Listed below are a number of the key elements of the Walker Learning Approach and implications for practice.
- Children's interests are used as the predominant means for learning experiences alongside explicit teaching of skills and understandings in literacy and numeracy.
- Children's interests are expanded, scaffold and supported as a means of ongoing engagement in particular learning areas.
- Additional issues or concepts at a community or school level are incorporated within the planning document but not viewed or used as the "topic" or "theme" on which planning is based or all experiences are planned.
- Investigations the major pedagogical tool (Preschool - Year 2) for teaching and learning alongside formal instruction.
- The nature of experiences for the children promotes creativity, imagination and scope for the child to invent and create and avoid cloned art work, worksheets and stencils.
- Planning documentation identifies objectives for the children's development in the first instance and in addition, identifies key learning objectives and children's interests as a basis for planning learning experiences.
- The learning experiences emphasise active engagement, provide children with opportunities to explore processes not just end products and seek to encourage children to pursue some of their learning experiences into ongoing projects for either short or longer periods of time.
- Observation and documentation by teachers of key skills, needs, strengths and interests of individual children is used to further plan and implement appropriate experiences and set further learning and developmental objectives.
- Skill instruction sessions, small and large group times are still used within the classroom including additional explicit literacy and numeracy sessions each day.
- Teachers must still direct, scaffold, extend or intervene with children in order to ensure that children are actively engaged and learning.
- The notion of "integrated curriculum" within the WLA refers to all learning areas being recognized as integrated and embedded in children's learning and not a discreet part of the day where a particular content or focus area is used.
- A balance is set by the teacher by what "emerges" from the child in response to the range of experiences provided by the teacher and what the teacher wishes to also introduce to the children in relation to skill and content.
- The WLA in practice uses a mix throughout the day of active hands on investigations alongside group times, personal reflection times, skill instruction and other learning experiences provided by the school.
Copyright: The Walker Learning Approach.TM