We all learn differently- guest blogger perspective: Andrew Herrmann


I love to talk to parents about their own personal learning experiences with “THE SYSTEM.”

Andrew Herrmann Managing Director – Access 1 Security Systems, father of four talented and creative children had this to comment:

Dear Victoria ,

Thanks for the quick chat reminiscing through my early childhood studies.

It was amazing to realise how the general government school system misses opportunities for talented students and fails to recognise the potential in some children.

After describing my childhood schooling, we soon realised that  I excelled in the more advanced classes but produced less than average grades in the general classes.

Victoria, you immediately identified after asking me a series of questions what my schooling environment was like?

Was I challenged in the normal classes?

Did the teacher provide direct input with me or was I even pushed?

I soon realised that in the general classes I was treated like any other child left to my own measures to complete whatever I was asked, but in the advanced classes the teachers took a more focused view point and pushed the students to complete their tasks.

Being a creative type I needed the additional push to excel in what I was doing be it maths or science. The difference is obvious:

Achieving A averages in the advanced classes but in the general classes only achieved D averages. I am glad all my children have been and are still doing your courses, I can see the results in their grades at school.

Thank you, Victoria for your educational input please keep it up. Warmest regards


Sometimes we have to throw away our “maps” and become enlightened scientists digging and delving till we find WHAT WORKS!

Any other parents who would like to share their experiences of “the system”- please contact me- victoriacarlton@iinet.net.au

“DOUBLES BOOKS” for Doubling Reading Progress

This is my second blog about DOUBLES BOOKS.

You may want to look back on the first one to read how they were started!


Lately I have been using the strategy again- for my very visual learners who need lots of repetition and have lost their confidence with reading and spelling.

It is a method that harnesses their own interests and well worth the small amount of time it takes to construct these simple books.

They work particularly well for students from 4-8 years of age and beyond for those with learning problems.

Milly is a very creative 7- year old student. I see her once a week and she is intrigued with everything to do with fantasy.

Milly has done well with the Jolly Phonics program but her word-recognition and spelling skills are still a little low.

Recently she was keen to write a story about fairies and as I need to improve her word recognition and spelling skills, we used the DOUBLES approach in her tuition session.

Milly dictated her story to me. I typed it with a simple font she could easily trace.

Milly read it to me and did not complain about the doubled words. In fact, she was so proud that she could read the words 100% accurately!

Milly then chose colours to trace the words and neatly worked her way through our “book.”

She had her book to show Mum at the end of the hour and was SO proud.

Some readers might remember this approach from the LANGUAGE EXPERIENCE method. Simply double whatever they dictate and either leave lines for them to copy or provide traceable fonts.

This method is successful with young students who need a boost of confidence, word-recognition and spelling skills and really accelerates their literacy skills in a non-painful and enjoyable way!





I have used digital notebooks for some years to record assessments, organise my thoughts, ideas etc and have recently used them wth great success wth all students.

Over the last 6 months we have introduced Noteshelf 2 to most of our students. This means they get their individualised digital notebook to work in and they LOVE it.

They get to choose their own covers and we choose lined paper, graph paper and blank paper for the notebook. The children write with an Apple pencil and immediately their handwriting improves. Of course they prefer to write thoughts in the great range of ccolours and enhance their work with the huge range of highlighter colours.

We don’t always use these digital notebooks- they also use pencil and paper but they love the time in their special notebooks.

We can print pages out for our records and email specific pages to parents. The children use them for reading, spelling practice, comprehension, writing and maths and sometimes are rewarded with inclusion of a blank a page for drawing.

This is really helpful technology and has enhanced our learning programs for ALL ages- and we get to save trees!

I recommend this app to parents and teachers- well worth the investment and you can add as many notebooks as you wish!

Was Leonardo da Vinci ADHD?

An article in the weekend West about this subject made me laugh!  Of course da Vinci showed all the supposed signs of ADHD and thank goodness! Without his quirky, creative brain we would not have Mona Lisa and countless innovative ideas that have lead to amazing modern inventions.

We call our Saturday morning program the Da Vinci Program. I asked the students why they think I wanted that name. I was stunned by the answer from a ten year old kid, “Because we are all mini da Vincis!” He is so right!

We encourage creative thought, inventive ideas and research. However we also teach kids how to organise their amazing brains so they can actually FINISH things and manage their time. I don’t want to dumb down their ideas and creativity- rather to encourage and grow them!  However, we can help these kids  to manage themselves so they can learn to “play the game” and fit in while they get educated.

Students who attend my program know they must learn times tables, spell conventionally and read fluently otherwise they will be judged to be deficient by society.

They must also learn to be resilient and develop self-discipline and positive mind-sets.

Our programs cover all of these areas and we create a happy environment where all kids are affirmed and learn to grow their gifts. There are many ways to learn and many ways to teach and a true educator is an enlightened scientist searching for the learning keys for all their students.


Why we don’t coach kids for NAPLAN at Victoria Carlton Programs

We used to do this and realised it was a form of cramming and not teaching.  Cramming does not work. Good teaching does!  NAPLAN is a national testing instrument that was full of promise but has not delivered.

Instead we see terrified kids, stressed parents and too often term 1 spent coaching kids for NAPLAN instead of teaching them.

Teachers generally, (for their own sanity), prefer to teach non- NAPLAN years.

Many of our enrolled parents are choosing to skip these tests as they are trying to build self-esteem- not rip it to shreds.

There is now a whole industry around NAPLAN. Parents and teachers buy access to websites for coaching purposes, buy books of NAPLAN style tests and even run “off NAPLAN year” testing.

Let’s get back to good, evidenced based teaching practices and allow teachers the right to test their own children and evaluate their progress. (Something they are trained to do!)

NAPLAN funding could be put into providing extra teaching assistants to ensure children at risk get the help they need BEFORE they fail a test that has unproven efficacy!

Read this for a balanced perspective:





I was recently asked to read our  new Prince Nila picture book to  some enthusiastic youngsters at Times Junior in the new Jewel shopping centre at Changi Airport.

There were thousands of people milling around and it was hard to concentrate but gradually the kids fell into STORY entrancement!

After this we noisily made storm noises, threw everything overboard from our sinking ship, including Prince Nila’s crown and all the children did very creative pictures. One very small child came up to me and waited patiently to tell me something. She whispered to me, “I can do the splits!”

I was honoured that she had shared this and told her how great this was and how I wished I could too!

Then we all did more messy painting and I autographed many books and was getting ready to pack up when I heard the same little girl calling, “Aunty Vicky!”

I went over to her and there she was, ignoring all the parents and children milling around and doing the splits!

I love the fact that she knew she could share this great feat with us and waited patiently for me to finish. This small child had hugged her special secret to herself but was DETERMINED to show me her newly mastered skill! It was my favourite moment of the afternoon!

This is one child who will never lose focus about what is important to HER! I love the single-minded focus and determination of small children! They can teach us a thing or two about sticking to the most important thing!

We are not stamped out with cookie cutters!

Cookie dough with christmas stars

My wise yoga teacher made this comment during a rather difficult posture today where she asked us to adjust to our own abilities.

I immediately thought of children and teachers. It would be so much easier if children were all stamped out in the same shape- but they are not and we are not either!

Teachers teach differently and kids learn differently! We all need to adjust, be flexible and bend a little.

I didn’t really want to get spotty paints out at 7:30am this morning but it ensured Jamie learned about long A. I don’t really fancy using Minecraft paper for writing with Scott this afternoon but if I do I know he will write more!

Planning lessons- whether for individual, group or whole classes is tricky. It requires the sort of thinking used by a conductor with a symphony orchestra! All the different instruments have to be invited in and all the different learning styles must be catered for within our teaching repertoires.

Is this easy? No- it requires HUGE amounts of skill, energy and training and TIME but most teachers are actually very good at this and it ensures ALL children learn!

If a child does not learn well in the classroom, (some don’t), we determine the best way to teach them the basic literacy and maths skills and help them. We enjoy sharing our findings with parents and classroom teachers and feel collaboration between all stake-holders is the most effective mode of remediation.

I also think it is essential and respectful to ask the child what they feel they need!

Call us today on 08 9 2777596 or email victoriacarlton@iinet.net.au so we can arrange some targeted educational help for your chld. We are in Guildford, WA and travel 3x per year to Singapore to train teachers and arrange assessments for children.


Tips for Term 2

Term 2 is a VERY important one.

Once NAPLAN is over, a great deal of new concepts are taught. During Term 1, teachers revised the previous year’s work, got to know your child and started to teach the curriculum for the new grade level.

Now the weather has cooled, children seem to come to life and have far more energy!

More indoor pursuits can take place as the pool and beach are not so attractive now!

Homework schedules have now been set and most kids are aware of their new teacher’s expectations.In order to maximise success at school this term a few tried and tested practices help-

  • Children DO need to learn their times tables and they need to be automatically recalled by year 5. (right up to 12 x) There are many ways to do this but ALL the strategies utilise repetition and this needs to be at least 4-5 x per week. If you would like to know some effective strategies email me at victoriacarlton@iinet.net.au and I will send you some ideas.
  • Spelling is an important skill and also needs to be learned util recall is automatic. Unfortunately your children are often judged by their poor spelling levels so we use a very systematic approach.
  • Children need to read on a daily basis from books that challenge, interest and stimulate their imaginations and thinking skils. If you email me I will send you my favourite list- broken down to age levels. The best family practice to encourage reading is to make a specified time every evening when EVERYONE reads. Just put some quiet music on and encourage at least 15-20 mins of curl up time with a book!
  • When this time is finished each family member can share something about their book- or not!
  • This practice ALWAYS has a positive effect  on fluency and comprehension levels and is great for you too!
  • Above all, let your child know you believe in them and if they show signs of academic weakness in any area- this is the term to do something. We take children’s learning styles into consideration when planning programs and ALWAYS seek to make learning a happy, enjoyable experience.

  • Call Victoria Carlton programs on 2777596 or email us for more info. We wish ALL students a fantastic successful, creative and happy term!

The Da Vinci Program

We are launching the Da Vinci program next term.

The aims of this program are to:

  • Stimulate scientific thinking and enquiry
  • Foster a spirit of curiosity
  • Encourage children to think innovatively
  • Foster effective divergent, thinking skills
  • Nurture and grow children’s imaginations
  • Foster creativity in many forms

Children will be taught how to-

Collaborate in small groups as well as conduct individual projects that interest and excite them.

Set a hypothesis and test their ideas

Mind-map, explore ideas and think “differently”

Formulate effective questions and utilise a range of thinking strategies to find answers

Use de-Bono’s 6 Thinking Hats

Utilise their interests to plan projects and confidently present their findings

Their literacy and maths skills will be stimulated and grown as they explore themes, conduct experiments

They will study the lives and works of great thinkers such as-

Da Vinci


Madam Curie



The 7 habits of Happy Children will be woven into the program.

  • Be proactive

  • Plan with the end in mind

  • Put first things first

  • Think win-win

  • Seek first to understand and then to be understood

  • Synergise

  • Sharpen the saw

  • Enrolment is generally for the term and the fee covers all materials, stationery etc.

Email victoriacarlton@iinet.net.au for more details.






EASTER- renew, refresh and resurrect!

Easter is the greatest Christian festival although I am sure most present-hungry children would tell you that Christmas is more important!

The focus on the Resurrection and the cooling of harsh Summer temperatures can also lead to a renewal time for all of us in Oz!

Term 1 seems to fly by in a flash and suddenly we find ourselves at the end and wonder, “How did that happen?”

EASTER can be a time to stop, evaluate the year so far and maybe go within to reform goals for the year.

It is like a resurrection of our spirits and bodies as well. I like the image of a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis.

The going within ritual happens best when parents model this to children.

Here are some ideas for this:

  • Set your goals in front of the children and write them up where children can see them. Alternatively, write them on slips of paper inside the plastic Easter eggs you can easily buy at this time. They could stay in a basket for children (and parents) to look in occasionally and remind themselves of their goals.

  • Discuss your day with children and let them see you also experience positives and negatives and the negatives help you to grow.

  • Talk about life cycles- chickens from eggs, butterflies from a chrysalis etc. and how living things grow and change and discuss how change and growth is inevitable.

  • Make times for family quiet and re-charging of batteries. Help children to develop positive mind-sets by adopting one yourself.

  • If you are a Christian, you can help children to discuss the significance of the Resurrection and how we all need mini-resurrections in our lives.

  • I have many Easter themed resources in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. This is an excellent site for parents and teachers who are looking for quality education products at very reasonable prices. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Victoria-Carlton-Programs

Easter Blessings to all of you! If you are already enrolled in our classes I look forward to seeing your next term. If any of you would like to know more about our programs- please do not hesitate to email me on victoriacarlton@iinet.net.au