St Mark’s Anglican Community School’s Outdoor Education program has received a significant accolade in the Western Australian Outdoor Recreation Awards, taking out top spot in the category of Innovative Program Award.
This award category is aimed at recognising organisations that demonstrate a high level of innovation in program design, participant involvement or subject matter.
St Mark’s was also a finalist in the Outstanding Contribution to Outdoor Learning category of the same awards. This category focuses on the efforts and contribution of an individual or organisation to the advancement of Outdoor Education, demonstrating a significant impact on students, participants and/or peers.
In addition, the Head of Outdoor Education, Mr Nick Irwin, was nominated in the category of Outstanding Outdoor Education Practitioner.
St Mark’s was nominated by Dr Duncan Picknoll, the senior lecturer and coordinator of the Bachelor of Outdoor Education program at the University of Notre Dame, Fremantle.
Dr Picknoll said that the School’s Outdoor Education program stood out in a number of ways, with the development of cross-curricular learning opportunities being a key factor in its success in the Awards.
‘To date, not many schools are integrating Outdoor Education with other learning areas, but the St Mark’s approach is one of the best ways to meet the criteria for the subject, as outlined by the Australian Curriculum,’ Dr Picknoll said.
Examples of cross-curricular activities in the St Mark’s Outdoor Education program include:
- Year 9 students constructing their own wooden canoes/kayaks building on knowledge developed in Design & Technology lessons.
- Working with the Home Economics Department to develop recipes and food preparation suited to challenges presented during the Outdoor Adventure Expeditions, such as dehydrating food.
- Creating augmented reality sandboxes to assist student understanding of terrain, by transforming 2D maps to 3D terrain modelling.
- In the Year 9 and 10 programs, Science-based learning, such as biotic sampling, is also included in the expeditions
- Humanities and Social Sciences links sees intercultural learning embedded in the program, with Indigenous guest speakers joining students on the Year 10 expedition to talk about the connection to land, management of natural resources and identifying bush tucker.
- The Year 9 students have built wooden picnic tables as part of the “Community” component of the course, which are now used by all students around the School’s campus.
At St Mark’s, the Outdoor Education program is delivered to all students from Years 6 to 10, and is also available as a WACE General course for students in Year 11 and 12.