From the Field Studies Centre

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.”

Psalms 19:1 NIV

One of the joys of residing on the South Coast of NSW is observing the four distinct seasons that we experience. Based on the timing of their residential stay, the students’ Field Studies Programme is influenced to an extent by what the season brings. Is one better than another? No, I wouldn’t suggest so. They are simply different. Although we have had some wet days throughout Autumn this year, the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets and generally mild weather have made spending time outdoors very enjoyable. On Wednesday night after returning from their expeditions, the boys were treated to an impressive pre-dinner show courtesy of a distant lightning storm that was lighting up the huge clouds gathered over the ocean. The boys are encouraged as they spend time in the Creation, to appreciate the work of the Creator. Making the time to be still and appreciate and observe our surroundings, can provide a wonderful contrast to the fast pace of life that many of us experience.

The diversity in terms of backgrounds, talents, interests and personalities that the boys bring to each cohort that visits the Woollamia campus, adds an additional layer of richness to the experience. The social-emotional learning opportunities that are incorporated into a residential programme like the one we offer, are extensive. Learning to live and learn amongst a group of your peers, while striving to give respect and unconditional positive regards to others at all times, is not easy. There are bumps along the way which the boys must navigate. But they do this with the support of the incredible staff at the Field Studies Centre, who like the students, bring great diversity to the programme.

The final week of Residential 3 has been an opportunity to put together all the learnings from the previous three weeks, and the students have been challenged to get the most from the experience. The boys have camped, cooked, climbed, abseiled, mountain biked, fished, surfed and stand-up paddle boarded and generally made the most of their time outdoors. They then quickly switched into academic mode on Wednesday evening to put the final touches to their Science Primary Investigation reports, before engaging in the final rite of passage activities and reflections that are the focus of the last two days of the programme. Visiting each of the groups last night and chatting with the boys as they toasted their marshmallows on the campfire, I got a sense of how impactful the experience had been for so many of the boys. It has been a pleasure to work, live and learn alongside this group of students, and watch them grow over the last month.

Tim Knowles | Head of Field Studies Centre (FSC) 

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