A trio from Bonshaw Public School are busy packing their bags this week for 12-day trip filled with beach fun, new friends and once in a lifetime excursions.
Staying in Stewart House, right by Sydney’s Curl Curl beach, Sally, Ella and Dan are nervous but excited about the program. They will have the chance to visit some of the city’s most iconic locations, including the Powerhouse Museum, Taronga Park Zoo and the peninsula known by Home and Away fans as Summer Bay.
The trio will take a dip in the Olympic Park Aquatic Centre and enjoy a ferry ride on Sydney Harbour. The weekend will be filled with cooking, craft and sporting activities.
Along with taking in all the sights and sounds, Sally, Ella and Dan will get to know other children from all over the state. For many it will be their first trip to Sydney, or even their first time away from mum and dad.
“It’s a great opportunity,” principal Krystal Magann said. “As a teacher in a small school, I think it provides the kids with the opportunity to meet other kids their own age. I’ve seen the positive results that are being provided by Stewart House in the students that return.”
Stewart House chief executive officer Graeme Philpott said the beauty of the program was that a wide mixture of country and city children visited at the same time.
“They’ll get the opportunity to, in school; not be doing reading, writing and arithmetic, but be doing social skill development and emotional regulation,” he said.
“They’ll make some friends that they keep for a good many years, by being involved with them for 12 days in a residential situation - it’s bigger than any school camp, so to speak.”
Leaving on Monday, February 13, the youngsters will take the long bus and train trip to Sydney where they will be picked up by Stewart House teachers for two weeks packed full with activities.
“The staff down there work really hard to put together a DVD for each child to bring home from their visit. So when the kids come home, we put that DVD on at school and the kids get the opportunity to talk to us about where they went and how exciting it was,” Krystal said.
Although Stewart House is a free program, Graeme thanked country principals for their efforts in fundraising to cover the travel costs, with some students even flying in from remote areas of the state.
“That’s a great fundraising effort that goes unnoticed. On behalf of Stewart House, I’d like to thank the principals for doing that for us.”