News from the Field Studies Centre

Developing a sense of personal responsibility and accountability is an important part of adolescence. Moving from dependence, to independence, then gaining an understanding of the value of interdependence, is a series of steps that we all take on our path to becoming an adult. The structure of the Field Studies Programme with its focus on outdoor learning, social emotional learning and academic learning, challenges the boys to take responsibility for their actions at every step of the journey.

A significant number of the students on Residential 2 are engaged in the Duke of Edinburgh Award at the Bronze level. The intended impacts of the Award align neatly with those of the Field Studies Programme, and include young people:

  • Being equipped and empowered to achieve their personal best
  • Learning to take responsibility for their goals and choices
  • Becoming connected to and actively engaged within their immediate community
  • Making a real difference to society through their positive contributions and involvement
  • Learning to persevere and overcome barriers to success
  • Learning important life skills (The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Australia, 2021).

The students who have chosen to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Award are expected to go above and beyond during their time at Woollamia. They contribute to the preparation phase of the expeditions by packing group food and finalising route planning, and in in the field through the leadership roles they take on. Having worked through the preparation phase of the Adventurous Journey component of the Award, each boy will be equipped to take on the qualifying journey upon returning to Summer Hill.

All students undertook their second extended trip this week, taking on the challenge of either the Northern or Southern half of the expedition loop that incorporates hiking and canoeing as the key modes of travel. Each of the three activity groups are now operating with an increased level of efficiency, as they apply all that they have learnt to date, to the required tasks. The added challenge of some inclement weather did not deter the students and in some ways, added to the sense of achievement that the boys experienced as they concluded their expedition.

The final week of the current residential will again see the students engaging in elective trips and deepening their skill base in mountain biking, climbing, or marine activities. Having choice is important to us all. The young men get to choose their area of focus in this phase of the programme and it is our hope that the activity they engage with, might be something they go on to revisit in the future. Encouraging lifelong physical activity is a key outcome identified in the NSW PDHPE syllabus and is an integral part of the Field Studies Programme. Exposing the boys to a wide range of physical activities that are not accessed as commonly in their day to day lives provides them with options that they may choose to incorporate into their routines both as they return home and beyond school.

Tim Knowles | Head of Field Studies Centre (FSC)

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