Our Teaching and Learning Philosophy
Northcote Primary is committed to ensuring that improved student learning is the highest priority. This is achieved by providing a comprehensive curriculum based on Government Curriculum Framework and guidelines with a focus on personalised learning. By identifying and focusing on the aptitude and interests of each individual student, the school provides a learning environment that ensures students have every opportunity to reach their potential.
To enable students to be the best they can requires a teaching and learning culture that helps students to become independent thinkers who can take risks and believe in their own abilities. In recent times, the school has had a sharpened focus on supporting improvement and consistency in teaching practices through the school. The school uses consistent teaching approaches to cater for differing student needs. The pedagogical focus is to provide an inclusive teaching and learning program, with the collaborative teaching approach to best meet the needs of all students. These approaches are informed by regular assessment of student learning and consist of a combination of targeted support programs; extension of highly able students; direct instruction; inquiry learning and the use of information and communication technology routinely across the curriculum.
High expectations and authentic relationships increases students’ confidence and curiosity, and energises their commitment to learning.
Creating the Learning Environment
The learning spaces have been designed to promote flexibility and support the transformation of the teaching and learning practices in our school, to be far more suitable for today’s teaching and learning needs. In our learning communities, teachers work together to ensure learning occurs in a range of places and spaces, and through flexible and dynamic grouping of students.
In our learning areas you will see small groupings of students, larger whole group assembly, independent project investigations, collaborative work, student-led learning, and teacher facilitated learning.
We have a strong focus on purposeful learning, where students understand the learning intention and know how and when they have been successful.
Teachers work in professional learning teams to meet the learning needs of all students and to foster collaboration, innovation and improvement. Observing colleagues teaching, teacher mentoring, and coaching are all highly valued practices we are engaged in throughout the year.
Laying the Foundations: Prep to Year 4
The first years of school are a critical period of transition, learning, and developing social awareness. Our prep year begins with high level support for our new students as they adjust and adapt to school life. They are supported by their Year 6 buddies who act as a ‘big sister or brother’ presence in these first weeks of school.
In these foundational years the curriculum focuses on developing the fundamental knowledge, skills and behaviours in literacy and numeracy and other areas including physical and social capacities which underpin all future learning.
We believe all children can succeed in literacy and numeracy given sufficient time and appropriate support. All students have daily learning sessions in literacy and numeracy and these may be in the form of small group instruction, partner or group work, or an investigation.
Student investigations or inquiries are teacher facilitated and encourage students to think and ask questions about ideas, concepts and processes they wish to explore further.
As students move through the learning process, they draw on different ways of investigating and expressing their growing understandings –integrating skills and content from multiple disciplines or key learning areas.
We continue to develop and refine our teaching and learning models, to ensure they reflect the needs of all students and are responsive to current issues and events in everyday life.
We value the importance of learning through play. Students in Prep to Year 2 have a weekly session in our historic Hall where they learn to interact, socialise and communicate appropriately whilst engaged in a range of activities from building using construction blocks, to drama through dressing up and making and performing a play. This program also supports and enhances oral language development.
Our Year 3/4 students deepen their connection to school and their role within it through the sustainability program. The program promotes co-operative learning and leadership, and develops understanding of sustainability practices such as water conservation, recycling and growing food.
Building Breadth & Depth
In these years students progress beyond the foundations and their literacy and numeracy becomes more developed. An expanded curriculum program provides the basis for in-depth learning within all curriculum areas.
Students are eager to achieve and develop a deeper interest in decision-making. Student action teams are a key learning and engagement focus for our Year 5 and 6 students. Students investigate authentic projects based within the school and local community. With teacher guidance and direction, students research and implement diverse projects such as writing and publishing a student magazine, running healthy food days, researching species survival and taking classes across the school.
‘The questions young people ask remind us that the search for meaning is fundamental to what it is to be human. The urge to inquire activates thinking on many levels and in many forms. When we seek to make sense of the world around us, we wonder, we plan, we analyse, we create, we reflect. At its very heart, inquiry is all about thinking—thinking in order to make meaning.’
Kath Murdoch, education consultant and inquiry learning expert
Arts at NPS
All students at Northcote Primary School participate in weekly arts sessions with a specialist teacher where the focus is on visual arts for one part of the year and the performing arts for the other.