Donvale Junior School
Understating the past and what makes community
Year 5 focusses on ‘Understanding Our Past and What Makes Community’. The students explore our indigenous heritage as well as what happened during the Colonial period. They spend three days at Sovereign Hill and experience what it was like to live and attend school in the 1860s. Students not only learn about history and traditions that shaped our community but also some of the economic principles of producing and selling to meet a community’s needs. The indigenous unit often ignites an interest in students that is encouraged in Year 6, with a visit to a remote Aboriginal Community in the Northern Territory, Robinson River.
The students in Year 5 also have the opportunity to participate in an outdoor education experience at the school camp, Toonallook, situated on the banks of Lake Victoria on the Bansksia Peninsula in Gippsland. All Year 5 students take part in a band program with tuition by experienced music teachers, learning an instrument from the brass or percussion sections; a unique feature of Carey Donvale.
Creating tomorrow's leaders
The final year of primary school has the overarching theme of ‘Creating Tomorrow’s Leaders’. All Year 6 students participate in a leadership program that focusses on helping the students learn about themselves and the varied forms of leadership required at different times. It is designed to prepare and assist the students in their transition from Junior to Middle School. The year starts with a special two-day conference that includes students from both Junior School campuses. This is followed up with two other days throughout the year. Students complete three challenges. The intellectual challenge takes the form of a ‘Passion Project’, in which students are supported to lead their own learning through the exploration of a passion or strong interest. The physical challenge is conducted as part of our camp program at Toonallook, where they learn about problem solving and persistence as a team, working together while also having an adventure. In the community challenge, our aim is to help students begin to understand the satisfaction that comes from serving others and being involved with their community. An hour’s service, at a minimum, is required per week for a term. This endeavoor is supported by their class teachers, chaplains and Heads of House.
Leaders across the world are studied, as well as our own leaders and political system, culminating in a visit to Canberra for four days.
The special relationship that Carey has developed with the people of Robinson River, has resulted in a small number of Year 6 and Year 9 students having the opportunity to visit the community. We are committed to the empowerment and development of indigenous communities around Australia. By allowing students to engage with indigenous Australians in Robinson River, Carey seeks to play a part in achieving true reconciliation, while supporting the developing leadership skills of the Carey students. The relationship continues with a return trip by a group of students and two staff from the Robinson River school spending time at Carey.