Wesley College Melbourne Australia

News from Clunes

Posted 9 June 2016
Clunes Booktown

After an unseasonably warm summer and beautifully mild autumn, Mother Nature has revealed a different, yet no less engaging side to her personality, recently here at Clunes. The first frosts of the season are upon us. For the past few mornings the campus has woken to a crisp layer of white dust, soon to be dispersed by the rising morning sun. Clear skies have kept overnight temperatures low, but made for beautiful sunny days as winter creeps in.

As I write this, the campus is abuzz with preparations for Group 66 Presentation Day, one of the milestones of the Clunes experience for families and staff. 2016 has seen a busy start to the year at Clunes (let’s not forget this is Wesley), with a number of new staff joining the team in leadership, teaching and support roles. Some of the many highlights have included students volunteering at the annual Booktown festival, solo and overnight solo experiences in local bushland reserves, boys to men campouts and girls’ gatherings, climbing Mt Beckworth, the running and cross-training programs, a world of art, fashion, film and photography on display as part of the MYP individual and community projects, and a seemingly endless array of culinary delights fit to challenge anything dished up on reality TV.

A personal highlight since joining the Clunes team has been observing the way in which staff bring their own passions to their work with students. This can be seen through land care initiatives, promoting sustainable living, mindfulness, wellbeing and fitness, creative and artistic endeavours, helping develop positive relationships and even providing tips for preparing a nutritious and tasty meal for housemates. A wonderful example of this sharing of knowledge is evident in the collective potential program, where staff work intensively with students over three days to realise the power of collaborating to give back to the community. Some of the collective potential experiences this year have included working with BlazeAid, a volunteer land regeneration organisation working in bushfire affected areas, hand-crafting wooden toys and donating them to a local kindergarten, raising funds for a health clinic in Zimbabwe through a team cycling challenge, living and working at the ashram in Daylesford, and providing musical performances for local primary schools and aged care facilities.

Earlier in the term the Clunes Discovery Dinner, celebrating the College’s sesquicentenary, was held in the historic Clunes Town Hall. Many of the guests in attendance were instrumental in forging the initial partnership between the township and Wesley, and all enjoyed the presentation of keynote speaker and campus architect Daryl Jackson. Daryl was born in Clunes, and provided a wonderful insight into the history of the local built environment, and the initial vision for the Wesley at Clunes campus.

With Clunes operating 24/7, professional development mostly occurs when students are not in residence. Clunes staff are very much looking forward to participating in a restorative justice workshop and spending time identifying ways to effectively implement the College Strategic Priorities in the final week of Term 2.

Through shared living, experiential learning and engaging with community and the environment, students at Clunes embody the timeless principles of learning central to a Wesley education on a daily basis - learning to know, to do, to live with and to be. The notion of the traditional classroom has always been challenged at Clunes, and I suspect recognition of the value of experiential learning will continue to grow in the broader educational landscape.

Ben Marsland, Head of Wesley at Clunes

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