Mackenzie College students venture into a host of activities
Mackenzie College students participate in their semester learning activities, here on the Alps 2 Ocean mountain bike trail.
Mackenzie College students left the classroom for a few days this week to take part in a series of activities.
Students could choose to participate in surf kayaking in Kakanui, mountain biking on sections of the Alpes 2 Océans trail, sailing on Lake Ophua, horseback riding at the Fairlie A&P fairgrounds, a scrapping challenge (metalwork/ engineering), filmmaking, 3D animation, stop-motion animation and others.
Principal Jason Reid said the three-day learning events are held twice a year at Fairlie School.
He said almost all activities are open to students of all ages, except surf kayaking, which is considered high-risk and only open to outdoor activities and physical education students.
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“One of the most exciting things we have this time around is sailing on Lake Opuha. It’s quite special as a charitable trust from Christchurch is bringing down yachts,” he said.
Some activities are curriculum-based, which earns students credit, while others are interest-based.
Reid said he wasn’t sure how long the learning events would be at the College, but said the program was in place when he arrived at the school seven years ago.
The school frequently consults with students about the semester event and constantly receives feedback that it’s “the best thing ever”, he said.
Reid said the two events are even prompting some students, who might otherwise leave, to stay in school until the end of the first and third term.
Reid led an activity teaching students to create 3D props for games and movies using open source software.
He said the activities are all designed to include a learning objective, but he said they also want to enrich students’ lives by doing something “a little different”.
“They are already very good at attendance and participation, as well as physical activity, and we believe the events encourage some children who want to throw in the towel academically to stay until the end of the first and third trimester.
He said the size of the school, which has less than 200 students, can have advantages, such as “[making] decisions that would take a little longer to implement if you were a bigger school.”
But he added that the small has limitations, such as the amount of extra work staff have to take on that would normally be spread over many more teachers.
As for help with learning events, Reid said parents were very happy to come on board, and even with the vaccine pass requirement still in place, they had no problem finding fully vaccinated parents to participate.