teaching and learning

    early Years

    Our early years approach is designed to build a strong foundation for social, emotional, physical and cognitive development. The program is supported by The Early Years Learning Framework that develops curiosity, flexibility, the processes of learning such as problem solving for effective learning in both the indoor and outdoor learning environments. Most of our students first encounter school speaking an Aboriginal language (Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara or Pintupi/Lurritja) and Standard Australian English may not be known to them at all.  Becoming familiar with 'school ways', teachers who speak a different language, unfamiliar routines and learning content requires considerable support and thoughtful teaching.  Our Yarnangu staff are invaluable in our ECE classes (as they are in all classes) to be the bridge between languages, cultures and knowledges.  There are few 0-5 programs in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands - like playgroup, early learning centres and daycare - so our focus is on providing an entry point to western education that incorporates 'yarnangu way' and provides the time and resources necessary for our students to become familiar and engage positively with school.    Our school has well-established approaches to curriculum and student well-being that are focused on cross-cultural and EALD (English as an Additional Language or Dialect) pedagogies.


    An integrated curriculum approach is used across all of our campuses from PP - 10.  A schedule of integrated themes - each focused on a particular curriculum learning area - addresses the scope of learning areas to be covered. Primarily, Science and HASS provide the central content but the intention is that language, literacy, maths, arts, technology, health and physical educated can be integrated to provide a varied and engaging curriculum. This approach allows for language and curriculum to be revisited in a range of learning activities and provides the repetition and opportunity to apply new learning that is so important for EALD learners. 

    Learning from the Australian Curriculum is linked to the Ngaanyatjarra Language and Culture Curriculum in order for cross-cultural learning to be possible.  Students can make cognitive connections between knowledges shared by Yarnangu and the western curriculum.  The school has a Curriculum Coordinator and a Cultural Curriculum Coordinator to support teachers and Yarnangu teachers (AIEOs) from all phases of learning, along with comprehensive curriculum outlines and planning support.

    Current programs include;

    Two-Way Science

    Letters and Sounds (synthetic phonics and spelling)

    First Steps Maths approach as a basis for cumulative conceptual attainment

    Classroom Management Strategies (CMS/behaviour management)

    Mind Up

    Big Picture Learning (secondary), 


    Each student has a SEN plan created using specified school learning objectives (relating directly to the Australian Curriculum, EALD Progress Maps or other Department of Education outlines) that are also used for reporting.  Each student has a file with a range of important information, including language spoken, academic, well-being and behaviour.  Established handover and information sharing processes are in place to minimise the challenge for incoming staff to plan for targeting student needs. 

    Systematic collection of student achievement data is embedded across the school's approaches, with a school-wide snapshot undertaken once a year for EALD (listening, speaking, reading/viewing and writing), Letters and Sounds, reading levels and the Maths Tracker (aligned with First Steps Maths diagnostic tasks and outcomes).  Staff have access to a range of data at classroom, campus and school-wide. 


    Whilst the integrated curriculum approach is in place to cover the scope of curriculum, the school encompasses the Big Picture Learning approach to provide an individualised focus on student's interests and aptitudes.  Seeking opportunities that align with student interest requires flexibility and creativity from all in the teaching team, including families, in order for meaningful and authentic learning to take place.  Big Picture philosophy is 'one student at time in a community of leaners'. Putting students at the centre of decisions around what, how and when they learn is key to nurturing engaged and independent learners.  Student learning plans are created with the student and endorsed by their family, we then seek to support them by a network of peers, mentors and opportunities to engage in real-world experience that will contribute to their formal portfolios and the Big Picture Credential. In our remote context we need to facilitate opportunities for our senior students to prepare themselves for a good life in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, contributing to their community and having skills and confidence to create a path for themselves.