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Lytton Street School embraces Walker Learning. Walker Learning (WL) is an Australian designed teaching and learning approach that aims to engage children from early childhood right through to their early teenage years using a range of strategies for authentically personalised learning.

We use the Walker Learning Philosophy Statement to guide our school wide practice and decisions. Walker Learning’s educational philosophy is based on the sciences of developmental psychology and neuroscience and the impact of social and cultural influences on children.

Theories of play and project based learning are used and draw upon Vygotskian and constructivist principles that are used in practice. The pedagogy draws heavily on elements of recent neuroscience research that highlights that the child's brain is programmed for relationships, attachments and concrete hands on open-ended experiences.

Walker Learning uses the Emotional Intelligence Model (Daniel Goleman, Antonakis, J., & Dietz, J. (2010) as the platform to deepen our own self- awareness as educators in order to deepen our relationships with children and grow in awareness of the needs of the children we teach. We model and scaffold intrinsic motivation using Rudolf Dreikurs theory of intrinsic motivation and logical consequences.

Walker Learning supports the development of a child's concept of self by drawing on the work of (Robert Leonetti, Leary M & Tangney, JP) and through the use of reflective listening, encouragement and separating a child's intellectual achievement from the value they are as a person.

Walker Learning embraces the importance of contextual learning – real, relevant and meaningful – to embed and strengthen recall of learning. The pedagogy is holistic and acknowledges that education is the development of skills for life alongside literacy and numeracy.

We believe that successful education includes two major foci: skills in curriculum and skills for life. These have become our overarching outcomes for our students. These include...

Skills for Life: Developing children who

  • can think for themselves and others,
  • can create and imagine
  • are strong in their literacy and numeracy
  • can navigate the challenges of the world with intrinsic motivation and a strength of character derived from a strong sense of self and resilience
  • are emotionally intelligent, self- initiators, reflective of themselves and others
  • are strong and articulate communicators with a realistic sense of themselves and others

Skills for Curriculum: skills for life work alongside skills of literacy, numeracy, the arts, science and other curriculum areas and are placed within the individual interests, collective culture and communities of the children and their families. Walker Learning uses evidence from how children develop neurologically, developmentally and through the influences of culture and family, to set up the learning environment to reflect indoor and outdoor learning and places and spaces that reflect calm but stimulating range of investigations and places to explore, experiment and learn.

Our Literacy and Mathematics Curriculums reflect the following Walker Learning philosophies

Contextual learning and peer as the model. Embracing the child, their interest, family and culture.

Creating context (real, relevant and meaningful) enhances learning of new skills, understandings and processes. Recreating that context enhances recovery of what has been learning. In addition when a peer introduces the learning as the model (peer as the 2nd teacher) engagement is enhanced significantly and is sustained more powerfully.

Associated practices (children’s interests & peer as the model):

  • Educators scaffold and explicitly model or instruct while using children’s interests and contexts for the majority of time to engage and motivate.
  • Children’s cultures, cultures, experiences, and interests are used to engage children during investigations
  • Children’s cultures, experiences, and interests are used to link to learning intentions in STEAM
  • Tuning in and reflection, investigations, STEAM and introduction to formal teaching uses a contextual learning platform


Personalising learning in Walker Learning encourages educators to provide learning experiences for each individual as well as providing unique strategies to reflect the different ways in which individuals learn (eg the “how”). The educator intentionally aims to teach at each child’s ‘cusp of learning’ (Vygotsky's zone of proximal development) – where they know some, but not all, where the child is challenged and extended while experiencing some form of success.

Associated practices (personalising learning):

  • Whole group instruction is short and infrequent,
  • There is an emphasis on small group clinics and individual teaching
  • Scaffolding and modelling are the key teaching strategies (in preference to direct instruction)
  • Investigations and Education Research Projects
  • Open ended experiences during investigations
  • Personalised Education Research Projects proposals and goals
  • Individual observation planning records are used by all educators across the school/centre.

Working independently, together and in parallel

Walker Learning recognises child development research that highlights that children require time to work and play alongside each other as well as times to work independently. Routines, predictably and times to work and share together as well as times to make independent choices are provided for the children under the direction of the educators. Educators scaffold and support children in all areas of learning and encourage their independence through routines and allowing choice.


John Hattie’s research and publications around Visible Learning support our beliefs and practices. He states that it is critical that teachers see themselves as evaluators of their effects on students and develop a mind frame in which they see it as their primary role to evaluate their effect on learning. Hattie argues that teacher’s beliefs and commitments are the greatest influence on student achievement.


  1. Evaluators of the effect of their teaching on pupil’s learning.
  2. ‘Change Agents’ who take responsibility for enhancing all pupils learning.
  3. Talk about how pupils learn and not about how teachers teach.
  4. See assessment as feedback about their impact.
  5. Engage in dialogue not monologue with pupils.
  6. Enjoy the challenge and engage pupils in the challenge.
  7. Develop positive relationships with pupils that foster effective learning.
  8. Have a common and shared language of learning which is understood by all.
  9. Teach students the value of: Concentration, perseverance and deliberate practice.


  • Set clear learning intentions so students understand them
  • Set challenging success criteria so students are challenged
  • Utilise a range of learning strategies
  • Know when students are not progressing
  • Provide feedback so students learn to seek it
  • Visibly learn themselves


The overarching idea put forward by Hattie is that the teacher needs to understand where a pupil is in their level of thinking and then challenge them to go beyond that level through a process described as ‘cognitive acceleration’. They need to provide instruction at the right level and in the right way given how a pupil processes information. This entails using teaching approaches which makes learners think about learning more explicitly and where they make their thinking explicit.


Hattie demonstrates in his research that one of the most powerful single influences enhancing achievement is feedback. For feedback to be effective Hattie argues that it needs to be:

  • Clear, purposeful, meaningful and compatible with pupils’ prior knowledge, and to provide logical connections
  • Directed at the right level, so it can assist students to comprehend, engage, or develop effective strategies to process the information intended to be learnt
  • Combined with effective instruction in classrooms, and focus on what is being learnt (learning intention) and how students should go about it (success criteria)
  • Occurring as the students are doing the learning
  • Provided with information on how and why the student has or has not met the criteria
  • Provided with strategies to help the student to improve In his book Hattie argues that oral feedback is much more effective than written and that the most powerful feedback is provided from the student to the teacher


“Digital technologies impact on every aspect of our lives and are vitally important to New Zealand’s growth in the 21st century. Students in New Zealand need opportunities to develop knowledge and skills with digital technologies so they are equipped to respond to rapid changes in our society.”“Best practice e-learning enables accessible, relevant, and high-quality learning opportunities that improve student engagement and achievement. e-Learning has the potential to transform the way teaching and learning takes place. It is about using technologies effectively across the curriculum to connect schools and communities and to provide accessible, relevant, and high-quality learning opportunities so that every student is better able to achieve their full potential.” - TKI - MOE Education Portal - Lytton Street School we believe that the need for current digital technology in today’s classrooms is imperative. It is now a vital part of high quality education in the 21st century and when integrated effectively into the curriculum, offers endless opportunities for the modern learner. Digital technology is transforming the traditional classroom from being a teacher driven environment to a student driven one. The student is now an active participant at the centre of his or her own learning where teachers can work alongside to personalise the learning in more engaging ways than have been available in the past. This way the learning becomes more meaningful for the student.Our teachers are focused on the ubiquitous integration of digital technology into the curriculum to enhance learning for all students. By embracing technology our goal is to develop confident, competent and responsible users of digital technology while fostering critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration through personalised learning.

Along with placing great importance on the value of digital technology in classrooms, we also believe that students should not be fixed to a screen all day and that they need a balance of proven traditional teaching strategies to have a well rounded education. Our junior classes use devices at times throughout the day to support literacy and numeracy and our senior classes aim for a balance with around 50% of their learning experiences involving digital technology.

Our Board Of Trustees are committed to ensuring that Lytton Street School students have access to relevant technology in order to take advantage of the vast learning opportunities it provides. This commitment includes providing our school with:

  • 1:1 Chromebooks in all Year 5/6 classrooms along with a set of 10 iPads for each room.
  • 1:1 iPads in all Year 3/4 classrooms
  • 1:2 combination of iPads & iMacs in all Year 0-2 classrooms
  • Apple TVs in each classroom
  • 2 x Makerbot 3D printers

Our staff promote the safe and responsible use of the internet in teaching and learning by developing digital citizens. Our school defines a digital citizen as someone who;

  • is a confident and capable user of digital technology
  • uses technologies to participate in educational activities
  • uses and develops critical thinking skills
  • is literate in the language, symbols, and texts of digital technologies
  • is aware that there can be challenges when using digital technologies and can manage them effectively
  • uses digital technologies to communicate to others in positive ways
  • demonstrates honesty and ethical behaviour in their use of digital technology
  • respects privacy in a digital world
  • contributes and actively promotes the values of digital citizenship

Advantages that digital technology provides the modern LSS learner:

  • Self Management
    Mobile devices allow students to take charge of their own learning by accessing a wealth of content and interactive tools made available and personalised to them by their teachers.

  • Collaboration
    Students have the flexibility to complete learning activities, research, write notes and add information to group tasks at their own pace. Using Google Apps for Education (GAFE) is one of the ways we promote collaboration through digital technology. GAFE includes Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Slides and Sites. Intro to GAFE

  • Teacher/Student Relationship
    The traditional approach of the teacher at the front being the fountain of all knowledge gets broken down. With technology in the classroom the teacher becomes the encourager, adviser, and coach and therefore gains a deeper understanding of individual students and their learning needs.

  • Opportunities
    Students are able to access the interesting, diverse, and current learning materials as the number of educational resources available online grows.

  • Own Pace
    Individual students can work at their own pace depending on their learning needs and level of understanding. Teachers can set up digital opportunities so learners can prepare for upcoming workshops, repeat lessons, complete follow up activities or move on to extend their knowledge if they are ready.

  • Diversity
    We have multiple learning styles and digital technology gives teachers a very effective tool to best meet the needs of all students. Integrating it into the curriculum is a great way to cater for visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners.

  • Connections
    Digital technology helps to build connections within school, with whānau, and with local and global organisations relating to their current learning.

  • Instant Access
    Students are able to access resources and digital information from anywhere, at any time. Having no delays enables them to continue focusing and leads to deeper understanding.

  • Digital Citizenship
    All students begin the year with a focus on becoming digital citizens. Students learn about cybersafety and making age-appropriate choices in their technology use.

  • Motivation & Engagement
    Many students are more interested in learning when they can interact with the hands-on, interactive learning tools which digital devices provide.

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