On the final day of Term, the College hosted a Culture Day which brought together staff, students, community Elders, school governors, Hawthorn Football Club representatives, Indigenous Basketball representatives, family chaperones and members of the Worawa Advisory Committee.
Students were fully involved in preparations for the day supported by teaching staff. They took charge of making damper, baked kangaroo tail, kangaroo stew, chilli crab, baked fish and preparing favourite bush foods for cooking on the outside fire pit.
The day commenced with a Smoking Ceremony and walk through the Dreaming Trail. We had the special privilege of hearing Uncle Herb Patten play the gum leaf, Yolngu students performed traditional dance, the school choir sang songs in the language. All enjoyed a truly great feast and relaxed social exchange.
- Culture Day – Snapshots from our final day of term.
This year we have our first 5, year 12 VCAL students at Worawa as well as 7 year 11 students. Students are working on a number of key projects that are both practical and research-based. Practical projects include self-defence and resilience with Barkinji Warrior Shantelle Thompson as well as visual arts and performing arts projects.
All VCAL students are working with the prestigious St Martin’s Youth Theatre to develop a performance for Term 3. All projects are aimed at developing confidence and employability skills such as communication and time management.
The research projects are self-paced at each year level with reducing levels of teacher support as students move towards year 12 graduation, interdependent living and study. Students have also been learning about paying bills, developing budgets and the dangers of credit cards. This Term students have also been studying for their learner permit now that they have completed another round of METEC driver education.
They have also attended barista training at William Angliss and year 12 students have commenced vocational study in the area of Community Services. Business is again the VET focus for year 11. These two programs were chosen for the generalist skills they offer and value add to the lives of the young women in the VCAL program. In terms of value-add vocational training, VCAL students also completed first aid, food handlers and have prepared AFL Umpire Training in Term 2.
Some VCAL students attended a Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee meeting and were inspired by the sort of work being done in the community because of the collaboration between Government agencies and Aboriginal community organisations. It was incredibly inspiring to those who attended and has confirmed career choices for these students.
Next Term year 12 students will be making very solid plans for their lives beyond school. This includes university and TAFE applications and attendance at information sessions as well as finding out more about accommodation and income options for independent living. They have already overcome the huge challenge of studying away from home so are at an advantage.
Every student hopes that bullying won’t happen to them or to someone they know, so the focus this Term was on bullying. The students at Worawa have the power to make a positive impact by recognising bullying behaviour and understanding the impact bullying has on their peers. They learned how they can be a positive active bystander when they witness bullying occurring. The whole school participated in the National Day Against Violence and Bullying on March 15th with the Year 9 and 10 students doing a presentation on Bullying at Assembly, including a movie they made on how to be an “upstander”.
This Term the students in Sports Academy participated in a variety of recreational activities around the local Healesville area. During the first part of the Term, they went to the Healesville Lawn Bowling Club. They received instruction from the experienced members of the club. The girls showed natural talent in the sport and enjoyed participating in sports enjoyed at any age or level. In the second part of the Term, the students participated in water aerobics at the RACV Country Club. Water aerobics incorporates aerobics and resistance training in the water making it a great way to stay fit without putting stress on the body. At school, they participated in badminton and volleyball, as well as fitness training and yoga.
English / Literacy
We are so pleased with the learning journey of each of our students during Term 1. Each day in class students have been encouraged to develop their reading and comprehension skills as well as borrowing books from the library to read in their spare time.
Students have been practising appropriate spelling words, which link in with their class text, to extend their vocabulary. Each student has produced an instructional piece, where they were encouraged to include the essential features of this genre of writing.
Kombadik and Baggup have completed a detailed study on The Burnt Stick, where the novel follows the journey of a young boy who was part of the Stolen Generation. Students have focused on skill development in a number of areas of literacy.
Cumbungi and Murnong have focused on the novel The Eagle Inside. This book explores the feelings about facing new experiences, challenges and friendships when in a new environment.
Cumbungi have worked on furthering their literacy skills through the study of compound words, verbs and a written response to the class text.
Murnong has taken steps forward in their literacy, focusing on their individual reading level and applying new skills learned. Next Term the students will be undertaking the NAPLAN assessment, where we have begun preparation for the formal testing environment, providing students with as much support as we can.
Mathematics / Steam
In Mathematics and STEAM this Term, students were challenged to take responsibility for their learning as they participated in the projects Worawa Economy and Café Cart.
The Worawa Economy presented a mock economy system through which students developed financial literacy. Students applied for and received classroom jobs, which they completed independently. Upon completion of their jobs, students received a monthly salary of Worawa Money and a bonus when they exceeded expectations.
Students were also accountable for paying bills and fines. Twice in the Term, students had the opportunity to spend their remaining Worawa money at the auction and sales. Through the Worawa Economy, students have grown in confidence and autonomy, stepping up in their jobs and running the two auctions on their own.
In the Café Cart project, students explored the many facets involved in developing and working in a café, in preparation for running their own pop-up café later in the semester.
This project integrated learning from a range of curriculums, including mathematics, science, design and digital technologies as well as vocational skills in Food Handling.
Through the Café Cart project, students have gained a deeper understanding of how to solve real-world problems and integrate knowledge and skills from a range of learning areas. The Term concluded in an exciting set of classes with the students thoughtfully designing their own spin on the ‘Toastie’, creating the recipe, prototyping and trialling each other’s creative inventions.
Molly and ‘The Worawa Way’
The “Worawa Way” model is a holistic approach to education integrating education, culture and wellbeing. Teaching staff work closely with wellbeing and boarding staff to provide a seamless transition for students each day, between the boarding house and the academic program. This continuity of care results in productive relationships between students, teachers, well-being and boarding house teams.
Molly our Therapy dog, has an essential role in supporting students across the spectrum of College operations through spending time in the classroom, well-being room and in the boarding house. Students experience unconditional love from Molly.
Students transitioning into the College have an immediate friend in Molly, her friendly, energetic demeanour helps new students feel welcomed immediately. New students will often be asked if they would like Molly to sit with them to help orient them to the classroom.
Whilst with the Pastoral Care Worker in the Well-Being room, students are encouraged to pat, talk or even groom Molly as a method of helping the student to self-regulate. This helps the student relax and talk more easily with the Pastoral Care Worker about their worries. Sometimes students are very distraught and Molly will lay near them or rest her head on their feet in an effort to soothe the student by helping to reduce their anxiety. Molly is a good listener and students often read to her.
Molly is a real friend and students will often ask to walk Molly as a way of ‘reflective time’ away from others. Other students take pleasure in walking Molly with one of her handlers, Rosalina, which helps them feel like they are back home. Students will often talk of their pets they have left back home. This can encourage them with their attachment to their housemates and house parents by feeling more “homely” as well as teaching the students how to care for Molly.
Molly will often entertain the students at morning ‘Circle Gathering’ with her toy chasing abilities and may appear just like any other dog, however, she is not. Molly works hard at calming students down with her presence but also making the students aware of how their behaviour can affect others. Students will often quieten down if they are advised they are upsetting Molly.
Molly has learned the Worawa Way and helps students to practice respect, responsibility, relationship – rigour however, is a work in progress.