Learning Approach at Bray Park State School – Prep to
Bray Park State School we believe that the Walker Learning Approach pedagogy is
an effective and age appropriate pedagogy for our school context and that
through the Walker Learning Approach, we can meet the particular needs of our
early years students.
Walker Learning Approach uses a range of open ended experiences to allow
students to investigate, explore, manipulate, create and interact along with
instruction in skills and knowledge in literacy, numeracy and other curriculum
areas. This investigative learning approach places the child at the centre of
the curriculum and teaching strategies. It ensures authentic, personalised
learning for each student. Formal, explicit instruction in The Australian
Curriculum occurs alongside the much more active engagement of students working
on their own investigations.
day the teacher scaffolds the learning of the students through a ‘tuning in’
process. This is followed by ‘investigations’ in which students work in a
learning environment that has been intentionally set up to meet the learning
needs and interests of the students. Following ‘investigations’ the students
spend time with the teacher reflecting on their learning and making links to
the explicit teaching that will occur later in the day.
Walker Learning ensures that opportunities for the development
of the whole child are authentic, relevant and meaningful for all children
regardless of their age, culture, family context, socio-economic background or
geographical location. It places an emphasis on the social and emotional
aspects of a child’s life as well as the academic aspects.
- personalised learning
- explicit instruction
- skills in literacy and
- creativity and
self-management and self-regulation
underlying belief behind Walker Learning is that young children learn best when
they are highly engaged and motivated.
This is achieved best through active exploration and investigation of
their environment alongside explicit instruction and scaffolding.
Walker Learning Approach comprises three main structural components. These are:
- Tuning In
Learning occurs a minimum of 4 days a week.
purpose of Tuning In is to prepare students for the learning that will occur
across the whole day. The teacher highlights the learning and events that are
going to happen that day. The teacher recaps aspects of literacy, numeracy and
other curriculum areas from previous learning. Focus Students, Photographer and
Reporter are welcomed by the teacher. These students are encouraged to speak
and plan with the teacher. They are rostered on regularly to participate and
their role forms a model for their peers’ learning as well as their own.
Children are dispersed to Investigations with intention by the teacher.
and open-ended investigation areas are an integral and essential element of an
authentic play based pedagogy. During Investigations students work within the
learning areas that have been intentionally planned and set up by the teacher.
Teachers work with students during investigations to scaffold, make the links
to curriculum areas and develop skills in literacy and numeracy.
is considered the most important aspect of Investigations. Through reflection
the teacher ensures that skills and learning are modelled explicitly with
students, links are made back to curriculum areas for the rest of the day’s
learning and student’s work and investigations are honoured and respected.
Resetting the Learning Environment
reset is designed to help children to take responsibility for their learning
and to demonstrate respect for their learning environment. Students are
encouraged to plan ahead and to think about what resources or books they may
need for the next day. This promotes continuity and persistence. ‘Work in
progress’ signs or a ‘work in progress’ shelf are used to protect students’
incomplete work. Students arrange to
take additional photos that may be needed to record work or investigation
areas. Packing away should be slow, careful, thoughtful and methodical.
The Learning Environment
learning environment is a critical element of the Walker Learning Approach. The
learning environment, provocations, materials and resources are what provide
the richness, engagement and personalisation of the learning for each student.
The learning environment provides opportunities for teachers to scaffold and to
make links to the learning intentions.
learning environment is set up with investigation areas. Planned learning
within the investigation areas is linked to children’s interests and the
learning intentions. The learning intention behind the investigation area will
only change every 2 weeks.
investigations areas are:
• Tinkering – locks and keys, things that can
be taken apart to see how they work, wood and tools
• Sensory – engaging the five senses
• Construction – blocks, Lego, tape measures,
sticky tape, etc.
• Reading – cosy, quiet enclosed area for
• Dramatic play – set up as an authentic
context e.g. hospital, shop, vet, etc.
• Numeracy resource – an area where children
go to get the tools for learning that they need
• Literacy resource -– an area where children
go to get the tools for learning that they need
investigations areas can be included if they meet the learning needs and
interests of the students.
classroom is designed to have cosy corners, nooks and crannies so that students
feel safe and enclosed. This is known as psychological containment. Teachers
define spaces and create rooms within rooms. Major changes to the room are only
made once a term.
classroom has a carpet area for formal teaching and scaffolding as well as for
Tuning In and Reflection.
choose where they go and what they work on each day; however it is the teacher
who sets up the learning areas as they are carefully planned and set up with
intention. Students are allowed to work in the same area repeatedly if they
wish as repeating and elaborating leads to deep, structural learning. Students
may move around the investigations areas when they are ready. The teacher may
make a decision to move a child but this must be intentional and have a good
to 80% of the learning that occurs during formal teaching is linked to what has
happened in the Investigations. Teachers make these connections explicit for
Focus Children, Reporter and Photographer Roles
Reporter and Photographer roles are a very important and integral part of the
Walker Learning Approach pedagogy. Each
day different students are rostered to perform these roles. The tasks the
students are given are relevant to the current learning intentions and to the
individual needs and interests of the students involved. They are designed to be engaging,
intentional, fun and special for each child.
purpose of identifying Focus children each day is to develop relationships with
students and to scaffold their learning through their authentic interests. Each
day three students are scheduled to be the focus children for that day. The
students and parents are familiar with the schedule and know when it is their
turn. Over a two week period the teacher connects with every student in the
class and makes notes on the student’s progress and interests.