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The Outdoor Education programme is sequentially designed to suit the child’s developmental stage and build upon the learning from previous camps. Being an inner city school, it is important that children have contact with the natural forces of the Australian bush and nurture their own “inner wilderness.” The children need to feel connected to places and gain a sense of the real and underlying Australia that is much more obvious in the wild places to which we journey.
The programme begins in Class 3 with a short, simple and comfortable camp close to Melbourne. As the child grows, they are challenged by more distant and longer trips. During the Primary classes, the children will experience two camps each year, one being strongly linked to classroom curriculum and the other to outdoor education curriculum.
When the child enters the secondary school, they take on extra responsibility by preparing and cooking their own meals. The camps in the secondary school will often revisit places that the child has been to in their Primary years, experiencing these areas with new perspectives and engaging different faculties.
By the time a child enters Class 9 they have already experienced journeying through a landscape, breathing in the beauty of the natural world, observing and experiencing its many rhythms. Students begin this year by completing a Senior First Aid Certificate. During the year, the children will observe and reflect on both the natural world and the human world by experiencing the Australian bush on around seven trips for a cumulative total of 35 days.
After the experience of Class 9 Outdoor Education, students are in a position to grasp more complex ways of seeing and knowing places, and the Class 10 camps ensure that this learning continues to develop. These older students, almost adults, are in a position of fully interacting with the world. The learning from Outdoor Education aims at ensuring this interaction is positive, for both the child and the outer world.