willowbank primary school

Teaching & Learning

At Willowbank Primary School we utilise the Gradual Release of Responsibility framework to support our students learning. This model is based on explicit teaching and supports learning through an ‘I do’ (modelled), ‘we do’ (together), and ‘you do’ (independent) structure. Our lessons and learning opportunities are differentiated to ensure our students are appropriately challenged and demonstrate growth.

Our curriculum and extracurricular activities cater for our students’ interests, along with opportunities to develop new passions and talents. Below is an overview of our Prep- 6 curriculum:


  • Our students engage in daily reading and writing workshops based on the Department of Education and Training’s (DET) Literacy Toolkit and the Victorian Curriculum. 
  • Students engage in author studies and genre-based units aligned in reading and writing.
  • Our Prep-2 students engage in a phonics program to support their early reading development. 
  • Word study and vocabulary learning is integrated into daily literacy sessions, this includes a focus on phonics, phonological awareness, morphology, and etymology.
  • Comprehension strategies are explicitly taught and modelled to our students. 
  • We have a strong focus on integrating oral language skills across all subject areas. Providing opportunities for students to engage in purposeful talk and develop more articulate and sophisticated language as they progress through their schooling.

Whole School Curriculum

  • Our students engage in term-based investigation units exploring the Humanities, STEM and Health curriculums. 
  • Specialist subjects include Physical Education, Visual Arts/Performing Arts and Science. 
  • All year levels engage in weekly wellbeing learning, aligned with our school values, rights, resilience and the Respectful Relationships initiative. 
  • In 2023 we introduced an AUSLAN program that helps stimulate brain development and mental flexibility and increases enjoyment in communicating for both hearing and deaf children.


  • Our students participate in daily mathematics workshops aligned with the DET Numeracy Toolkit and the Victorian Curriculum. 
  • They engage in Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry and Statistics and Probability learning. 
  • In Number, we focus on supporting our students understanding of the “Big Ideas”, this includes ‘trusting the count’, ‘place-value’, ‘multiplicative thinking’ and ‘partitioning’.
  • Students use manipulatives and concrete materials to ensure concepts are not abstract and they can make important connections to support their learning. 
  • Problem solving strategies are explicitly taught and students engage in ‘rich’ and ‘open-ended’ learning tasks to appropriately challenge and extend their thinking.

Information and Communication Technology

At Willowbank Primary School, our students utilise iPads and other relevant technology to support their learning. In 2022, we will have iPads available for classes and small groups to use and in 2023 we will introduce a 3-6 BYOD program. We recognise that students spend an increasing amount of time online, learning and collaborating. To be safe online and to gain the greatest benefit from the opportunities provided through an online environment, students need to be responsible cyber citizens. Safe and responsible online behaviour is explicitly taught at our school.


Our continuous reporting strategy provides parents and students with information regarding student learning. Parent/Teacher interviews are held at the end of Term 1 and 3, providing an opportunity to build home school partnerships, celebrate achievements and discuss learning goals. At the end of Term 2 and 4, academic progression points are assigned against the standards for the Victorian Curriculum.

Excursions and Incursions

Excursions and incursions are arranged each term and relate to the curriculum being studied in the classrooms. Students are encouraged to attend these important activities to help build their understanding and skills. Details of each excursion and incursion are posted on Compass, this includes information such as the date, venue, and travel arrangements.


Our students have access to a full sport and inter-school sport program. In years 3 – 6, students participate in annual swimming, cross-country and athletics carnivals and have the opportunity to try out for representative teams. Our year 5/6 students also compete in the Macedon Ranges District summer and winter sport gala days. In Prep – Year 2, our students engage in a variety of school-based sporting opportunities. This includes an annual fun run and a tabloid sports carnival. We also have weekly whole school physical activity sessions on Friday mornings. This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to develop relationships across year levels and have fun!