The Outdoor Education Program at BBC engages our boys in a world of active outdoor learning experiences that inspire positive relationships integral to the wellbeing of self, community and our natural world.

Education is a continuous process which intertwines places and moments of special interest in our students’ lives. BBC’s Outdoor Education program is embedded in the curriculum and engages students from Year 4, as they venture outside the classroom and experience the outdoors. This year has seen more than 900 students learning about themselves, others and the natural world through an Outdoor Education program which places emphasis on educational outcomes rather than a focus on recreation.

The BBC Outdoor Education program is based on six core values: self-discipline, leadership, integrity, resilience, positive relationships and community mindedness. For the College’s Outdoor Education Coordinator, Mr Marcelo Valente Ramos, this holistic approach is specifically designed to achieve the College’s commitment to educate the whole boy. “As our programs develop, and students build on their skills and learnings each year, we witness growth in student maturity and experience which translates to pedagogical outcomes in and out of the classroom”, he said. “It is heart warming to see boys reflect on their experiences and how they apply their new skills and knowledge at home and at school.”

Our program starts in the early years with students experiencing the outdoors and learning the curriculum in an engaging, memorable and meaningful way. In Years 4 to 6 students actively participate in outdoor excursions to places such as the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Alexandra Headland and Tyalgum Ridge. They undertake activities focused on harnessing confidence and learn to organise their own gear, with our educators constantly linking their outdoor experiences with the classroom curriculum.

The Year 7 boys experienced a milestone in their lives with excitement and adventure on their first day of secondary schooling. At this stage the Outdoor Education program provides a rite of passage focusing on the importance of place and relationships. Our boys paddle canoes, hike short distances carry backpacks, camp out, prepare their own food, learning to tie a tie and experience meaningful initiatives at Camp Somerset.

The Year 8s return to the same venue at Camp Somerset to deepen their connection to place and help them to further develop their skills of interdependence. The boys hike, cycle and paddle further, and take ownership for their own growth as they discover that their bodies and minds can handle more than they think they are capable of.

The Year 9 boys experience a higher level of self-development through the Outward Bound program called ‘Building Capacity’. Our boys climb Mount Warning, paddle canoes and cycle on trails around the Upper Tweed Valley in NSW. This program encourages boys to challenge themselves physically and academically while taking responsibility for their actions. These activities and skills prepare them for their Year 10 Outdoor Education experience.

The culminating program for our Year 10 boys is an authentic wilderness journey organised by Outward Bound Experience, where our boys find themselves exploring the challenging landscape of the Upper Clarence River region in an expedition style journey of bush walking, paddling and navigating between campsites. They engage in group-led activities which enabled them to develop skills like resilience and problem solving that are integral in day to day life as adults.

“Throughout our Outdoor Education Program boys are nurtured to begin an individual and collective journey, which will help them to leave the College and step out as young adults,” Marcelo said. “Our program allows student to expand their comfort zones, prepare and redefine personal possibilities, gain confidence, demonstrate compassion and develop a spirit of camaraderie with their peers, which will serve them well in their adult life. Outdoor Education is the cornerstone for our holistic education as we strive to educate our boys to be better men.”

Marcelo Valente Ramos
Outdoor Education Coordinator