Portraits, prime ministers and playtime

The Year 6 boys returned from Canberra with a new understanding of politics and whack ball.

Last week, the Year 6 boys gathered early in the morning to leave for the airport and a fun-packed four-day camp in Canberra. As part of their Democracy unit, the boys toured Parliament House, Old Parliament House, the Museum of Democracy, the Electoral Education Centre and Government House. They also visited the CSIRO, the High Court, the Royal Mint, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Film and Sound Archives, Questacon, the Embassy region, Mount Ainslie, the Australian Institute of Sport, and the Australian War Memorial. Phew!

Parliament House and the role-playing activities in Old Parliament House provided rich learning experiences. The boys saw the Senate and the House of Representatives, asking excellent questions of their guides. The boys had to locate the portrait of the prime minister they will be researching later this term (they have been assigned to various prime ministers), and they enjoyed the memorabilia from politicians throughout our history. The tour of Government House also went down very well.

The Australian War Memorial was an emotional highlight for the boys, who have been reflecting on their experience back at School this week. For example, in circle time, the boys considered the concept of honour, and made honour statements. They discussed why the Prime Minister’s office looks out on the War Memorial. The precept “Your monuments are your deeds” has also been a subject for contemplation. And, in their discussions about the novel Wonder, themes from Canberra continue to be drawn upon, including our use of masks. The boys’ free line drawings from the National Portrait Gallery have stimulated dialogue around this topic. Come and see these drawings – they are up in our classroom.

The boys loved seeing the AIS in action, eating dinner with athletes and later playing basketball, whack stick and European handball, and even getting into the wrestling ring, at the AIS facilities. Questacon and the free drop slide were mega fun. The boys had a photo opportunity with the Minister for Education, who was touring Questacon at the same time as us. 

Be sure to have a chat with your boy about his experiences and reflections of this extraordinary trip.