The gradual development of life skills through the Outdoor Education program is an essential part of growing up at Woodleigh. Activities Weeks offer a balance to the academic program and assist in developing good relationships between staff and students – building initiative, independence, character and personality in all students.
For Year 7s, the thought of managing away from home for eight or nine days, as happens in the Year 9 Outward Bound and Year 10 Hattah programs, may seem daunting. But as they complete a number of camps in Years 7 and 8, a strong sense of achievement develops, as does a sense of being able to manage as an individual and as a member of a group.
Activities Week Camps
Two Activities Weeks are held during each school year. The normal School timetable is suspended and students are involved in planned activities both at and away from the school property.
Semester 1 Activities Week
In Semester 1, we conduct Homestead Camps for Year 7 and 8 students and an Outdoor Education Program for Year 9 and Year 10. One important aim of the Homestead Camp is to give students and staff the chance to practise living and working together as a small community. Homestead Camp weeks are also designed to help students develop a range of basic outdoor leisure skills in different environments. We employ outside experts with skills relevant to each Homestead’s program, to work with staff in conducting challenging educational activities, which incorporate the development of leisure skills such as abseiling, orienteering, surfing and lightweight camping. Each Homestead chooses a coastal location for their camp, which has something special to offer in terms of possible activities as well as other historical and natural attractions.
Year 9 students participate in an Outward Bound adventure for nine days in the Snowy River area and Year 10 students are involved in the Hattah Lakes Expedition for a full week, toward the end of Term 1.
Senior Homestead Camps
Senior Homestead students (Years 11 and 12) ballot for a range of camps and curriculum-based programs. All of these are off-campus. Recent camps have included Cradle Mountain Bushwalk, High Country Horse Riding, Gippsland Lakes Sailing, Creative Retreat, Social Service, Sydney Cultural Experience, Melbourne Arts, Tasmanian Adventure Tour, Scuba Diving, Murray Paddle and White Water Rafting.
Semester 2 Activities Week Camps
In Semester 2, Years 7–11 students are able to participate in another Activities Week when again the normal timetable is suspended. Students can elect to take part in Outdoor Education Camps such as Cross Country Skiing, Horse Riding on the High Plains, Rock Climbing and Abseiling, and Skindiving or in cultural or service-based camps. A range of school-based activities relating to the Arts, in particular drama, music, painting, ceramics and sculpture are also offered. All activities are cross-age, intensive and programmed for at least five days.
(In Semester 2, Year 12 students do not attend Activities Week Camps. This week is used to study for and sit practice exams.)