News from the Field Studies
French educationalist Meirieu (2008) characterises the core ‘interest’ of education, namely as a process where we try to release children from their desires by opening up a distinction between what they desire and what might be desirable for them. The Field Studies Programme contains many ‘desirable’ elements, including the opportunity to take Year 9 boys on a journey of practical learning and self-reflection. The boys are encouraged to stretch their comfort zones in their new environment and will likely face challenges that are quite different to those that they encountered over the many weeks of remote learning. While we have been waiting for the boys to return, the local kangaroos have infiltrated the campus lawns, making themselves right at home. On cue at 3:30pm each day, an extended family of kangaroos congregate outside the dining hall, seemingly anticipating the bell ringing that signifies afternoon tea, when the boys are in residence. I doubt that they will be as bold once we have students back on campus!
At the beginning of this term we welcomed our new teaching staff to the Field Studies Centre. Mrs Leah Arthur, Mr Carlos Costello, Mr Elliot Hunt and Mr Tom Morey bring a wealth of experience to our programme and an abundance of innovative ideas and teaching practices. The Academic team have been busy preparing programmes for the extended programme that will commence at the beginning of next year and gearing up for the arrival of the final group of Year 9 students for 2021. The broader Field Studies team have continued to prepare for the arrival of the next cohort of students, with a range of compliance tasks including the updating of risk assessments and completing essential training. Staff have also been redeployed around the 100-acre property to undertake tasks such as removing dead trees, planting out gardens and establishing new campsites.
The recently completed classroom block will be put to good use as the boys from Programmes 5 and 6 arrive in a little over a week’s time. The new classrooms have been designed to blend seamlessly into the natural environment of the Woollamia campus, and will provide flexible, well appointed spaces for students to engage in their Academic learning. Staff from the FSC are travelling to Summer Hill next week to conduct the pre-programme briefing and compulsory swim test. We are excited to be providing the remaining 2021 Year 9 students with an opportunity to engage in this valuable rite of passage experience, over the final weeks of Term 4.
Tim Knowles | Head of the Field Studies Centre (FSC)