Adolescent Program - 12+ years

Our Adolescent Program allows students to follow their Montessori learning journey right through to 18 years of age. In the senior years, Big Picture learning design provides a fresh, credible pathway to the future.

Big Picture is not a curriculum but a design for learning; students follow the Western Australian Curriculum and Assessment Outline but they do so in ways that are unique to them.

In years 11 and 12 pathways to university, TAFE or employment are provided through completion of the International Big Picture Learning Credential, enabling each student to follow a personalised plan.

Big Picture Education

The Big Picture Education model is based on students’ passions. They work to Individual Learning Plans and on a variety of projects that they have designed. These might be personal interest projects such as writing a novel, designing an app, staging a fundraising event, or learning about ancient Greece. Alternatively, work-based projects can be done while on internships with a mentor in the community, like building a bike, producing child care resources, or devising a marketing plan.

Students collect evidence of their learning in a portfolio and reflect on their learning in a journal. They regularly present their work at a public exhibition, which is the basis of their assessment.

Big Picture students spend their time in an Advisory of around 17 students with a single Advisory teacher, instead of travelling between classrooms to study different subjects with various teachers. As a result, they get to know their teacher and fellow students well and build strong supportive relationships at the school.

The Advisory teacher takes a holistic view of each student and helps students to design their learning plan and projects, builds their skills in time management, self-direction, communication and reflection.

They also coach them to expand or deepen their learning as needed.

They map the enquiry-based learning that students choose to do to the Western Australia Curriculum and Assessment Outline and to national guidelines.

Students organise their learning around the Six Big Picture Learning Goals:

  • Empirical Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Communication
  • Social Reasoning
  • Personal Qualities
  • Skills for Learning

In the past two years, with support from the University of Melbourne, the International Big Picture Learning Credential has become available to students who complete year 12 in a Big Picture program. Students have already been accepted directly into university undergraduate courses on the basis of this qualification.

Families are regularly welcomed into schools to participate in Learning Plan meetings and to attend regular public exhibitions of their child’s work.

Students ‘Leave to Learn’ by going into the community to do extensive internships with an adult mentor in a field of interest to the student. While there they do rigorous, authentic projects that have a real-world purpose and end product.

Student choice is part of their entire school program, not an optional add-on. The Big Picture Design offers young people the chance to:

  • design their own learning around topics of personal interest
  • test out potential careers,  
  • map out study paths, and
  • design their own futures.


High school students in the science lab.