Our approach to teaching and learning in the upper years of primary school continues the work of renowned educator, Kathy Walker providing a seamless link between how children learn in the early years and their transition to the middle years of schooling.
It encompasses developmentally appropriate practices to engage students in their learning and to develop the skills necessary for 21st century learning.
In Years 3 - 6, there is a balance of explicit instruction in literacy and numeracy alongside a strong emphasis on engaging students through personalised learning, integrating all key curriculum areas. The students continue to develop their skills and knowledge through a number of new elements.
- Explicit instruction teaching sessions;
- Student-led/ teacher supported class meetings;
- Children have the opportunity to learn and discuss community and world issues outside their own world to expand their capacity to understand and accept the views and perspectives of others and expand children’s minds to a broader perspective of the world and away from the egocentric self. It is an avenue for students to voice and share their opinions, feelings, experiences and ideas as part of their learning. This is a structured meeting that includes a chairperson, agenda, specific aims and criteria all of which is done in a supportive environment. It assists in creating a more tolerant and respectful community and provides opportunities for children in speaking, listening, contributing and meeting procedures (skills for life).
- A communication board;
- The communication board is an integral aspect of Walker Learning that facilitates student engagement and empowers students to have greater ownership of their learning. It assists students to organise themselves and manage timetables independently, establishes a morning ritual that deepens relationships through conversations and provides opportunities for personal interaction other than through social media and technology. It assists the students to identify some of their own learning needs, to practise being organised and to be able to communicate through a variety of methods about their learning and interests. It is dynamic and integrated into all aspects of daily learning and activities.
- Education Research Projects;
- Personalised learning is achieved through Education Research Projects (ERP). ERP’s are based on learning intentions that are taken from the Australian Curriculum and link directly to what students are learning in class. The students choose a project following conferences held with the teacher and then complete a project proposal which sets out timelines, interests and specific goals the student is working towards, and how they will present their project. The project aims to authentically integrate the curriculum where subject areas are contextualised and personalised for each student.
- Students showcase their Educational Research Projects (ERPs), in an Expo for their peers. Expos held at different points throughout the ERP highlight the importance of the learning process and facilitate peer feedback and self-reflection.
- Clinic groups;
- Clinic Groups are small pre-planned teaching groups where children’s learning is revised, supported or extended.
- Teacher, self and peer assessment; and
- Mindful planning, documentation and reporting.
Staff continue to support and scaffold the students’ learning through daily focus children and promoting teaching and learning experiences that support the whole child, placing emotional and social development of equal importance as the academic.
As the students’ age and stage of maturity changes, so does the way we provide personalised and authentic learning experiences. In Years 3 – 6, students move away from investigations to an integrated curriculum model where all subject areas are contextualised and incorporated to explore and research in a range of ways that link their own interests to the Australian Curriculum.
The learning environments are flexible, intentionally created to de-institutionalise the learning area, provide opportunities for the children to work individually, in small groups and whole groups, and values and respects the child, their needs, culture and context.
At Chapel Hill State School, we are committed to engaging children in opportunities to investigate, self-initiate, create, problem solve, have strong positive self-concept, resilience, intrinsic motivation, respectful interactions and, a strong sense of connectedness.