Year 10 Canberra Excursion 2021
We were very lucky this year to return to our nation’s capital with the Year 10 cohort in Week 4. The students were immersed in a learning experience intended to deepen their understanding of Australia’s history, the political and legal system, art and culture, and issues related to sustainability and the environment. We were very lucky this year to be able to add two new locations with visits to the Australian National Botanic Gardens and the National Capital Exhibition. Thankfully, we were able to cross the border, despite the hiccup and COVID scare on the Thursday prior to our departure. I would like to thank all parents and guardians for their support in completing the ACT declaration forms on the day of departure.
The excursion coincided with preparation for a Year 10 History learning task on the Gallipoli Campaign, which motivated the students to ask questions of their tour guides about the source evidence available. It was unfortunate that we were not able to take part in the War Memorial commemoration services this year, and that our time was restricted to one hour due to the COVID restrictions. The students were nevertheless able to experience the WWI and WWII galleries, the Honour Roll, and the Hall of Memory.
Some highlights of the trip included a tour of the embassy district, where students noted the strict security around the US embassy and saw some construction finally underway for the Russian embassy in Canberra. Some groups managed to watch a parliamentary debate in the Senate on sustainability issues and the need for the government to make decisions based on the environment rather than nepotism. At the National Museum of Australia, the students learned about the inspirational story of Nova Peris through artefacts connected with her life. At the National Gallery of Australia, the students were taken through a selection of works and were particularly struck by the Indigenous Art Triennial and the Belonging Gallery. Many of the groups were also lucky enough to watch sunset at the National Tree Arboretum, where the students were able to indulge in the spectacular views of Canberra.
These types of experiences are just a small snapshot of the valuable academic immersion and focus on civics and citizenship that took place on this trip. Being able to integrate these experiences beyond the classroom contributed to our Year 10 students’ development as strong, independent, and informed citizens of Australian and the world. Absorbing these experiences, interacting with the guides, and learning about our nation’s capital and Australia’s history showed the students that the best learning often takes place outside the walls of the classroom.
It needs to be acknowledged that this tour was supported by the Australian government which recognises the importance of all young Australians being able to visit Canberra as part of their Civics and Citizenship education. To assist families in meeting the cost of the excursion, the Australian government funds $30 per student under the Parliament and Civics Education Rebate program. This rebate is paid directly to the school at the completion of the excursion. This shows how aligned Loreto is to the values of the Australian government on this issue of Civics and Citizenship education.
Overall, the students fully embraced all aspects of the Canberra experience and returned from their visit in high spirits, reinvigorated by the alternative approach to learning they experienced during their time away.
Mr Michael Rafe
Acting Head of History
Please Note: This article was first published indicating that the Australian Government Parliament and Civics Education Rebate amounted to $20. The correct sum is $30.