Rich and Diverse
Our Primary School provides a rich and diverse educational experience full of opportunities for students to develop and grow in a supportive, caring, and inspiring environment.
Our teaching and learning staff are committed to developing strong, positive relationships with their students to create a learning atmosphere that enables students to develop tolerance, respect, and co-operation. With a strong focus on the importance of building positive relationships between staff, student and parents, the comprehensive nature of our curriculum and pedagogy encourages all students to be confident and creative individuals, successful self-regulating learners, and active and informed citizens for the 21st century.
Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.Helen Keller
The Walker Learning Approach (WLA)
Based upon extensive child development and brain research, the Walker Learning Approach (WLA) places students at the centre of their own learning, considering each individual child’s development and personal interests.
We are committed and passionate about the implementation of the WLA and believe that when students are provided with learning opportunities that empower them and allow them to make some of their own decisions, they become engaged in highly meaningful and sustained ways.
This is achieved by authentically personalising each student’s learning through a combination of individual personal interests and the Australian Curriculum. It is an approach that supports the need for children to be active participants in their learning, which sits alongside formal instruction. There is explicit teaching of not only literacy and numeracy skills and knowledge, but also the range of vital social, emotional and life skills needed to support a happy life. We have witnessed strong success using this approach where our students pose and respond to questions, solve problems, and construct deep understanding for themselves rather than being the passive recipients of someone else’s knowledge.
Prep to Year 2
In early Primary, students are introduced to some of the key concepts of the Walker Learning Approach that help to build their confidence and communication skills.
This includes allocating time to tune in and reflect on key learnings from class by implementing ‘Investigation’ lessons. During investigations, students are given the opportunity to explore ideas and interests in a developmentally appropriate way. Investigation sessions take place in learning centres, which are purposefully designed spaces that are linked to learning intentions and encourage students to co-operatively share space and resources while developing their oral language and negotiation skills. During investigations, teachers work as facilitators, recording detailed notes on students and observing individual development, while also encouraging students to think deeply. Students are assigned specific roles such as ‘Reporter’ and Photographer’ in group discussion environments that encourage them to make connections and build confidence in their strengths and skills. In early Primary, we ensure children’s interests are linked to Learning Intentions, with scaffolded links to explicit teaching in Literacy, Numeracy, Science and Humanities.
Years 3 to 6
In Years 3 to 6, students continue to develop their skills and knowledge through new elements within the Walker Learning Approach.
There is a focus on promoting independent learning where knowledge and skills are embedded using the Communication Board, the Education Research Project, Clinic Groups, Student Lead Conferences, Class Meetings and Expos. The learning environment is intentionally de-institutionalised to provide opportunities for students to work individually, in small groups and whole groups, that values and respects the needs and culture of each student. Staff continue to support and scaffold student learning through daily focus children, and we explore the use of a project-based approach to learning key discipline subject areas, which matches directly to the Australian Curriculum. Class meetings are introduced in these year levels that encourage students to discuss local, national and world events with opportunity to voice and share their opinions, feelings, and ideas. Music becomes a key component of the curriculum in these years, because of extensive research indicating the positive impact structured music learning has on brain development in the early years. From Year 3, our students are involved in both a Music Immersion program, in which students receive two lessons per week to learn an instrument, and a Performing Arts Immersion program. The Year 3 Performing Arts Immersion program sees the whole year level take part in the musical Aladdin, where students are involved in costume design, props, choreography, and singing – with a similar program being introduced in Year 6.
Uniquely St Andrew’s
Subject Focus Areas in the Primary school at St Andrew’s, include: English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities & the Social Sciences, Languages (Chinese/Mandarin), Visual Art, Music, Sport, Health and Physical Education, Design and Digital Technologies, Creative Enterprise and Christian Education.
Student Leadership can be directly linked to Service Learning which is a key component of our College’s strategic intent. We provide opportunities for students to serve and learn, to develop an understanding of the responsibilities that come with being part of a local and global community. Opportunities for leadership are available to all Year 6 students who are interested in exploring their leadership potential.
Each Term, Year 6 classes rotate through roles where staff require assistance, such as Assembly, Music, Sport, Learning Hub, Carnivals, Art, Special Events, Student Media, and Lost Property. We believe such roles enable students to gain valuable leadership experience by growing their confidence, building teamwork skills, working collaboratively, solving problems and making decisions, contributing to their ability to become responsible citizens and positive role models.
IGNITE is a program that uses the school-wide enrichment model based on the Renzulli Learning System, to help support talent development and provide opportunities for students to explore and be immersed within their interest/talent areas.
Enrichment Clusters are created for all students in Years 5 and 6 through extensive profiling of all students. This gives important information about each child's interest areas, learning styles, preferred instruction style, preferred product style and abilities. All students in Years 5 and 6 then work in their enrichment cluster group every Friday afternoon under the instruction of a teacher who has been formally trained as part of the IGNITE teaching team. In these groups, students undertake a project based around their interest/talent area.
The Big Writing program forms an important part of our English curriculum from Prep to Year 6, which teaches writing and raises writing standards. The writing elements include V-vocabulary, C-connectives, O-openers and P-punctuation which as a collective is referred to as VCOP. The foundations of VCOP are explicitly taught to students and reinforced in the ‘Big Write’ lessons which showcase each student’s independent writing skills and helps teachers to set personal goals for students to grow.
We believe in the power of evidence-based reading instruction. That's why we have adopted the Science of Reading as the foundation for our reading program. The Science of Reading is a research-based approach to teaching reading that emphasizes the crucial role of phonics and systematic, explicit instruction.
In our Prep program, we use InitialLit as our primary phonics resource. InitialLit provides engaging, interactive lessons that help our students develop strong phonemic awareness and sound-symbol relationships.
In Years 1 and 2, we continue to build on the foundation laid in Prep by using Decodable Readers Australia as a supplement to our core reading program. Decodable Readers Australia provides students with age-appropriate texts that are carefully constructed to be consistent with the phonics skills they are learning. This helps students build their decoding and comprehension skills simultaneously.
By combining these evidence-based programs with our other reading instruction, including fluency development and vocabulary instruction, we give our students the tools they need to become confident, competent readers. At St. Andrew's Anglican College, we are committed to providing our students with the best possible reading instruction, and the Science of Reading is a key part of that commitment.
The College greatly values and supports the unique challenges sought by and suited to students ready for more than the core curriculum of their year level. There is a wide range of opportunities available to students identified by the College as having learning needs suitable who would benefit from enrichment and/or extension through a review process conducted by the College’s Extension & Enrichment Management Team.
Student Wellbeing in the Primary School
Within the Primary School we aim to address the social, emotional and personal development of each student.
This is through explicit teaching of interpersonal abilities to assist students to navigate these spaces in a confident way, knowing they have the skills in place to navigate their day. We do this through three specific ways, to promote the wellbeing development of each student - through URStrong, Restorative Practices and Let’s Chat. By teaching students important skills related to social and emotional development, promoting positive relationships, and fostering a safe and supportive environment, students are able to thrive both academically and personally.
URStrong is a program designed to help students develop healthy friendships and relationships with one another. It teaches our students important life skills to help build and maintain positive relationships with their peers. By learning and putting into practice important social and emotional skills, such as empathy, kindness and communication, our students can develop a greater sense of self-awareness and assist in maintaining positive relationships with their peers. Students have explicit lessons within the classroom each week aimed to help navigate social situations more effectively, build positive relationships and develop a greater sense of confidence and self-esteem. Along with explicit class teaching we also have parent webinar sessions and access to a free parent portal to assist parents with resources and the language used within friendships to keep strong consistency between home and school.
We are a Restorative Practices school, which promotes effective ways to foster positive relationships and healthy conflict resolution. These practices involve creating a safe and supportive environment in which students are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions, repair harm caused to others, and work together to find solutions to problems. Restorative Practice sessions are a calm way to give all students a chance to feel heard, valued and repair harm caused.
We promote student awareness about their bodies with the assistance of Let's Chat. Let’s Chat is a program designed to promote awareness of healthy bodies and give students a greater understanding of their own growth and development. We also run student and parent workshops for our students in Years 6, aimed at the transition in to Secondary School and the importance of having the students aware of their development at this time.
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