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21 May 2018

Open book project a new chapter for students

A unique program at Rockingham Senior High School takes students out of the classroom and into the community as part of a new approach to learning.

Rockingham SHS

Rockingham Senior High School students in the fruit and vegetable garden.

The ‘open book project’ was developed after principal Stan Koios saw the need to create alternative pathways for students needing a more hands-on style.

“Education isn’t one-size-fits-all,” he says.

“Connecting students’ learning with the real world and working with them to identify their strengths, interests and career aspirations help these young people to get the best start in life.”

The program is for selected students from Years 7 to 10 and aims to build their literacy, numeracy, problem-solving and teamwork skills, as well as their social and emotional abilities.

Daily group activities keep students on their toes, including maintaining the school’s fruit and vegetable garden, local art projects, and a bike restoration project connected with a local charity.

When students aren’t out in the community, they’re learning ways to build personal resilience and self-confidence through mindfulness techniques and class-based art therapy activities.

While students still participate in regular classes, the opportunity to come together each day to set goals, reflect on experiences and share stories has been very rewarding.

Mr Koios says the program was already making a difference.

“Since the program launched this year, the students involved are attending school more regularly, more interested in activities, and actively involved in the school and wider community,” he says.

Over the coming weeks, a range of local professionals and tradespeople will meet with students and share valuable information about what they need to do to pursue their career goals.

As the program evolves, the school is also hoping to work with mentors in areas such as building and construction, nursing and health related professions, retail and IT to support students’ transition into the workplace.

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