‘Enhancing the Cultural Curriculum’ was identified as our key professional development thread across the school this year with Dave Coulter (Cycle 4 teacher) taking the lead role as Curriculum Coordinator in this area. However due to COVID we have had very little chance as a staff to spend time on this area of learning.
On the pupil free day this week teaching staff focused on ‘place-based education’ and how that approach can enhance students’ learning.
Place-based education is an approach to learning that takes advantage of geography to create authentic, meaningful and engaging personalised learning for students. More specifically, place-based education is defined as an immersive learning experience that places students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences, and uses these as a foundation for the study of english, mathematics, history, geography, science and other subjects across the different curriculum areas.
For our PD session this week the teaching staff ventured to Woorabinda Reserve in Stirling to use that site as the example of how you could use 'the place' to enhance learning. Woorabinda contains native flora and fauna of conservation significance, 20ha of bushland and several resident threatened species. It was a beautiful setting for our professional development and the weather also lent itself to outdoor learning.
We started the session with a mindfulness and meditation session led by Nari Glover and then had a session with Mandy Brown, a local indigenous person who talked to us about her indigenous and family history. We also participated in a nature treasure hunt and discussed ways of using the place to enhance students' learning across the curriculum.
The session provided valuable time for teaching staff to discuss, reflect and plan opportunities and ways to enhance their current programs utilising the place-based approach and extending on what they already implement using this approach.