Year nine students talk with residents at Crowley Village in Ballina as part of Xavier Catholic College's 'Enrichment Program'.
Year nine students talk with residents at Crowley Village in Ballina as part of Xavier Catholic College's 'Enrichment Program'.

Unique program brings students back to learning

LOOKING at issues surrounding the desensitisation of porn and body image is part of a unique Skenners Head school program.

Year nine students are being exposed to aspects of the world they may not otherwise see in a unique 'Enrichment Program' offered by Xavier Catholic College.

Each Friday, students give time to their community and make real world connections which will enhance their learning.

Year nine coordinator at Xavier, Andrea Grimster said year nine is widely acknowledged as a difficult period for students who can become disengaged and may lack motivation towards their learning.

"Research indicates that traditional models of learning and teaching are not always successfully engaging all Year 9 students and meeting their learning and developmental needs,” she said.

Within the program, students are required to visit Crowley Village in Ballina once a week for a term and engage with the residents.

From bingo to painting, the students and residents are both benefiting from the interaction.

Year nine students engage in a game of scrabble at Crowley Village in Ballina as part of Xavier Catholic College's 'Enrichment Program'.
Year nine students engage in a game of scrabble at Crowley Village in Ballina as part of Xavier Catholic College's 'Enrichment Program'.

"I have watched students document life stories, read books or simply have a chat. Playing games, music and knitting classes are other activities offered,” Ms Grimster said.

Other aspects of the program relate to the personal journey and development of each individual student.

'Girl's Squad' and 'The Men we need' are split programs that deal separately with gender specific issues teenagers face; social media and mental health are huge welfare concerns that affect students.

"Boys engage in discussions concerning healthy relationships and even the desensitisation of porn and girls focus on issues such as body image,” Ms Grimster said.

"Educational programs that can supply coping strategies or additional support to the students in need are essential at this time of their development.”

Students conduct activities on social justice and personal reflection, including looking into the Bundjalung people of the area and reflect on the history.

The program sees students rotate through four modules throughout the year and is the only one in the area; the aim of the program is to allow adolescents to become more self-aware and prepare them to enter the adult world.


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