News from the Field Studies Centre

Over the coming months there will be a focus on creating a more synergistic link between the Academic Programme at the Woollamia and Summer Hill campuses. This initiative will both provide benefits to the cohort of Year 9 students currently engaging in the Field Studies Programme, and those whose who will join the Extended Programme from Term 4 onwards. Students on Residential 2 have now worked with Mr Jackson and Mr Hatton-Ward, two of our Summer Hill Science teachers, to learn about the processes involved in conducting a scientific investigation and the use of specialist instruments to collect data in the field.

In Mathematics, Mr Pay continues to provide the boys with online resources and amazing video tutorials to support their progress during their time away from their usual classes. Mr Shipp and Mr Smallfield have also spent time at the Field Studies Centre this week, planning and scoping the Geography Programme which will be implemented later this year. The natural environments both on campus and in the surrounding Shoalhaven region, lend themselves perfectly to studies in both disciplines and it will be exciting to see more opportunities for inquiry and applied learning implemented in coming months.

The boys have been learning about the value of both leadership and followership as they participated in their first three-day expedition this week. Stepping into a leadership role is challenging at times, but it is a learnable skill that the students refine over the four weeks. Each boy is encouraged to operate with more and more autonomy as the programme progresses, but always with the support of staff when needed. The students also discover that being a good follower when it is one of your peers’ turn to lead, is equally important. The students have hiked along several of the remote local beaches and have paddled the pristine waters of Currumbene Creek and the Crookhaven River in canoes, and their confidence and competence in these natural environments has grown each day. The groups have been camping offsite during the expeditions during this programme, which provides a greater sense of flow to the journeys they are undertaking. 

A virtual parent visiting afternoon is scheduled for this Sunday and will provide an opportunity for the boys to connect with their families and share their experiences to date. Students have been busy writing letters home and very much enjoy the after-dinner ritual of opening mail from loved ones. The process of letter writing, although not as immediate as other forms of modern communication, is of great value and is an important part of the boys’ experience at Woollamia.

“Outdoor education can be instrumental in the teaching of self-reliance, interdependence and leadership, the development of an adventurous spirit, managing personal risks, safe journeys in nature, the value of life-long outdoor recreation for enjoyment, health and well-being, understanding nature through direct experience and for developing deeper human–nature relationships” (Outdoor Education Australia, 2015). This statement from the industry peak body communicates much of the value that we seek to capture for each boy who engages in the Field Studies Programme. As we aim to educate each boy in mind, body and spirit, we draw upon the resources provided by the natural world and interact with students in a classroom that lacks the constraints of walls and a ceiling.

Tim Knowles | Head of Field Studies Centre (FSC)

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