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Our Learning


The teaching of high quality literacy programs creates students that are confidently able to understand, communicate and interact with others and with the world around them. Writing and reading are intricately linked and are often taught alongside each other for the best outcomes.

Teachers in classes F/1 and 2/3 are trained in the Multisensory Structured Language (MSL) approach for teaching reading and spelling. It is a systematic and cumulative approach simultaneously involving the use of visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic-tactile pathways to enhance memory and learning of written language.


Writing is a skill that grows with practice and at Parkhill practice is plentiful with daily writing sessions across all year levels. Students are explicitly taught writer’s technique at the word level, sentence level, paragraph level and whole text level.

Our writing teaching methods are currently informed by a combination of Seven Steps and Jennifer Sarevallo’s “playbook series”. As we develop the Parkhill writing continuum, we look to inform our practice using the Writing Revolution and Talk for Writing beginning 2025. Both are evidence-based practices that sit squarely with our commitment to explicit direct instruction. Students are encouraged to write in a variety of genres for a variety of audiences, and our teachers provide modelled and shared writing, gradually encouraging students towards independent, sustained practise. 


At all levels of the school Parkhill focuses on the four main elements of reading:

  • Comprehension
  • Accuracy
  • Fluency
  • Deepening Vocabulary

Decoding emphasis. At Parkhill our early years (F-2) are dedicated to a synthetic phonics approach which ensures students are equipped with early decoding ability (“sounding out” letters to make words) and encoding ability (writing down the sounds you hear to make words and meaning).

Phonemic awareness. This is the ability to get to the individual sounds in words by listening, identifying and manipulating those sounds orally. While this skill will be emphasised in grades F-2, we ensure all students at Parkhill have this necessary foundation. Students in the intermediate grades may need to practice these skills until they have firmed up this foundation of reading. We follow an evidence-based teaching approach that incorporates aspects of Orton Gillingham.

Explicit and systematic phonics instruction. We have a continuum of phonic skills, progressing from simple to complex, which is followed throughout the early grades. Students progress through the continuum as they master skills. In the intermediate grades and upper grades (Y3-Y6) word study continues with more grammar and morphology (for example, learning word parts such as Greek and Latin roots or applying knowledge to word study investigations).

Comprehension. Explicit instruction is a cornerstone of our teaching of comprehension strategies at Parkhill Primary School. Students engage with explicit teaching over the course of a week, regular teacher focus groups and sustained reading sessions. Each student conferences with teaching staff regularly, so as to provide accurate data regarding your child’s progress. As we progress over the coming years, we are committed to deepening our Science of Reading strategies to inform our teaching.


Numeracy lessons follow a similar model to our literacy lessons with a mix of targeted teaching to the point of need, independent learning to practise concepts and small group or partner work. Targeted teaching is flexible in nature meaning that students may be working in different groups and at different levels depending on the concept that is being taught.

More traditional approaches are supplemented with the 5E’s inquiry model. This approach encourages students to question, surmise, generalise and form meaningful links and connections to other skills and concepts.

“Tell me and I forget,
show me and I remember,
involve me and I understand.”
Inquiry is a problem-based, student centred way of teaching that incorporates Health, History, Geography, Economics, Civics, Science and Creative and Critical Thinking. Learning through an inquiry approach encourages students to develop their abilities to ask questions, design investigations, interpret evidence, form explanations and arguments, and communicate findings.
Before students begin each new inquiry cycle teachers consider:
  • What is the key idea?
  • What big questions will we explore?
  • Why is it important to know this?
  • What skills, strategies, qualities and values will we learn along the way?
the process of inquiry
Tuning In > Finding Out & Sorting Out > Action
we offer specialty programs in science, technology, engineering, art and math

specialty programs

additional programs
At Parkhill we offer rich and engaging programs on top of our quality classroom experiences. These programs aim to foster curiosity and develop creative and critical thinking skills through hands-on and real life experiences.

junior school

Using Choosing Time our students develop communication and social skills, through exploratory play activities that are hands on and creative.

senior school

Our Parkhill TV program develops multi-media such as journalism, acting, directing, and screenwriting.

The Socratic Discussions teach critical thinking through the preparation of robust discussions about important issues.

We have a Leadership program to grow our leaders of the future.


optional programs


The Tutor Learning  Initiative will continue with individual and small group targeted intervention provided to identified students. Students needing support are identified through data analysis and ongoing assessment. Targeted teaching intervention to improve student outcomes further supports classroom programs.

QuickSmart is an intervention program designed for students who experience persistent difficulties in numeracy. The program provides a framework with short and targeted lessons for educators to work through with students. The aim of the program is to enable students to become automatic (quick) in their basic skills in order to move onto more complex problem-solving skills. As their competence increases their ability to self-learn improves.
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