Walker Learning Approach
At Southern Grove Primary School we employ a developmentally appropriate, play-based and personalised learning program from Kindergarten to Year 6 based on the pedagogy of the Walker Learning Approach.
The Walker Learning Approach is the first major Australian based total and holistic pedagogy (Kindy to Year 6) to be designed and implemented.
The WLA is based upon decades of research, is play-based and ensures personalised learning. It is not a program or an inquiry model sitting discreetly or separately from other curriculum areas. It is a total approach to teaching and learning which combines the need for children to be active participants in their learning (through hands-on and creative exploration and investigation) and sits alongside the explicit teaching of literacy and numeracy as well as all other learning areas.
The Walker Learning Approach is the first pedagogy to be designed for Australian schools, successfully providing teaching and learning which:
Personalises and engages students in active learning alongside explicit and formalised instruction
Is culturally and developmentally appropriate across all demographic regions of the country
Focuses on the development of social and emotional development of children
Creating Engaging Centres in Play and Personalised Learning K-2
Some of the key goals for children’s learning is to promote in them the ability to think laterally and creatively. To be able to self-initiate, to explore the properties and elements of things, to problem solve, to take risks, to think deeply, to construct ideas and meaning, to utilise their own understandings and discover new ones, to become interested in endless possibilities and opportunities and to become increasingly intrinsically motivated to learn, to find out, to try, to have a go and to develop resiliency.
An important aspect of the learning environment is to ensure that children have the opportunity to construct, to create, to explore and investigate in ways that are purposeful, planned, intentional and robust by the teacher and specifically, carefully and strategically set up in ways that foster and develop skills such as problem solving, thinking critically and creatively, taking risks, constructing meaning and developing a range of skills.
Creative, open-ended investigation areas are an important element of the Walker Learning approach. Through regular play-based curriculum, the nature of how and what resources are established, set up, displayed and provided for the children is extremely important and intentionally planned.
Rich print around the room, children’s own writing, texts, posters, labels, the richness of literacy and numeracy, oral language, conversation, children’s own planning and thoughts and ideas will fill the learning spaces every day.
Learning intentions are displayed each day and, along with the focus children and reporter and photographers tasks all provide many opportunities for intentional and purposeful links back to literacy and numeracy.
Engagement Matters Years 3-6
At Southern Grove Primary School our authentic child-centred pedagogy continues across all year levels providing a seamless link between how children learn in the early years and their transition to the middle years of schooling.
In Years 3 to 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.
Personalised learning is achieved through Education Research Projects (ERP). ERPs are based on broad focus goals that are taken from the WA Curriculum and link directly to learning intentions and always include a literacy and numeracy element. 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, whether they will work independently or with other students and how they will present their project.
Students are given 3 to 4 sessions a week to work on their ERPs and are supported in their learning through input from their teachers, immersion of information and the modelling of skills that may be required. Specific students are Focus students each day who share their learning experiences and where they are up to in their project.
This approach to learning empowers the students to choose topics they are genuinely interested in, set realistic timelines for projects, take responsibility for their learning, reflect on and self-assess their work and places an emphasis on the skills of research and presentation.