Learning

Mount Waverley Heights provides high quality instruction and learning programs with the aim to provide every child the opportunity to develop to his/her maximum potential in a supportive yet challenging environment. Setting high expectations and standards, collaboratively sharing great practice and ongoing professional learning for all staff helps to develop consistent approaches and innovative practices.

Teachers at Mount Waverley Heights strive to meet the individual learning needs of all students by considering the knowledge, interests and abilities students bring to a learning context, the key skills and content of the area being taught (Vic Curriculum), how the students will be organised for learning (individual, cooperative groups, interest) and the ongoing assessment strategies that help inform the teaching and learning cycle.

Through explicit teaching of learning, the utilisation of inquiry techniques, using student’s interests, ideas and passions and providing a safe and secure learning environment which encourages risk taking and creative thinking, we are able to engage students in their learning.

REACH – LEARNING and TEACHING FRAMEWORK

The REACH – Teaching and Learning Framework recognises our need to develop a common understanding about what constitutes high quality instruction to ensure high quality learning experiences occur for every student, in every classroom, every day. This framework describes what effective teachers say and do to engage students in rigorous and successful learning and provides teachers with an instruction process to apply to their literacy and numeracy teaching and planning.

Each component of REACH is based on evidence of effective teaching and learning, however, bear in mind that one stage is not more important than the other and the framework does not endeavour to encompass the many facets that make up quality teaching and learning.

Want to know more? Download the pdf below.

S.T.E.A.M.

Beacon School Industry Partnership

In 2018, MWHPS developed a technology partnership with Datacom, Google, Hewlett-Packard and BenQ.  This partnership has seen MWHPS become a world-class IT Beacon School with cutting edge practices that assist students on the journey to becoming future leaders in the knowledge economy. 21st Century skills such as collaboration, communication, personal/social skills and critical & creative thinking skills are embedded in a curriculum, brought to life through innovative practices. In 2019, MWHPS became a Google Reference School- the first Victorian Government Primary School to be awarded this status.  Our approach is not solely about the technology itself, it is built upon the passion for making a difference to the learners we serve and how technology, specifically Google for Education, can be used as the enabler.  Providing our students with an edge, well into their future.

What this means for MWHPS:

  • A STEAM Program where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real world lessons as students apply, Science, Technology, Engineering, The Arts and Mathematics in contexts that make connections between school and real-life learning
  • Trial new industry ideas and provide feedback for change
  • Engage with new technology such as Virtual Reality to enhance curriculum delivery
  • Providing real-life opportunities for students beyond the classroom – coding camp, females in industry (Go Girl, Go For It)
  • 1-1 Chrome Books for students in Years 3-6

Minecraft Tour of Mount Waverley Heights Primary School

21st Century Learning

MWHPS is committed to equipping our students to live and work successfully in the 21st Century through a future focused learning approach. The ‘three Rs’ simply aren’t enough. They need the skills which will prepare them for jobs that have not yet been created. At MWHPS we utilise the below learning skills (21st century learning skills) to prepare our students for an ever changing world.

MWHPS Learning Skills

Technology: Technology is everywhere – entwined in almost every part of our culture. Excellent ICT skills is a key component of 21st Century learning. With the support of our industry partners, MWHPS is leading the way in redesigning the way we engage, teach and learn. 

    • Utilisation of Google Classrooms, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Coding, Multi-Media, Apps etc provides students with the skills they will need to work across different platforms and applications.
    • Our innovative inquiry practices which relate students learning to real world challenges, inspires students to realise their actions can make a difference. Technology is used to research, capture, reflect and produce new ideas
    • Creating communities of learners who can collaborate well together for a deeper level of thinking and learning.
    • Provide more effectively real-time feedback and assessment.

Critical & Creative Thinking: These skills are integral to activities that require students to think broadly and deeply using skills, behaviours and dispositions such as reason, logic, resourcefulness, imagination and innovation in all learning areas at school and in their lives beyond.

    • Think Tank Sessions which run fortnightly provide an opportunity for teachers to explicitly teach new strategies. Graphic Organisers, thinking routines (DeBonos Six Thinking Hats), Habits of Mind, etc. These new strategies are then incorporated into the curriculum.

Communication: Communication is one of the key components of 21st Century learning. Communication competence involves digital communication, interpersonal, written and oral communication. Through the curriculum, students at MWHPS are expected to explain their thinking, persuade others of their opinions, and engage readers and listeners. Students develop these skills not only with words but also with graphic and multimedia elements.

Collaboration: One of the most critical skills and fundamental to active learning. Collaboration is working effectively within a team to achieve, innovate or build something amazing. Students learn how to develop shared understanding of a problem, take action together to solve it and maintain team organisation. Benefits of Collaboration..

    • The Google Classroom platform has revolutionised the way we collaborate ensuring that all members have an equal and shared responsibility
    • Learning anytime, anywhere

Adaptable: With rapid changes in technology, diversity and society students need to be open to new ideas, flexible enough to work through challenging issues and generally able to cope when things don’t go as planned. It is the ability to change to meet the needs of the new situation or environment.

Social & Emotional Skills (SEL): SEL skills directly correlate to a students success and happiness. Developing students ability to recognise and regulate their emotions, communicate with others, use compassion and empathy to understand the needs of other people, build relationships and make good decisions. 

    • School Wide Positive Behaviours
    • 6 Second EQ model utilised by school to further develop Emotional intelligence skills

Inquiry

In 2015, world leaders agreed to 17 Global Goals (officially known as the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs). These goals have the power to create a better world by 2030, by ending poverty, fighting inequality and addressing the urgency of climate change. We use a modified version of these goals for students. 

These goals engage students in the big ideas allowing them to explore significant, robust and challenging themes which connect students with the emotional terrain around a topic and promote action. They provide a vehicle through which students can explore ethical issues that, in turn, support the development of a deeper understanding of themselves, others and the world in which they live. Students not only develop an awareness of an issue but the choice to pursue their learning pathway and to create, devise, assist or solve an issue that they are passionate about to improve their world, country, community, family or school. Students develop a sense of self efficacy in knowing that they can do something to better a situation and in so, develop their own learning and leadership capabilities.

In 2019, students in Years 3-6 were able to select from four global issues: 

  • How do we stop the extinction rate?
  • If the world’s population continues to increase, how do we feed everyone?
  • If we can no longer sustain life on earth, where do we go?
  • If we can no longer sustain life on earth, how do we get to another planet?

Students spent 6 months pursuing their topic and presented their findings at our Inquiry Showcase. 

Here are some of the efforts from 2019…

Making biodegradable plastic

Designed bracelets to sell to our community to raise awareness of tourism on animal health and wellbeing. Money raised was donated to WWF

Use of human power to store energy to charge our chromebooks

Futuristic Housing that incorporates different biomes for habitats.

Growing plants in different conditions

Palm Oil Research

Launching Rockets

Collaborating Together

In 2020, students have the ability to select from these global goals…

The teachers created videos for the students to view, prior to them selecting a topic to investigate.  These are designed to provide them information and to hook them into the topic.  You can watch the videos on the links below:

 

We challenge students to create solutions for global issues, to find their passion and to take action. We want students to believe in themselves and realise that they can make a difference. Students are given genuine choices about what they will learn, how they will inquire and how they will show what they know. Students come away from it with new, deeper understandings and new questions. Inquiry connects learning across the curriculum exploring science, the humanities, health, sustainability, etc. These units are designed to provide opportunities for students to learn content and skills required for 21st Century learners.

Our school’s technology amplifies their ability to collaborate and connect with others around the world. It also allows for students to present their findings using an array of techniques from: producing sites, Youtube clips, Videos, designing apps, programming/coding games, utilising Virtual Reality and creating thought provoking Google Expeditions for others to view.

In the Junior Years

P-2 students are exposed to a range of engaging topics and move through the inquiry process. They move from teacher directed activities (which build knowledge and understanding around the topic) to student led activities (where students pose questions to explore). Students posing questions lies at the heart of true inquiry.

  •     Why do we have 2 kidneys?
  •     Why can’t we eat raw meat?
  •      How do we keep good bacteria, but not have bad bacteria?
  •      How can plants help with medicine?
  •      What are vitamins and how do they make us healthy/?
  •      What are safe and unsafe choices?

Then there are fun units that help to develop future engineers – LEGO MASTERS UNIT – just like the TV show, students will be provided with a challenge each week.

Specialist Classroom Programs

Physical Education and Sport

Physical Education lessons occur weekly and develop skills in movement & co-ordination, to promote the acquisition of healthy behaviours and relationships. At Years 5 and 6, students are also involved in interschool sport. Students at all year levels experience swimming lessons as a part of the curriculum.

Japanese

During their weekly Japanese lessons, our students are taught the basics of the Japanese oral and written language through reading, writing and speaking activities.  They are introduced to the different cultural aspects of Japanese life and learn about the many different festivals and cultural days celebrated in Japan.  Origami, an introduction to Japanese foods, calligraphy skills and folk songs and dances also form part of the wide and varied Japanese curriculum.

Our students are connected to other schools in Japan through the Polycom system and have the opportunity to participate in video conference sessions where they can practice their speaking and listening skills with students in Japan.  This also gives them a first-hand opportunity to learn about schooling and life in Japan through the eyes of a Japanese child.

Every second year our students participate in Japanese Day, with performances by specialist Japanese musical ensembles and theatre groups and spend the day engaging in a range of Japanese cultural activities.

Visual Arts

In Visual Arts classes, students are introduced to drawing, painting, textiles, ceramics, 2D and 3D sculpting, collage and printing.   They are taught a range of skills and techniques using a variety of different art media to enable them to design, create and produce effective artworks of their own.  We encourage our students to think creatively and let their own personality shine through their art.

The children spend time learning about famous artists from different Art periods and places, and enjoy exploring and analysing the different methods used to create them.  We will often use what we learn to inspire our own artwork in the style of a famous artist or genre that we have studied.

At MWHPS we regularly give our students the opportunity to take part in art experiences that travel beyond the classroom.  In previous years we have taken part in the Peace Flags of the World project, creating flags to form part of an international art installation, and next year we will take part in creating painted penguins as part of the International “Penguins of the World” Project which will be displayed at the Australian Antarctic Festival in Hobart.

For the past two years, we have also been involved in the Toyota Dream Car Design Contest which encourages students to design their own car of the future.  In 2019, one of our Year 6 students had her design selected in the top 3 of her age group Australia wide.

Music

Our Classroom Music program provides every student with a vibrant and varied weekly session designed to foster a life-long love and understanding of music.  We utilise the Kodaly approach which is centered around every child’s natural instrument – their singing voice.  Through the use of songs and games, the children develop their pitch and aural memory skills.  The children are introduced to solfege and the Curwen handsigns, and learn how to identify and write down what they hear using a range of musical notation systems.

These musical experiences are further extended and reinforced through the use of classroom instruments – ukelele, glockenspiel, guitar and percussion instruments.  MWHPS is an accredited Musical Futures School and this approach works hand in hand with the Kodaly methodology.  Musical Futures is about learning by doing and gives the children the opportunity to learn through supported performance tasks on a range of instruments.  It makes use of current music and builds their performance and self-confidence skills in a fun and non-threatening way.

Whole School Productions

Whole school musical productions are a regular highlight of the performance programme at MWHPS.  Previous productions have included shows such as Kids in Space, Kids at Sea, Vegemania, The Heights Circus and most recently Google Me Up!

Google Me Up! was written specifically for our school and told the story of our Beacon School journey.  the students were all actively involved in workshopping the stage movements and choreography, each class had their own song written for them about their Inquiry focus, and students in grades 5 and 6 took on lead roles both on stage and behind the scenes as part of our production team.

Our whole school productions give every student the chance to perform on a real stage and experience the excitment and learmimg opportunities provided by working in a professional theatre.

Senior Choir

Our Senior Choir comprises of students from Years 3 – 6 and rehearses every week during lunchtime.  The Choir performs at a number of different school events throughout the year and is often asked to perform in the wider community.

Over the past 4 years members of the senior choir have been selected to represent the North East Region in the massed Primary Choir at the NEVR Schools Concert at Hamer Hall.  Only 200 children are chosen per year to take part so this is a big achievement for our Choir.

In 2019, our Choir was also successful in being selected as one of the 10 choirs to take part across the country in the ABCMe Junior Eurovision Singalong video.  You can see the final ABCMe video on the link below.

Junior Choir

Our Junior Choir is made up of students from Years 1 and 2.  This group rehearses once a week during lunchtime and is open to any student who loves to sing and perform.  As a part of the Junior Choir the children learn how to sing in multiple parts and develop an understanding of stage and choral performance skills.

The Junior Choir often performs at School Assemblies and other school events.

Taiko Drums

The Taiko Drum Group is open to all students in Years 5 and 6.  They rehearse during Wednesday lunchtimes and are regular performers at school events and in the wider community.  Sensei Yamazaki works with the students to develop their performance skills and an understanding of the function of Taiko Drumming within the Japanese culture.

Woodwind Ensemble

The Woodwind Ensemble is open to all students learning a woodwind instrument through the school.  Currently this group consists of flutes and clarinets, but can be adapted to include all interested woodwind players.

Genesis Music

At MWHPS we offer a private Instrumental Tuition Program which is delivered by specialist Instrumental teachers from Genesis Music School.

This is an additional programme offered during the school day which parents can choose to access for an additional cost.  Lessons run for 30 minutes and can be taken as an individual or small group lesson.

Currently we offer tuition in the following instruments:

Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Violin, Guitar, Keyboard, Drums.

Please contact the school office for an enrolment form.

Wellbeing

 

The goal of School Wide Positive Behaviour Support(SWPB) at MWHPS is to create and maintain a positive and safe learning environment that enhances our school culture, where we maximise individual academic and social growth.

Research demonstrates that SWPBS improves a school’s environment and helps keep students and teachers in safe and productive classrooms by:

  • improving interpersonal relationships;
  • improving attendance rates;
  • increasing students’ sense of belonging and safety; and
  • supporting improved academic outcomes.

Clear sets of behaviour expectations are developed around our key school values – Be Responsible, Be Respectful and Be Inclusive.

The SWPBS matrix clarifies what our behaviours should look, sound and feel like. Our expected behaviours are explicitly taught in every classroom and are consistently reinforced throughout the school. Our matrix’s are displayed and positioned in many locations around the school and are referred to and discussed regularly with all students at MWHPS. Teaching behavioural expectations helps students to develop better social skills whilst creating a friendly, safe and orderly learning environment for everyone.

At Mount Waverley Heights Primary School we work hard with our students to reinforce positive behaviours.  Explicitly teaching our behavioural expectations and acknowledging students for demonstrating them is the key to our success.  When students demonstrate school wide expectations, staff will note their success with positive reinforcement.  This may include a social activity or tangible reinforcers.  Three key components of our acknowledgement system are…

a)  Whole school reward (based on dojo points – if our school target is reached students vote on a whole school reward which may include a free dress day, sports afternoon, BBQ etc)

b)  Classroom rewards (teachers have prizes for different levels of achievement)

c)  Aussie of the Month Award (presented at assembly to the child who achieved the most amount of dojo points).

Alongside the SWPB behavioural expectations we focus on Social and Emotional skills (SEL) . The following skills are embedded into the program:

  • Self-awareness: Identifying and recognising emotions; recognising personal interests and strengths; maintaining a well-grounded sense of self-confidence.
  • Self-management: Regulating emotions to handle stress, control impulses, and motivating oneself to persevere in overcoming obstacles, setting and monitoring progress toward the achievement of personal and academic goals; expressing emotions appropriately.
  • Social awareness: Being able to take the perspective of and empathise with others; recognising and appreciating individual and group similarities and differences.
  • Relationship skills: Establishing and maintaining healthy and rewarding relationships based on cooperation and resistance to inappropriate social pressure, preventing, managing, and constructively resolving interpersonal conflict; seeking help when needed.
  • Responsible decision-making: Making decisions based on a consideration of all relevant factors, including applicable ethical standards, safety concerns, and social norms; the likely consequences of taking alternative courses of action; evaluation and reflection.

In today’s ever-changing world, students need more than just academic skills. Social and emotional abilities are said to be indicators of how well a person adjusts to his or her environment, adapts to change and, ultimately, how successful she or he will be in life. At MWHPS we recognise this and care the same amount for your child’s wellbeing as we do for their academic abilities.

Sustainability

The sustainability student group meets regularly to promote activities, events and behaviours that encourage sustainable practices. These include managing our school vegetable garden and encouraging others to appropriately recycle waste paper, containers, newspapers, cardboard, assisting with the recycling program, encouraging sustainable practices E.g. Nude Food, etc.

Interschool Sport

Interschool Sport is played on Fridays. Mount Waverley Heights Primary School is a member of the Syndal District School Sports Association. Students participate in a range sports such as tee-ball, softball, rounders, T20 cricket, soccer and netball. The Athletics carnival, cross country, swimming carnival and basketball round robin played during the year are also highlights of the interschool sport calendar.

Interschool Sport provides students with an opportunity to develop and refine their skills in particular sports. Students enjoy participating in interschool sport as they develop the valuable life skills of ‘fair play’, sporting etiquette and sportsmanship.

Extra-Curricular Opportunities

A range of activities and programs are offered to enhance students experiences at school.

Our students have had the opportunity to participate in extra-curricular activities such as…

  • Art Club
  • Buddies Program (Prep & Year 6)
  • Camping Program (Year 1/2-overnight sleepover and Year 3-6 camps)
  • Chess Club
  • Choir
  • CyberSmart Program
  • Dance Club – Hip Hop
  • EAL (English As Another Language) Program
  • John Monash Big Scientist/Little Scientist Program
  • Instrumental Music
  • Lego Club
  • Library Lunchtime
  • Literacy Intervention and Support Programs – Reading Recovery & Bridges
  • Mathletics
  • Mathematical Olympiad
  • Pre-school Connections – Literacy and Science Programs
  • Scholastic BookClub
  • School Production
  • Somers Camp
  • STAR Program
  • Study Ladder Program
  • Swimming Program
  • Sustainability Program
  • Student Representative Council
  • Taiko Drumming
  • University of NSW Competitions

Camping Program

We are very fortunate to have our wonderful staff and parent community who support and attend these programs, making them an invaluable experience for all.

We have a sequential camping program beginning in Year 1/2:

  • Year 1 and 2 students have  a ‘late stay/sleep over’ at school. The students return to school for a games afternoon focused on developing ‘teamwork’ skills before enjoying dinner together, after which the Year 1 students are collected by their parents. The Year 2 students remain to enjoy a movie night before settling down for the night at the school.
  • Year 3/4 students participate in a 3 day – 2 night program alternating between an adventure style camp (Phillip Island) and a curriculum based camp (Gundiwindi).
  • Year 5/6 students are challenged by a 5 day-4 night program alternating once again between a trip to our Capital City (Canberra) and our environmental/sustainability camp to Narmbool.

Camp Photos

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