At Mount Waverley Primary School, our curriculum is based on the Victorian Curriculum. This sets out what every student should learn during their first eleven years of schooling. The curriculum is the common set of knowledge and skills required by students for life-long learning, social development and active and informed citizenship.
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“We can’t learn to swim without swimming, to write without writing, to sing without singing or to read without reading”
At Mount Waverley Primary School, students are immersed in reading and we foster a love of reading and aim to create lifelong readers. We want our students to actively think about what they read, engage in discussions about what they read and form their own ideas and opinions. They use metacognition and their schemas to relate what they have read to their own experiences, other texts and the wider world.
During our daily reading lessons students are explicitly taught reading strategies with the gradual release of responsibility (I Do, We Do, You Do). They enjoy ‘Read Alouds’ with their teacher who models the strategy, followed by peer discussions before engaging with a range of texts and practising the strategy themselves. Students will individually conference or participate in Guided Reading with their teacher to set future learning goals and celebrate successes. During our daily reading lessons students are also explicitly taught how to read accurately and fluently.
Our Daily Reading Lessons empower students to:
- View reading as a meaning-making process, as opposed to one about words and word parts
- Identify and talk about many beloved titles, authors and genres
- Independently choose books of interest at their reading level
- Self-monitor for understanding and use fix-up strategies when necessary
- Engage in meaningful reading for a sustained period of time
- Discuss and think about books with others
“If they can’t say it, they can’t write it.” Ros Wilson
At Mount Waverley Primary School our daily writing lessons consist of explicit modelling of writing practices combined with the use of rich language and student discussions to generate ideas. Our approach to writing utilises Big Write and VCOP as well as engaging language games and handwriting practise.
What is Big Write and VCOP?
Big Write and VCOP is a fast paced, fun filled writing program that is based around talk. At the heart of Big Write is the development of the writing voice. Big Write and VCOP creates a positive ethos towards writing for all students. Writing improvement is achieved through a series of highly motivating, differentiated lessons that embed all the basic skills and knowledge that children require to be successful and continue to improve. The use of the Australian Criterion Scale ensures consistency of assessment between and across grade levels. The Big Write methodology is; ‘if they can’t say it, they can’t write it.’ With talk and communication, an imperative element of the approach, it directly appeals to those who are reluctant writers. Our students are encourage to be ambitious, up-level their writing and focus on the elements of VCOP. By highlighting these areas and independently using the Student Criterion Scale our students are empowered by understanding the simple and successful ways to improve their writing.
At Mount Waverley Primary School our students are explicitly taught the 44 phonemes and 26 letters of the alphabet. They are immersed in texts from Prep and are encouraged to become ‘code breakers’. Using their knowledge to segment unfamiliar words into sounds when the read and also apply their knowledge of sounds and spelling rules to accurately spell words. As they move through the school they explore the meaning of words through grammar, word morphology and etymological knowledge.
Our school uses the phonics teaching tool THRASS which has a phonographic and multisensory focus. As a classroom strategy THRASS is fun, systematic and explicit.
Speaking and Listening
‘The relationship between oral language ability and academic success has been well established.’ Resnick and Snow.
We pride ourselves on developing confident speakers and active listeners throughout all aspects of the curriculum. This is achieved through our passion for Student Voice, Agency and Leadership within the classroom and its integration into all lessons. Our students develop these skills through participating in rich classroom discussions, Reader’s Theatre, presentations to peers, debates, turn ‘n’ talks, reciprocal teaching and their continued display of our school values.
Reading Recovery is a program that provides an additional opportunity for children whose literacy skills are slow to develop. At Mount Waverley, Reading Recovery is available for selected Year One students who, after their first formal year of schooling, are experiencing difficulties with reading and writing. Students receive a thirty-minute individual lesson each day from a specially trained teacher in addition to the regular classroom literacy program. Reading Recovery accelerates student learning and provides intensive teaching for a period of up to twenty weeks. The Reading Recovery teacher identifies the needs of each child and designs an individualised series of lessons that will assist them to develop the skills and strategies necessary to become successful readers and writers.
English as an Additional Language
Students who are new arrivals from a non-English speaking country are supported to learn English in the classroom. In addition to the classroom programs, eligible students participate in small group specialist sessions to develop their English language competence and improve their learning outcomes throughout the curriculum to a level where they can fully participate in school activities.
At Mount Waverley Primary School we have a whole school approach to the development and delivery of a comprehensive Numeracy program designed to foster and promote a love for Mathematics, develop numeracy skills, understandings and strategies of all our students. We believe in and value a positive Mathematical Mindset for all our students and teachers and actively teach this mindset in our daily program.
We aim to equip students with the mathematical concepts, attitudes and strategies necessary for their school life and beyond. MWPS students explore real world contexts and appreciate that Mathematics is an essential and relevant part of life. The areas covered are based on the following Maths Dimensions as identified in the Victorian Curriculum Maths Domain: Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry and Statistics and Probability. These three areas are formally reported on twice a year in accordance with department (DET) guidelines.
All classes participate in numeracy for an hour every day.
Our daily Mathematics workshops follows the ‘whole-part-whole’ strategy. This approach includes a warm up to promote mathematical vocabulary and develop fluency and reasoning through verbal discussions such as Number Talks, Thinking Routines etc. This is then followed by explicit teaching of concepts and understandings. Students then have opportunities to apply their knowledge to problem solving situations either individually or in collaborative groups. Throughout the workshop, students take part in focussed teaching groups, complete independent, partner or group work and are involved in roving conferences with their teacher. Each workshop session is concluded with an opportunity to reflect on learning and to share successful strategies.
Through the provision of a differentiated curriculum, students work according to their abilities and specific learning needs to understand the mathematical concepts required to effectively solve real life and open ended problems through hands on tasks and investigations. Students also have opportunities to extend their learning by challenging themselves on the curriculum continuum and this is supported by all teachers within each classroom.
Manipulatives allow students to connect mathematical ideas to physical objects thus leading to a deeper understanding. At Mount Waverley Primary School, teachers and students have access to a wide range of high quality equipment which are used regularly to support learning.
Technology plays a significant role in our Mathematics curriculum. iPads, laptops and interactive TV screens are used regularly as tools to support Mathematics learning. To cater for the varying needs of our students, in 2020, a differentiated approach to online programs was undertaken. Foundation – Year 3 students consolidate their classroom learning using the online program Matific, while the Year 4-6 students use Mathspace.
Teachers reflect on their practice through regular meetings with their Professional Learning Team colleagues and continue on-going professional development to enhance a high level of knowledge in order to best cater for all students.
At Mount Waverley Primary School we have a strong commitment to digital learning. Students in Years Prep to 2 have access to a bank of laptops to enable weekly skills sessions. They also have laptops and iPads to use as part of their class programs. Students in Years 3 to 6 have lessons on an individual, group and whole class basis as the need arises.
Students in our Year 4 to 6 classes have to opportunity to participate in our 1:1 computing program. The laptops are used to support and extend the class programs. The students engage in a variety of activities, using a range of software and peripherals. Digital Learning is integrated across all areas of the primary school curriculum where skills are developed within the curriculum and not taught in isolation.
We strongly believe that students benefit by using software that they control and not computer programs to which they merely respond. We have selected applications which are used to support the development of learning outcomes across the curriculum and to engage the students in collaborative, co-operative and problem solving activities. Multimedia is particularly beneficial in the development of higher order thinking skills and in allowing for different learning styles.
Each class has a blog, or weblog, in which teachers and students reflect on experiences. Email and collaborative documents using both Office 365 and Google apps are used throughout the school, appropriately for the students’ needs.
At Mount Waverley Primary School we have recognised that we must remain at the forefront of maximising the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in our classrooms. Proudly over the past six years, the school has invested significant time and financial support into developing successful BYOD laptop and iPad programs. These innovative programs are driven by the need to not only adapt to the Victorian Curriculum, but also to continue to increase student engagement and student learning outcomes.
The Victorian Curriculum integrates ICT throughout English, Mathematics and other domains. It is therefore critical that our school’s leadership team and staff continue to advocate for, and use technology, to broaden the learning of their students.
Mount Waverley Primary School is privileged to be a pilot school of the New Pedagogies Project. This program has focussed on creating ‘deep learning experiences’ in which technology can facilitate. We firmly believe that the BYOD program enables students to engage in real life learning experiences which engage them and create exciting new possibilities for all involved.
An eSmart school is a school where the smart, safe and responsible use of information and communications technology is a cultural norm. Students, teachers and the wider school community are equipped to embrace the best these technologies can offer, while being savvy about the pitfalls.
To insure that our students are competent and safe users of new and emerging technology, we are committed to implementing a program which educates our students in the safe, responsible and ethical use of the internet and social networking.
As such, we have developed an eSmart curriculum for the students and teachers to use. We provide parent information through the school newsletter and provide opportunities for staff professional development. We are working towards becoming an eSmart school