The Clunes program combines the College’s timeless principles of learning – learning to know, learning to do, learning to live with and learning to be – in a unique residential context.
The learning program at Clunes follows the Year 9 curriculum, the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (MYP). The curriculum blends experiential learning, social and emotional learning, community engagement, the arts, sustainability and interdisciplinary learning with practical life skills.
Where learning takes place
Teaching and learning takes place across the day in a variety of spaces at Clunes, including historic buildings and the student houses, the township and the diverse natural landscape of the surrounding district. Newly developed learning studios and a demonstration kitchen have been purpose-built for the Clunes program.
Learning for life
Students develop important and practical life skills at Clunes including household budgeting and decision-making, food planning and safe preparation, monitoring weekly energy and water consumption and cleaning. Cooking classes are held three times per week with support from a cooking instructor on nutrition, menus, food handling and safe use of kitchen equipment. Living and learning together helps students understand and appreciate negotiation, collaboration and tolerance.
Students spend nearly one term at Clunes (eight weeks). Students at Clunes continue their foreign language studies and complete a standalone Mathematics unit to ensure continuity in their learning and progress. The Mathematics unit supports students' skill development in Mathematics while relating to their real-world experiences at Clunes.
Students direct their learning by undertaking an Individual Project, with support from teaching staff. After identifying an area of inquiry with local relevance, students plan and undertake research into their chosen topic drawing on primary resources. Students produce a creative response to their research question and present this at the parent exhibition held at the end of the program. Students find the Individual project immensely rewarding and a valuable lesson in time management and self-discipline. Previous project topics have included; the impact of introduced species in the local area, values and ethics of farming practices, and light pollution and the effects on the night sky.
Students at Clunes select from a range of MYP electives, including:
- food and cooking
- trail running, cycling and cross-fit training
- woodwork and leatherwork
- community activities
- art-based activities.
Exploring self and identity
At a key period in adolescent development, the Clunes experience facilitates an exploration of self. The curriculum provides distinct programs for girls and boys to focus on personal growth, self-awareness and an understanding of the various dimensions that make an individual. One of the highlights of the program are our student gatherings, in which parents or significant role models share their knowledge and wisdom to answer student questions about life, identity and personal journeys.
Engaging the Clunes community is a key component of the learning experience. Students visit and volunteer their time with local organisations and businesses, such as the Clunes Primary and Pre-schools, Senior Citizens’ Centre, the local animal farm, the Clunes Community Health Centre, the butcher, bakery, newsagent and old-time sweet shop to understand the value of living in a rural community and the importance of organisations and the people within the community. In deepening their study of the concept of community, students complete a Community Project during their time at Clunes. A key component of their overall assessment in the MYP, students work collaboratively to develop and implement a community project of their choice.