What is the Enhanced Learning Program all about?

Have you heard about Santa Maria College’s unique Enhanced Learning Program? We interviewed Deputy Principal – Teaching & Learning, Simone Sawiris, about the program and here is what she had to say.

What is the purpose of the Enhanced Learning Program?

The purpose is to extend our girls learning beyond the classroom curriculum and to give them ways to explore things that are a little bit different from what we do every day in class in a more authentic way.

What are the social learning outcomes of the program?

Many of our programs rely on girls working collaboratively. So being able to work as a team and problem-solve collectively is really important. But also, developing compassion and empathy for others is a big focus. Being able to identify where there is a need in society, and then to come up with a solution that might help to improve the situation for a lot of people.

What are the greatest benefits?

Having our girls explore an area that they’re passionate about and allowing them to find ways to make a difference, for example, in the lives of others or even create a more positive impact environmentally. The ability to identify, from within their own families and society, the opportunity to make things better, but also to look at things more globally. This enables them to feel more connected to what’s happening outside of school and their daily lives. These are the benefits they see in terms of a big picture, but the girls also gain confidence and the ability to think critically. They have the opportunity to explore and imagine how things could be different if they could make a difference in the world.

How does this learning connect to real life?

Each of our Enhanced Learning Programs has several Connecting Learning to Life attributes that we try to focus on. While many of them will have those ideas of problem-solving, critical thinking and communication, some of them are more about the individual and following their area of interest. Other programs are more collaborative, so the team has to solve a problem or come up with a solution. We have designed each program to have a slightly different focus. 

Year 5 – Fearless5

  • Fearless5 is about problem solving. It is designed to develop courageous and resilient learners who take risks, learn from their failures and show initiative in their learning. Students experiment with, and find, new ways to design and create set projects. They evaluate their choices, modify their designs and use design-thinking processes to develop skills in reflective problem solving. 

Year 6 – Spark6

  • This program is part of the Digital Technology curriculum. It is aimed at developing creative, critical thinkers who can use initiative to design and develop new ideas, critique their work and justify their results. Students use a range of technologies and software to help them explore their world, create animations and build models. 

Year 7 – Seek7

  • This four-day learning experience aims to stimulate curiosity and encourage the exploration of ideas in a structured process to answer today’s big questions. Students participate in workshops and develop strategies to collaborate, analyse information, solve problems effectively and to support sustainability and stewardship.

Year 8 – Explore8

  • Year 8 students are immersed in this cross-curricular program for up to two weeks. The focus is curiosity, problem solving, initiative and creativity. Students engage with guest speakers and the design thinking process. They develop a personal project where they innovate to create a solution to a problem they identify in our community. The culmination of Explore8 is an exhibition of each student’s project. 

Year 9 – Strive 9

  • Strive9 is a Homeroom based Social Action project. The key element of this program is ‘action’, with students sharing their gifts and talents to make a difference in the world. It is about students acknowledging their role in their local and global communities and embracing the opportunity to act collaboratively to make a difference. 

Year 10 – Future10

  • Future10 is designed to equip our Year 10 students with valuable skills for the future, particularly financial literacy. External presenters discuss a range of financial concepts, including smart spending, credit, risk and return and budgeting. Additional workshops include topics such as finding your purpose, embracing new opportunities and wellbeing. This final Enhanced Learning Program has a focus on celebrating the end of Year 10 and looking forward with confidence to Years 11 and 12. 

Our Enhanced Learning Programs is one of our points of difference at Santa Maria College.  It is unique, and it provides our students with hands-on experience utilising the critical skills, we believe, will be required in the future

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