30 May 2024

Learning beyond the classroom

Learning beyond the classroom
Learning beyond the classroom
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We find ourselves very busy this time of the year at the Donvale campus. Intensive swimming, extra rehearsals for whole-school choral evenings, excursions and camps – there is so much happening that at times we can forget to stop and enjoy these special experiences. But why are these experiences so special?

We have long known that rich learning happens beyond the classroom walls alone. While our classrooms are dynamic places where essential skills are learnt and developed, it is the less obvious lessons that are often remembered more! Our Year 5 and 6 students have this week departed for camps at Sovereign Hill and Toonallook respectively. For many students, our camp experiences can be their first time away from home. How do you pack a bag? What do you need to bring? What if I lose something? All common concerns yet important lessons that help develop life skills. When a student manages their own belongings, cares for personal hygiene and eats different foods to what is regularly served at home, they are learning to self-manage, be independent and make decisions. Trying new things beyond the comforts of home or the classroom tests their resilience and perseverance. As Luke Jansons from Active Education explains,

School camps help students develop a sense of autonomy. For many campers especially younger primary aged students, a full camp experience can often create a sense of anxiety in the lead up to camp and as they climb on the bus but by the end of a camp program, students return home with a new sense of self-esteem and independence.

Whether it be a choir rehearsal, APS training or solving a problem on an excursion, group learning opportunities add a special dimension to our learning. Johnson et al. (2014) determined ‘that students learning in a collaborative situation had greater knowledge acquisition, retention of material, and higher-order problem solving and reasoning abilities than students working alone.’ Opportunities for our children to collaborate are orchestrated at various points in their learning journey. This is carefully planned and acknowledged by Carey staff as key to supporting well rounded development in our students.


We encourage all students and their families to enjoy the busyness of Carey life! Pause and reflect on the less obvious lessons learnt and the lifelong skills that are being developed. Our rich and diverse curriculum aims to create learners who are well-rounded and independent.

Alysha Byrne
Deputy Head of Junior School Donvale – Student Learning

Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., & Smith, K. A. (2014). Cooperative learning: Improving university instruction by basing practice on validated theory. Journal on Excellence in University Teaching, 25(4), 1-26.


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