Foundation Phase Theme Unit and Lesson Planning


A theme unit is a series of connected lessons, taught over a longer period (from a week to several weeks) in order to achieve learning outcomes. There are many advantages to teaching in theme units; it is an excellent way to introduce vocabulary and concepts, and it means that the instructor can recycle outcomes without the lessons feeling repetitive to the learners.

In an effective theme unit plan:

  • The theme is relevant to learners, and provides the context for language and literacy development.
  • Learning outcomes are the central focus. Assessment, resources and learning tasks all relate to the outcomes.
  • Connections are made between class work and transferring learning to other contexts (e.g. community, workplace).
  • Learning outcomes, content and vocabulary are scaffolded, recycled and spiralled throughout.

In an effective lesson plan:

  • Activities take 20 minutes or less.
  • More intense activities, such as copying, are interspersed with activities that involve talking and movement.
  • The lesson begins with oral vocabulary before moving to reading and writing.
  • Vocabulary is recycled several times and in several different ways, giving learners a chance to absorb new words.
  • There are directions in the lesson plan for changing activities for lower or higher level learners in the class. Not every learner needs to do exactly the same worksheet or answer exactly the same questions.