Adventure-based Learning



“An education that emphasises community, communication, intelligent enquiry, and a reconstructive attitude can best serve the citizens of an ever-changing world."

John Dewey (1859-1952)

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At Clairvaux MacKillop College, we are passionate about providing a holistic education. We encourage students to relate to one another and to others locally, nationally and internationally with justice, respect, compassion, forgiveness and patience.

Educating in outdoor spaces and places afford our students opportunities to learn through experience, develop positive relationships, and extend their capabilities beyond familiar settings. In the outdoors, decision-making, self-reliance, collaboration and leadership are critical to success. The consequences of poor choices are very real and hence the cognitive, emotional, social and physical aspects of youth development are activated.

We encourage every young person to reach for the stars in our compulsory Adventure-based Programs. Each year level has a caref​ully designed program to challenge mind, body and spirit. Students are engaged in a range of environments and ecosystems, connecting with country and building an understanding of their role and responsibilities as a global citizen.

In addition, for those who wish to spend more time learning and growing in outdoor spaces and places, we offer the Duke of Edinburgh Award program and a range of opportunities through Arts, Service and Curriculum areas of the College. Our outdoor programs strongly link to servant leadership and Catholic Identity.

We value highly the benefits of the natural world and, as Outdoor Learning matures at Clairvaux MacKillop College, we continue to consult and grow with National and International experts in this well-researched field of expertise.

As we grow, we welcome feedback. Please feel free to send us your thoughts and suggestions.

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Year 7 students travel to the Sunshine Coast for 3 days and 2 nights. They experience a range of activities with their peers and Homeroom Teachers. The Program is designed to develop identity and open opportunities to forge new relationships.

Students are supported by dedicated Clairvaux MacKillop College staff and qualified outdoor recreation instructors. The Program includes land and water-based activities, such as high-ropes, raft-building and body-boarding, providing opportunities for individuals to engage in team-building challenges, and stretch beyond their comfort zone.

Sharing experiences and developing new relationships, students enjoy the comfort of dormitory-style accommodation. They are responsible for time management, personal hygiene and team development.

If you would like further information on our Year 7 Outdoor Program, please contact Mrs Tanya Cantrell (Year 7 Pastoral Leader) at

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Year 8 students travel to the Lake Somerset region, for 3 days and 2 nights. They experience a range of activities with their peers and Homeroom Teachers. The Program is designed to prepare students for their transition from the Formation Centre to the Junior Centre. In particular, students are encouraged to demonstrate and develop interdependence, as well as identify their role at Clairvaux MacKillop College and in the wider community.

For one night, students experience dormitory-style accommodation. A second night is spent camping under the stars. Throughout this “Base Camp" style experience, students are supported by dedicated Clairvaux MacKillop College staff and qualified outdoor recreation instructors. Activities comprise land and water-based initiatives, extending on their “Formation Camp" experiences in Year 7. These include canoeing, mountain biking, hiking and cooking their own meals, in groups.

If you would like further information on our Year 8 Outdoor Program, please contact Ms Nicola Slater (Year 8 Pastoral Leader) at

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Year 9 students engage in a journey-based program, navigating through a range of environments, carrying all they require for a 3-day, 2-night expedition. The program is designed to facilitate the building of resilience, and encourage peer support. Students are fast approaching an age when responsibility is crucial, with subject selection and, ultimately, career decisions to be made. Without resilience and the support of others, these decisions are harder to make. This program is both a physical and metaphorical journey.

Students will travel self-propelled, hiking and paddling through the Somerset region. Team organisation, cooking and hygiene will be a collective responsibility. Along the course of their journey, they will meet with a series of carefully designed challenges to extend their capabilities.


Student feedback:

For you, what positives came out of camp?

“I pushed myself to the limits and I'm really proud of what I did."

“I loved the freedom of sitting around the campfire and cooking together."

“It was awesome getting to know people in a different light. I feel like, even though we'd known each other for half a year, we grew closer on camp."

“When I'm at school and we pray, I really don't pay much attention. But out here, when we walked in silence and listened to each other read a spirituality passage, I felt like it was real. When I look up at the sky through the trees, I can feel God."



In this culminating program, students are given the opportunity to shine, as time comes to “Choose Your Own Adventure". Each year, these opportunities are adapted to best suit the cohort and maximise learning and personal development. However, our over-arching values remain. The emphasis is to encourage ownership, and hence leadership, in each student-led expedition. Participants bring together their knowledge and skills, built throughout their previous experiences on outdoor programs, and reach the next level of their competency.

Students choose the adventure-based program that best suits their attitude and aptitude. Pursuits on offer may include hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, sea kayaking and sailing.


Student feedback:

What did you learn on your adventure?

 “* Teamwork * Never give up * Enjoy the moment * Just have fun!*"

 “Traveling in a small group helped me to talk to new people and to learn new things about them. It also helped our teamwork and trust, as it would have been harder if there were more people."

“It was good to see other peoples' strengths and weaknesses and it was different to see them in a different environment other than school."

“I learnt to always be grateful"

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