Pacific Lutheran College offers an extensive outdoor education program that supports the development of self-confidence, problem solving, risk taking and teamwork skills in a practical outdoor environment. Pacific’s outdoor education program is recognised as one of the best on the Sunshine Coast and incorporates the College’s teaching and learning principles (Teaching for Understanding and Visible Thinking) with programs entitled ‘Thinking Outside, No Square Required’ and ‘If I do, I Learn’.
Building on experiences from Year 3, a developmental program sees young people engaging in increasing levels of challenge as they participate in outdoor education experiences each year. The compulsory experiences across Years 3-9 culminate in an extended two-week experience in Year 9, which provides students with rare learning opportunities. Having developed skills and enjoyment of leisure activities in the outdoors throughout the junior and middle levels of the College, students in Years 10, 11 and 12 have the option of participating in expeditions during their holidays including white water canoeing and mountain biking.
As well as compulsory year level activities, the development of physical skills and valuing community service through participation in programs like the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme are strongly encouraged and valued by students at Pacific.
Duke of Edinburgh Award
The Duke of Edinburgh Award is an enriching program that invites young people between the ages of 14 and 25 to participate in a number of activities over a set length of time. This length of time increases as participants move through the various levels. A Bronze Award will take a minimum of six months to complete, while a Gold Award will take at least 18 months.
Participation is completely voluntary and students design their own program within a set of guidelines, enabling them to focus on things they are passionate about. Each program requires a person to complete four sections – Fitness/Physical Recreation, Skill, Volunteering and Adventurous Journey.
Many of the requirements can be achieved by simply recording those things students already do at Pacific. Physical recreation can include SCISSA sport or outside school sport, cycling to school, going to the gym, organised dancing, surfing or any other activity that requires a participant to get their heart pumping. A skill can be almost anything that a person does to improve themselves including art, drama, singing, music, cooking, scrap booking, sewing, painting and photography. Volunteering is one area where students may have to look outside the College and their normal lives. Anything that benefits others (outside of school), for which a student donates their time, can be recognised, including caring for a neighbours garden, helping wildlife rescue or life saving. Finally, participants must complete an adventurous journey. The Year 9 and 10 Outdoor Education programs can be included in a student’s award, as could the New Zealand or Cambodia tours.