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Overview

Our school is divided into 2 sections

Early Years

Preschool, Transition and Year 1 & 2. This program recognises that young children come to us with varied but rich family experiences. Our strong emphasis on the development of the whole child builds upon the child’s existing skills with play-based learning. In their classrooms, the children enjoy learning. Working independently in small groups and using the Interactive Whiteboards and portable devices such as iPads, the children solve the challenges given to them. As the children move from Transition to Year 1 the more formal learning commences.

Primary Years

Years 3-6. Here the emphasis is on Higher Order Thinking, multi-intelligences and paying more attention to collaboration, flexibility and using ICT as an effective learning resource. The teaching units are integrated so that learning is more reflective of real life, and each student has the opportunity to explore their area of interest. Children have now developed learning skills and so are challenged to work independently, identify their current and future learning needs and begin to self-assess their performance.

Mathematics, writing and reading are a whole school priority. The children are divided into smaller developmental groups and are taught at their particular level.

Alawa’s Learning Hub supports students who have special needs. Our farm teacher co-ordinates the Sustainable Schools program.

Our staff members work collaboratively. They work in many teams, including collaborative classroom teaching and learning groups, to implement and develop our school’s vision.

Curriculum

Preschool

As with all Preschools in the Northern Territory, the basis for teaching and learning in the Preschool at Alawa Primary School is the NT Preschool Curriculum and the Early Years Learning Framework.

Transition – Year 6

As with all schools in the Northern Territory, the basis for teaching and learning for students in Transition – Year 6 at Alawa Primary School is the Australian Curriculum. Australian Curriculum Learning Areas include:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Humanities and Social Sciences – History, Geography, Civic & Citizenship (Yr 5/6), Economics & Business (Yr 5/6)
  • Health & Physical Education
  • Technologies – Digital Technologies, Design & Technologies
  • Science
  • The Arts

The teaching team at Alawa have developed a Curriculum Overview which ensures coverage of curriculum content across years of schooling at Alawa Primary School.

Special Education

Special Education is a vital part of our school community. The Special Education Team usually consists of the Special Education Teacher, Special Education Assistant, and Special Education Support Assistant (SESA). This team works in consultation with teachers, parents/carers, Student Service Staff and outside agencies to ensure the best learning outcomes for students with learning difficulties.

The role of the Special Education Teacher, along with classroom teachers is to:

  • Identify children with academic, behavioural, emotional and social needs;
  • Suggest and implement appropriate teaching and learning strategies enabling students to access the curriculum and achieve outcomes;
  • Provide assistance for students with Pre-School and Middle School transition; and
  • Assist parents/carers to access specialist government and non-government services when required.

Alawa Primary School is unique in that it is working to provide a “wrap around” service to our families. On staff, we have a paediatrician, Dr. Mantho Kgsosiemang, to access quickly for support or diagnosis related to learning or behavioural difficulties. Once a year we host Speech Pathologists and Occupational Therapists, on their final placement, at Alawa to provide assessment and therapy for students requiring support. Our school has developed an Engine Room to support our students to develop skills in regulation and motor planning.

Our SESA staff are highly professional and attend regular training and development to better understand learning/behavioural difficulties. This training enables them to support the students in the classroom setting. They are kept abreast of changes in the curriculum and priorities for the school so that they and the class teacher are working as a team for the best learning outcomes.

Information Communication Technology

At Alawa, we believe the ability to use ICT effectively is an essential life skill in the new world. As ICT is continually developing and new technologies emerging we as a school will strive to expose pupils to skills needed to prepare them with the knowledge for the future.

Our aims are:

  • For ICT to be fully embedded into the curriculum so that it enhances learning.
  • For all children to become confident and competent users of ICT.
  • For children and staff to have access to a range of ICT resources including new emerging technologies.
  • For children to understand how to stay safe when using technology and to use technology appropriately.
  • For all staff to continually improve and develop their ICT skills and to take a shared responsibility for developing ICT and E-Safety.

To use ICT to promote links with parents and the wider community.

Use in the Primary Years

The use of ICT is used extensively across all primary classes. Students are exposed to a variety of different devices and platforms for presenting work. Coding has become a feature through applications such as Scratch and Sphero devices. Students have access to ipods, ipads, chromebooks, laptops and desktops. In 2017 students have started creating digital portfolios through the use of the app Seesaw which allows parents to access their content and comment on student work samples.

Use in the Early Years

The use of ICT is used extensively across all early years classes, including preschool. Students are exposed to a variety of different apps on iPad devices. Creating, recording and communicating has become a feature through applications such as using the camera to capture pictures and record learning and reflections. In 2016 students have started sharing learning content digitally through the use of the app Class Dojo which allows parents to access their content and comment on student work samples. Educational games based apps are also used during English and Maths rotations for keep students engaged in their learning. Each early year's class has access to 6 iPads.

View the Australian Curriculum: Technologies

Library

The encouragement of reading for fun and reading for learning is promoted constantly and assisted with the libraries wide range of resources. The library aims to support the school’s policies and by providing the necessary resources for the key learning areas of the Australian Curriculum.

Alawa Primary School Library was officially opened by Senator Trish Crossin, Senator for the Northern Territory, on the 6 June 2012 but has been operating since term 4, 2011.

The large open area is home to four main centres – fiction, picture books/storytelling, non-fiction and activity area and has the capacity to cope with more than one class at a time. The Conference Room, Teacher Resource Room and Main Office make up the rest of the space. All shelving has been fitted with wheels giving the library flexibility when needed.

The Conference Room situated within the library is hired by organisations within the community. The Library also has an ‘outdoor section’. This is a fantastic area for our perfect dry season weather and can be used for reading and storytelling and other small activities.

Students come to the library once a week for a half hour lesson and to borrow. The loan period is one week. Students need a bag for their library book/s and library bags can be purchased from the front office for $11 each. The Library is open at lunchtime for activities, quiet area to read and to borrow books. We have library monitors that shelve books and do tasks when the library manager needs their help.

Investigations

It has been proven and advocated by Early Childhood Australia that children in the Early Years learn best through play. The National Quality Standards and the Early Years Learning Framework also reinforce this.

Through play-based learning, we aim to educate and assist your child, through catering for their needs socially, emotionally, physically and cognitively. At Alawa we run a play-based learning program, [known as Investigations] that is adapted from the Walker Learning Approach [WLA].

The WLA approach carefully plans for play encouraging literacy, numeracy, physical, linguistic, social and emotional development. It also links the children’s interests and abilities closely to the learning to put the child in the centre of the curriculum. This is then linked contextually to explicit teaching sessions.

Children in Transition class spend an hour each day following the Walker Approach to Learning. The aim of WLA in Transition is:

To provide learning that is engaging and enriching through personalised investigations where children explore and create.

Teachers using the WLA will plan using the ‘Statement of Intent’ and will plan together as a team. The approach uses developmentally appropriate ways of helping to engage children in truly meaningful and relevant strategies that enhance not only literacy and numeracy but motivation and self-esteem. To learn more please contact your class teacher.