Our Learning Cycles

To support our small by design advisory approach, the Silkwood campus has been developmentally structured into smaller schools known as Learning Communities. Students work with the same advisory group and Advisor throughout a two-year learning cycle.

Learning Community Learning Cycle
Junior School
Junior School
Years 1 - 2
Primary School
Years 3 - 4
Primary School
Years 5 - 6
Middle School
Years 7 - 8
Senior Academy
Years 9 - 10
Senior Big Picture Academy
Years 11 - 12

Learning Community Leaders

A Learning Community Leader oversees the teaching and learning in each school . They bring leadership and teaching expertise to the role, and foster positive partnerships between students, families and Advisors by giving support and professional guidance where needed.  


Building Foundations   

Silkwood’s Learning Principles that learning should be enjoyable, engaging and developmentally relevant is evidenced in the early years. Play-based learning is central to the Junior School – all intending to build a strong foundation of essential skills and keep the spirit of learning flowing.

Through play-based learning, our skilled educators use The Silkwood Way to support our littlest learners to lead their own learning journey, and they do! 

The students plan their learning goals and develop their personalised learning plan with their Advisor and parents. 

Year 1 - 2

They then transition to the 'big' school where they spend time exploring their learning goals through play, capturing the child’s natural sense of inquiry and discovery through hands-on exploration of the world around them. We continue to build on the foundations of essential skills while growing their interests through their personalised learning plan.

Year 3 - 4

Strengthening Skills - Forming a Sense of Self

These years see a developing social dynamic in which building friendships and the desire to fit in becomes more important to each child. They grow from little learners in their own world of play in the early years, to members of an active Learning Community who want and need robust collaboration with each other. They clumsily progress towards finding ways to work and play together. In this environment, The Silkwood Way helps build strong foundations for independence, resilience and a healthy sense of self-worth. 

We build on the early years to strengthen the foundation skills needed for life success whilst continuing to build on the self-management of their learning. With the guidance of their Advisor, they become adept at using thinking tools to generate ideas, evaluate those ideas, and ultimately, identify the core ideas that are relevant to their learning goals. They learn to monitor their own progress and access relevant learning opportunities and resources for their personal interest project.

What I love about teaching is seeing their faces light up when they learn something about themselves and the world. Guiding them and helping them in a safe and supportive environment,  trying to bring out the best in someone is really beautiful. 
— Lucy, Year 4 Advisor

Year 5 - 6

Analysing the World - Exploring Who I Am  

In these years, there is a sense of growing independence and individuality for the student, the need to explore and express their emerging personality. Parents often say of these years....

‘I’m not sure who my child is anymore’.

The Silkwood Way responds to this by making sure there is a strong focus on expanding the student’s awareness of themselves, others and their surrounds. The Advisor uses developmental content to stretch them to see the world through different perspectives so they, in turn, discover things in the world that spark their passion and ignite their desire to want to make a difference in the world.

The Advisor strengthens this process by continuing the development of a growth mindset and successful learning habits from the earlier years, to support students in seeing they have control over their own progress and that they are the masters of their own destiny. 

This builds a strong foundation to support the transition to our High School program.

I love watching our students explore and see the wonder in their eyes when they find something new that excites them. They have a natural enthusiasm to discover more about life so it's my job to ensure they never lose their love for learning.
— Eva, Year 5 Advisor
Year 7 - 8

A Time of Change and Transition  

These are years of great change: physically, emotionally and mentally, where issues such as friendships, sexual and social development, bullying, self-esteem and more come to the forefront. They are awkwardly figuring out who they are and where they stand in the world. They are raw in their capability, and need safe and age appropriate opportunities to make mistakes, learn, make more mistakes and grow.

The Silkwood Way responds with an Essential Learning Program which allows them to explore historical adventurers, world events, and changemakers that made a difference and changed our world – we show them greatness and peril, and we show them that hard work is needed to turn dreams into reality. 

We have a really passionate dynamic at Silkwood. It’s an exciting place to be not only for me as an Educator, but also for the students and the parents – it’s exciting for the parents to able to see their children flourish.
— Anna, Year 8 Advisor

Year 9 - 10

Growing Into the World   

Building on the previous years, our young teens are now stretching out wider into the world leaving their childhood years behind them. 

They believe they know best and have little time for being taught something they see of no use to their life. In response to this, we increase the Personalised Learning Program, focusing most of their learning time on their interests, project-based, self-directed and self-motivated learning with real-world mentors – giving them plenty of time to play with real-world challenges.   

This brings the focus back on them as individuals and their ability to influence their own life. 

It’s so powerful to give the students ownership of their learning. Students from any background and ability level can enter into it where they need to, and take it where they need to take it. 
— Shaun, Year 10 Advisor

Year 11 - 12 (Big Picture Academy)

A Head Start to Success   

In the words of our Senior Academy Advisor.... 

"It's very special what these young people get to do in Year 11 and 12."

....and it is!  

In the senior years, our emerging adults are immersed in the complication of real-world projects, life-changing experiences and unique pathways to their future. They are more than ready for a learning program that is theirs, they are treated as adults and shown that they are capable of doing great work in the world. Our program is designed to give them just that. They benefit from having more pathways opened to them than afforded by a traditional school – the world is their oyster and we empower them to learn from that space.   

Our results are extraordinary! Our students don’t sit the same standard examinations as traditional school students, instead, they pave their own unique way for their future through our graduation portfolio process. They receive their university placements earlier, without sitting traditional exams. Some have thriving and emerging businesses. But most importantly, they leave Silkwood having experienced years exploring and harnessing real-world work, they are prepared to function and thrive in a changing society – equipped with the skills to carry them through multiple careers and with the will to be the best humans they can be. 

Want to know how to enrol?