A major focus of the Year 9 program at Newhaven College is for all students to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the environment that we all live in. Students undertake extensive studies on environmental themes that address local, national and international issues. The notion of environment is broad, and the subject is addressed both in terms of the physical environment and the notion of interdependence in that we all rely upon and are influenced by others in our wider community.
The Year 9 Environmental Centre itself piques and sustains interest in building in a sustainable way that protects and enhances the environment. Located on our magnificent 82 acre property and commanding views over Westernport Bay, the Centre itself was purpose built for the Year 9 program. It is an award winning, environmentally smart building with many features reflecting sustainability, including a rammed earth wall which forms an internal spine along the length of the building. The classrooms look out across Westernport Bay, creating a sense that the classroom itself is part of a much bigger outdoor environment.
Much of the program is activity-based with the beautiful and diverse natural environment of Phillip Island and South Gippsland being the students’ classroom. Beaches, rock platforms, bushland, dunes, farms and towns will often provide the setting for lessons.
Running through the programs of the Centre is an underlying objective which seeks to build within each student a strong sense of self and sense of community. This is especially evident in the students’ IDEAS, Act Now and Arts Fest projects, the two weeks spent at City Cite within Melbourne’s CBD and in meeting the challenges presented at the Wollangarra Camp in the mountains of Central Gippsland.