Last month, Year 9s visited Warrah School, as part of our our community engagement and service excursions within The Cove Program.
Community as one of the pillars around which the program is built (achievement and autonomy being the other two), means we want to involve and expose our students to altruistic community based work. The idea of service and giving back is an important aspect of learning at that age and will sensitize the students towards supporting people living life with challenges and to build empathy within them.
The day at Warrah was structured into morning activities around community service when students in groups of four helped the Warrah maintenance team in various tasks around the farm and school including weeding, planting and cleaning tasks. One group was able to clean windows of one of the residences for people who permanently reside at Warrah and who have a much broader age range of up to 75 years. During the cleaning session students were involved in many at hoc encounters with residents who eagerly approached our students and struck up conversations. A shared morning tea brought us even closer to the people looking after the residents and the residents themselves which was a wonderful occasion. The students went from a rather shy and observational start, to an engaging and friendly exchange and deeper understanding of what it can mean to live with a disability.
The lunchtime and afternoon was based around interaction with students at Warrah School, which work with the indication of Rudolf Steiner bringing meaningful interaction to the students being educated at Warrah. Our students met the Warrah students at their playground for some get-to-know-one-another activity on the trampoline and swing. Later, our students brought some games and activities to the Warrah students and staff. Both parties benefitted a lot from one another.
It was visible how important such exchange and engagement is for young people who may not have had the opportunity to get to know people each living with unique and different challenges. Here it was essential to engage, to overcome initial hesitance and to allow oneself to be open. The Glenaeon students really enjoyed the day and also visited the organic farm shop and farm, and left with the experience and appreciation of diversity and inclusion, open hearts and open minds.