessons. The class sizes are small to provide a great learning environment for all our students.

On the first day of the intensive swimming program each student's swimming skills will be assessed before being placed in the appropriate group. The assessment is done by the school intensive swim program coordinator against the Royal Life Saving Society Australia's Swim and Survive Program criteria.

The following swimming lessons will be spent learning and practicing swimming skills within each group. Our students will partake in water safety exercises where they will learn and perform reach & throw rescues, learn to swim with their regular clothes on, enter the water with a life jacket and swim using survival strokes.

There will be final assessments taking place to conclude the intensive swimming program and each child will receive a certificate to reflect their achieved swimming level.


The Art Program is a special part of our school that helps students grow their artistic talents and express themselves in creative ways.

Throughout all year levels, from Foundation to Year 6, students get to experience two 45 minutes Art lessons in their weekly schedule. From the earliest years, students engage in hands-on artistic exploration, discovering colours, shapes, and textures as well as enhance their fine motoric skills. As they progress, our comprehensive curriculum guides them through all areas of art making including drawing, painting, textiles, printing, collage, sculpture, construction and art appreciation. The Art Program at DSM does not only nurture creativity but also fosters cultural awareness, as students explore diverse artistic traditions with a special focus on German, Austrian and Swiss culture as well as Australian contemporary and First Nations Art.

All students are formally assessed based on the Victorian Curriculum. The four different assessable areas include: Exploration and Expression, Visual Arts practices, Presentation and Performance, Response and Interpretation.

A highlight of our school calendar is the annual Art and Music Soirée – a celebration of creativity that showcases the talents of our students. This event brings together the entire school community, providing a platform for students to proudly exhibit their masterpieces and musical performances.

At Deutsche Schule Melbourne, we strongly believe that the creative journey is as important as the destination and - to use Picasso’s words – that every child is an artist.

These are some exhibits from our Art & Music Soirée in 2023:


Music at DSM is where notes are a step into creativity and self-expression.

In our regular music classes, our students will sing, play Orff instruments and strum ukuleles, adding layers of fun to their musical experience. Music lessons are compulsory throughout all year levels. In addition, our instrumental teachers, Ms. Wendtlandt and Mr. Merchant, are here to inspire. They share their passion and expertise, guiding students through learning to play the piano, guitar, bass guitar, ukulele, clarinet, and drums. All hosted in our own music pod!

The fabulous DSM Choir is a spirited group that meets once a week to share musical enchantment all around. From Year 1 students singing for the new Preppies on their first day, to weaving melodies at the Music and Art Soirée in Term 2, adding a musical touch to the DSM Christmas Market and staging on the school's End-of-Year festivity – this choir is full of joy.

We have our very own school anthem that resonates with the spirit of DSM. Every Friday, as we come together for the school assembly, everybody joins in to give life to our anthem. And our school band adds some magic to the moment as well to send everyone off to the weekend.

As a school community, we live and celebrate music. 

These are some photos from our Music & Art Soirée: