At TAS, students can develop the essential life skills of resilience, leadership, teamwork and self-responsibility in the safe, yet challenging, learning environment of the inspiring sequential outdoor education program. The program provides students with strategies to develop honesty, empathy and self-reflection, while living healthy and sustainable lives. These attributes are highly valued by employers, tertiary institutions and all sectors of society.
The setting for the program is the diverse yet beautiful natural environment of far North Queensland. This spectacular backdrop provides all participants with a direct relationship with the natural world, fostering a depth of understanding that is critical to making educated and informed decisions about the future of the planet. With youth obesity, mental illness and screen time on the rise, the outdoor education program provides a viable and healthy experience for TAS students. The program provides personal challenges, encourages participation, fosters leadership skills and develops traits of community responsibility, cooperation, resourcefulness, resilience and communication. Quite simply – it is so much more than a CAMP.
The TAS Outdoor Education Program is recognised as one of the best of its kind in Australia and is unique in its scope and duration as students from Year 2 to Year 12 participate in a range of new and exciting educational experiences. These experiences range from a ‘first time away from home’ experience in Year 2 to the flagship program, ‘the Year 9 Journey’, of 18 days duration.
A select group of students at TAS can further develop their interest in outdoor education by enrolling in the Certificate II in Outdoor Recreation offered at the school in Year 10 and Year 11. An in depth course where students focus on a range of outdoor pursuits to develop their skills as future outdoor leaders.
The Value of Outdoor Education
In today’s modern world where there seems to be an increase in:
- urban compaction and close living.
- academic focus and social busyness.
- sedentary life styles.
- pace of change and technological advancement.
In the same world we face a decrease in:
- extended recreation time.
- reflective time and time out.
- connection to our natural environment.
- community interaction in our local area.
Kurt Hahn (the founder of Outward Bound) quotes ‘We must not dis-able our children by making their lives easy’.
The TAS Outdoor Education Program seeks to actively address some of the above concerns from Year 2 to Year 12 via a range of sequential experiences throughout a student’s life at TAS.
National and International research tells us that lasting change to core behaviours in students occurs more deeply, and is longer lasting with programs of five to seven days in length. This lends weight to the inclusion of the School’s flagship program, the Year 9 Journey, over eighteen days.
Core tools and experiences of the Year 9 Journey:
- remote camping and hiking expeditions.
- canoeing and canoeing expeditions.
- community service environmental work and social connection.
- communal living with real consequences.
- structured, supportive and safe challenges.
- high and low challenge ropes courses.
- initiatives and team challenges.
- rock climbing.
These tools and experiences endeavour to develop in students:
- a strong positive social identity.
- true self confidence.
- independence followed by social and community interdependence.
- awareness of the benefit of challenges.
- self reliance.
- personal growth.
- environmental appreciation.
These lofty goals are achieved by:
- utilising the natural locations around North Queensland.
- having professional outdoor education staff who ensure high standards, safety and outcomes for students and parents.
- utilising local professional outdoor education contractors to add value to programs.
- a constant commitment from the school to promote and value these outcomes.
Year 2 An overnight sleep-over at the school that introduces students to the concept of camping away from home.
Year 3 Three days at Lake Tinaroo, on the Atherton Tablelands, in dormitory accommodation. This camp is an introduction to the challenges and rewards of outdoor education. The program includes an afternoon excursion to Mareeba Heritage Museum.
Year 4 A three day camp in the Mulgrave Valley, which will include environmental and team building activities, water based activities and a host of challenging day activities.
Year 5 Three days at Barrabadeen, undertaking a broad range of adventure and environmental activities, including canoeing on Lake Tinaroo, abseiling and hiking to Bushranger’s Bluff.
Year 6 Four days camping at Chillagoe, 200 kilometres inland from Cairns. Investigation of life in an arid environment introduces students to local European and Aboriginal histories, art, cave biology and geology as well as developing a sense of exploration through adventure caving and day hikes.
Year 7 A four day camp where students will travel to Wangetti. The program is defined by a two night hike, carrying all gear, through the spectacular waterfall country of Hartleys Creek. The educational focus of this program is to develop solid catering skills and campsite management practice, while learning about indigenous history and the culture of the region from a local elder.
Year 8 A five day canoe journey is conducted on the Barron River, between Mareeba and Kuranda. Over 50 kilometres, students negotiate rapids, cook all their own meals and camp under bivvies in rustic campsites. The educational focus of this program is teamwork, communication and relationship with the little known Upper Barron.
Year 9 Journey Year 9 is a demanding year for adolescent students. To help our students develop the bonds of a positive and supportive group, a longer program has been developed. The eighteen day Year 9 Journey sees students undertake a canoe expedition on Lake Tinaroo, abseiling, environmental service projects, sailing, mountain bike tour, high ropes course, a four day hiking expedition and a “solo” reflection of one day’s duration. This holistic experience challenges, teaches and builds empathy. The educational outcomes of the Journey are observed in students well after the last meal is cooked, tent slept in or hill climbed.
Year 11 Students select from a host of outdoor experiences over five days. Options include the South Passage sailing voyage, a hiking expedition, scuba diving, Russell Island exploration, horse riding and mountain biking. All trips assume a foundation of competency developed in the previous camps and are highly challenging and rewarding experiences.
Year 12 Senior students have an important and challenging year as leaders of the student body. The Year 12 Retreat, held at Lake Tinaroo early in the year, emphasises leadership and group cohesion. A series of speakers discuss, among other things, study skills and future direction. Some time is spent in house organisation.