Without 'life', school is merely academic

As I reflect on the rich learning experiences afforded to our students by their dedicated teachers during the first few weeks of this term, I am reminded that real-life experiences need to be an integral element of the children’s learning. Without ‘life’, schooling is merely academic.

For example, the Kew Year 6 students recently ventured out to Donvale as part of our ongoing Creating Tomorrow’s Leaders program. This was a rare opportunity for our Junior School Kew visitors to absorb the tranquillity of our natural bush setting, and at the same time, engage in a host of team challenges which highlighted our nine Positive Learner Attributes. Our budding leaders were also treated to a presentation from Old Carey Grammarian Denni Egan. Denni’s honest assessment of the trials and triumphs associated with her own leadership aspirations highlighted the need to persevere when things don’t go your way. Her personal attribute of ‘Resilience’ truly shone through.

The upcoming Literature Festival activities will give all children from Prep to Year 6 new perspectives from successful and famous authors and illustrators who will passionately explain their craft. Again, the children will realise that success did not come easily for these writers, and hard work and perseverance are necessary in all aspects of life.

We are thrilled that our friends from the Donvale Retirement Village are keen to assist our Year 4s with their vegetable patches. These respected elderly citizens will freely offer their expertise and love of gardening as they work shoulder-to-shoulder with our Enviro Leaders. These understandings were reinforced this week with a CERES (Centre for Educational Research and Environmental Strategies) incursion. CERES works in partnership with our teachers and students to build understanding in relation to sustainability.

To consolidate their studies of Australian History, our Year 5s stepped back in time. Four days at Sovereign Hill saw them explore the harsh realities of life on the goldfields back in the late 1850s. 

You might wonder why we consider these opportunities an integral part of the curriculum. It’s because they encourage students to focus their gaze beyond the classroom. They involve a diverse range of people sharing dynamic, real-life experiences, and they highlight the importance of perseverance and resilience. Add this to the chance to represent your House in the annual House Cross Country and the chance to purchase that perfect gift at the CDPA’s Mothers Day Stall, and you can see that learning is far from passive at Carey Donvale.

Steve Wilson
Head of Junior School Donvale