An Innovation in Education

In 2008, we embarked upon an exciting innovation in education for adolescent boys on the Southern Yorke Peninsula. Today each class of Year 9 students participate in a five-week extended stay program based at the Wambana Campus at Point Turton. The purpose of the extended stay program is to focus on five key elements of boys learning:

  • Social and Emotional development
  • Adventure and Challenge
  • An affirmation of adolescence growth and development
  • An academic program dictated by the natural environment
  • Contributing to Community Service

The extended stay program was intoduced to complement the Middle Years Program (MYP). We believe that boys can be better prepared for the transition between boyhood to manhood through an educational program that is grounded in experience. Our extended stay program provides a  curriculum that fully integrates real life experiences and goes beyond single subjects towards a curriculum that becomes a lived experience.

The program is a significant experience in the life of Year 9 boys. Living away from home for four weeks provides many challenges and opportunities. Deciding what to shop for, what to eat, when and how to cook, clean, wash and the myriad of other domestic tasks  becomes a major focus of life for each student. There are other personal challenges that each student will come to terms. It may be the first time they have been separated from their family for an extended period. Learning to cope and understand how to live with other people’s idiosyncrasies provides a rich environment for forming a better understanding of what it means to become an adult and gain a truer understanding of one’s own place in the world.

The extended stay program allows students to take control and responsibility for what they do and what they wish to learn. At times the curriculum will be negotiated between students and leaders in a collaborative manner. Students are encouraged to follow their own directions so they can create the future they want to live in.

History

In 2001, our staff identified the need to reconsider ways in which the College provides for Year 9 boys. As a result, a comprehensive research study was undertaken through Monash University to investigate ways in which we could establish an educational program grounded in direct experience.

Prince Alfred College launched the Extended Stay Program at Innes National Park, on the Yorke Peninsula in 2007.

Our extended stay program takes into consideration Australian and International research in experiential education, curriculum, middle schooling and boys’ education; combined with the experience of educators at similar extended stay programs and the values and beliefs of educators at PAC. The overall result is a model that represents the critical features of an extended stay program, and best practice in Middle Years Education.

In 2008 the ‘Wambana Campus’ at Point Turton was opened as a dedicated facility for our Year 9 Extended Stay Program.

Philosophy

Much of the Wambana philosophy has its origins in the thinking of German philosopher and educator Kurt Hahn who was the founder of residential schools such as Salem in Germany, Gordonstoun in Scotland and the Outward Bound Program.

Purpose

To foster growth by helping adolescent boys to better manage the transition to adulthood through immersion in community, academic, spiritual and outdoor adventures.

Aims

    • Allow students to make a connection between classroom based learning and the ‘real world’
    • Immerse students in community service programs to develop a sense of ‘others before self’
    • Improve health and fitness levels in students
    • Provide for the self-fulfilment of individuals with all their differences
    • Bring awareness to students of the love and care family, friends and others have for them
    • Mentor and facilitate learning environments so that students can attain real growth and development
    • Have students take responsibility and ownership for their behaviour
    • Use the outdoors to develop a sense of adventure and challenge

Outcomes

    • Social and emotional health
    • Personal growth
    • Responsibility
    • Outwardly looking individuals

Values

    • Role Modeling
    • Selflessness
    • Accountability
    • Integrity
    • Courage
    • Self Reliance

The role of the outdoors

The use of the outdoor environment is an important catalyst in developing thoughts about a sustainable lifestyle and improving a student’s relationship with the earth.

Group cooperation, improved self-esteem, a sense of belonging, feelings of empowerment, critical and lateral thinking skills and the ability to reflect and evaluate are some of the most important outcomes of the outdoor program.

Due to the adventurous nature of many of the activities provided available, students receive practical training in first aid, safety, navigation and leadership. Prior to expeditions the boys are given instruction in the theory surrounding the specific activities they will be undertaking.

Outdoor activities include:

    • Cycle Touring
    • Surfing
    • Sea Kayaking
    • Snorkelling
    • Bush walking