Developing effective learners

By Nathan O’Malley, Assistant Head of Outdoor Education

Early Monday morning over the past two weeks, 90 Year 6 boys and their classroom teachers joined the Outdoor Education team for an expedition to Camp Coolamatong on the beautiful Gippsland Lakes. Over five days, the boys have been given the opportunity to challenge their self-management skills and build their classroom community, while developing some of the foundation expedition skills they will call upon later in their Outdoor Education experiences at BGS.

The program is split into two phases: in camp and on expedition. For the camp phase, the boys spent their time on the Banksia Peninsula, riding mountain bikes through coastal woodlands, canoeing on Duck Arm of Lake Victoria as well as completing team-building activities that help the boys get to know each other better in a context different from the schoolyard. The boys also spent some time with Aunty Cass, an Aboriginal Elder, learning about the First Peoples’ perspectives in the Gippsland Lakes region to help deepen their understanding of this coastal environment and to pick up a few handy survival skills!

As a Bayside School, our Outdoor Education program often focuses on coastal landscapes to help the boys better understand their everyday environment and the positive impacts they can have.

For the expedition phase, the boys hitched a ride on the CC Neil, a motor launch that carried them and all of their supplies across to Rotomah Island and 90 Mile Beach. Here they learned more about packing and carrying their pack, navigating and moving as a group, and how to find comfort in the great outdoors.

With each step in the Outdoor Education sequence, the level of challenge and detail is slowly increased to help prepare the boys for the ever-growing challenges they will face on the other side of New Street and beyond.

Overall, these past two weeks have been a terrific opportunity to build positive relationships and a stronger sense of community between the boys and their teachers in a new environment. We have also purposefully developed attributes that typically aren’t so easy to teach or assess, such as resilience, persistence, cooperation and organisation  with the hope of making more effective learners to lead the Junior School.

Thank you to the boys, the Year 11 OELP mentors, the Outdoor Education staff and the Year 6 teachers for their time, hard work and brilliant energy.