Year 4 – Mount Rowan Campus
An innovative model with a focus on place-based learning, our Year 4 Program is designed to empower our students to become principled and active members of their community and to nurture wellbeing and a love of life.
Humans are nature and need a strong sense of connection with the natural world to maintain wellbeing and a love of life.
Based 10 minutes away from the Junior School Campus in a purpose-built facility at our spectacular Mount Rowan Campus, our Year 4 students are immersed in rich learning experiences through exploration and inquiry. Our Year 4 Program encourages students to connect with the natural environment and develop a deep respect and appreciation of the interdependence of the human and natural worlds around them through caring for life.
Students spend four days at the Mount Rowan Campus (transported by the Grammar bus) and one day at the Junior School Campus.
We’re learning that everything around us tells a story.
Students are immersed in rich learning experiences that have been carefully linked to the Australian Curriculum and the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program. The natural environment acts as a springboard for the explicit teaching of skills in core academic subject areas.
With a focus on Caring for Life this program provides a diverse and rich resource to support student learning.
- Emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing
- Practising mindfulness
- Common values and integrity
- Empathic understanding
- Community partnerships
- Principled enterprise
- Supporting local and global initiatives
- Taking action
- Fostering curiosity
- Love of learning through a growth mindset
- Explicit teaching
- Student-directed inquiry
Paddock to Plate
- Food gardens
- Animal husbandry
- Preparing and cooking food
- Celebrating and savouring food
- Landcare activities
- Indigenous and heritage plant propagation
- Breeding endangered animals (not for release)
- Ethical living
With wi-fi access extending across all areas of the campus and a set of tablets designed for outside use, technology is used to enhance our learning and teaching.
The design of our beautiful purpose-built facility draws on our understanding about the powerful restorative value of the environment and the relationship that it shares with wellbeing and cognition.
Mount Rowan Campus Sustainability Profile
The main building features passive solar design principles, natural ventilation and natural light and makes the most of the surrounding landscape using colours inspired by the local environment and extensive rural views towards the city of Ballarat.
We think it’s best described and enjoyed in the words of our Year 4 Co-Ordinator Mrs Clarice Lisle…
Facing north, the building incorporates a range of naturalistic elements that not only successfully fuse culture with ecology, but also promote an ongoing relationship with sustainability. While deep overhangs shade the windows from the summer’s heat, the winter’s warmth is captured and absorbed by the polished concrete floors in the central open area. The polished bluestone and quartz fragments relate a geological context while the ceiling features the irregularities you might find in a rocky outcrop. This pattern continues throughout the classrooms, representing the orderly variation of patterns we often see in nature.
Set at the foot of Mount Rowan, a sense of place is celebrated through the building’s connection with the rural landscape with its ‘shed-like’ appearance, showcasing the earth tones that envelop this setting. The use of lighter, more reflective roof sheeting not only captures the contrast of seasons but also keeps the building cooler during the warmer months. The avoidance of windows in the east and west elevations complements this.
Ballarat Grammar has a long-term commitment to becoming carbon positive. With a focus on using renewable energy resources, solar hot water has been installed and provision for solar power has been incorporated into the building design. Energy efficient cooling and heating systems are a feature with slab heating fuelled by a wood fired boiler and slow combustion stove. To minimise resource consumption, additional insulation has been added in the walls, ceilings and floors. Once again the external sustains the internal, with carbon offsetting being addressed through an ongoing tree-planting program on the campus.
Efficient temperature control has been achieved through the building’s east/west axis, offset by a few degrees to minimise the impact of direct sunlight on the windows between October and March. Natural ventilation also contributes to cooling through the use of automated louvres in the central space. Hot air is expelled during warmer months using the flow of cooler air from the classrooms. Adjustable louvres in the classrooms regulate light levels, diffusing direct sunlight from windows and rooms. Extending across the southern and northern aspects, double glazed windows bring the extensive views and vistas within, promoting a compatible relationship with local habitat and ecosystems. The psychological and cognitive benefits of natural lighting and ventilation are well documented, as is the rich intrinsic value of natural world scenes.
The visible presence of water also plays an essential role in the external and internal design. A large tank for the collection and reuse of rainwater acts as a visible reminder of this limited resource. Further water collection has been achieved by directing local run-off to supply an extensive wetland area. This area will not only provide a habitat for local wildlife, including frogs, birds and small mammals, but a place of rich aesthetic value for the School Community to utilise and appreciate. Our attraction to beauty within nature is thought to be one of the strongest predispositions of the human species, provoking curiosity, imagination, creativity, exploration and problem solving scenarios.
Water as a unifying natural element has been drawn on through the integrated design experience of a symbolic river flowing through the building, weaving its way to the wetlands connecting all aspects of the landscape. This river not only reminds us of life’s essence, but is also a local representation of the Burrumbeet creek, generating a ‘spirit of place’.
The Agricultural and Environmental Learning Centre at Mount Rowan sets a new standard in place-based learning, with both the building and its surrounds offering outstanding opportunities for experiential environmental education.