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Wouldn’t school be boring if it was just about learning isolated content in different subjects? What is probably less appealing, is the fact that this would be a poor representation of what lives are like in a contemporary world. As we know from our daily experiences, we are constantly expected to blend knowledge, skills and dispositions to every aspect of our life while also employing our social and emotional intelligence as we interact with others. This is not something that comes naturally to us.

A quality education is one that enables children to naturally build these abilities while also developing their character. I outlined aspects of a child’s character development in a newsletter a few weeks ago.

Our exceptional community of learning has demonstrated this quality education in many forms over the past few weeks. This quality education does not, and should never be assumed to, only take place in the classroom; some of these experiences have taken place beyond the school gates. Over the last two weeks alone, we had had many students walking to excursions within the city; it is experiences like this that not only develop learning within subject areas, but also develop one’s character. This is furthered when we consider some of the (un)seasonal weather that Adelaide has experienced recently. Stepping out of our privileged lifestyles, to experience challenges such as this, helps to develop children’s character. The Year 6 excursion to the Migration Museum, the ‘Once upon a Festival’ literacy excursion, and Year 2 excursion to the South Australian Museum were examples of this in the past two weeks.

The quality education that we provide is not just a myriad of rich activities that develop character but is also focussed on creating personal and social connections. As part of our approach to Wellbeing, that is based on positive psychology, we ensure the development of positive relationships; this is not just between students, but also involving the wider community. Palm House Sports Day, Friends of Saints Breakfast and Year 1 Space Odyssey are prime examples of the rich learning that goes beyond the classroom in the past two weeks.

Our exceptional teachers have also skilfully curated incursions that extend the learning beyond the classroom. Year 5 students have experienced workshops that have supported the development of their financial literacy – something that we know is vitally important – whereas the Year 2 students have experienced nature education incursions to develop their deeper understanding of lifecycles.

As can be seen, teachers in our school weave a rich tapestry of learning together into an exceptional educational experience. This two-week snapshot of learning that goes beyond the classroom is a representation of the rich and varied learning experiences that are part of our School and one that makes me proud to be a member of.

Jon Gelsthorpe
Deputy Head of Junior School – Teaching and Learning