History of Primary Connections

For over 20 years, our "Primary Connections" program has been a favourite among primary school educators.

History of the program


Primary Connections received funding from the Australian Foundation for Science to develop a conceptual model for the project. The model proposed a professional learning program supported by sample curriculum units, designed to meet the needs of primary school teachers and students across Australia.


The Australian Government announced support for Primary Connections and a Professional Learning Program and eight curriculum units were developed and trialled in 2005 (106 trial teachers participated in 56 trial schools across Australia).


The research showed a strong positive impact on schools resulting in further funding. This included the publication of a suite of nineteen curriculum units, training of Professional Learning Facilitators (PLFs) across the country, ongoing research and evaluation, and the incorporation of Indigenous perspectives. A Tertiary Science Educators Program was also delivered.


A Master Facilitator Program was conducted. A complete suite of curriculum units fully aligned to the Australian Curriculum: Science was developed. Keith Skamp’s comprehensive report Teaching Primary Science was published attesting to the fact that Primary Connections was making a positive difference to primary teachers in improving science teaching and learning.


Focus on teacher professional learning in regional and remote locations was supported by the Australian Government. Student Science Journals for selected units were developed. Alternative curriculum units were developed for selected concepts. New professional learning workshops were developed and conducted. ‘PC Ready’, a pre-service teacher two-day professional learning program was developed (2014) and implemented across the country. University of Technology Sydney (2018) conducted an external independent evaluation of Primary Connections Stage 6 (2014-2018) to assess the program outcomes and impact. Professional learning and curriculum resources have been developed to incorporate a focus on STEM education.


A focus on increasing the interactivity of Primary Connections resources, piloting online professional learning, research and review of how Primary Connections is imbedded in pre-service teacher education with a view to increase support for this sector, and development of new STEM teacher resources. As part of a review of teacher needs and our digital transformation, Primary Connections ceased the sale of hard-copy resources at the end of 2020.


Building on the work of previous grant periods, the focus for the next 5 years is the continued development of varied and flexible professional learning, interactive curriculum resources, and pre-service teacher education.

Research and evaluation

The development of Primary Connections is informed by research and evaluation. Numerous reports across the lifespan of the program demonstrate that "Primary Connections is having a positive impact on schools, teachers and students" (Skamp, 2012) as well as pre-service teachers. These reports include:

  • Primary Connections: linking science with literacy Stage 6 Research Evaluation (2018) by University of Technology Sydney
  • Teaching Primary Science: Trial-teacher feedback on the implementation of Primary Connections and the 5E model (2012) by Professor Keith Skamp.
  • Australasian Science Education Research Association paper (2012) reporting on insights gleaned from an analysis of more than 3000 comments, from over 200 teachers who have implemented trial Primary Connections units and provided detailed written feedback. 
  • An overview of Primary Connections Stage 3 research outcomes (2008) by Mark Hackling (Edith Cowan University)
  • Impact of Primary Connections on students' science processes, literacies of science and attitudes towards science (2008) by Mark Hackling (Edith Cowan University) and Vaughan Prain (La Trobe University)