Learning program is on a roll
A FLEXIBLE method of schooling in which no two days are the same will be rolled out in Bowen this month to help disengaged youth re-engage with education.
The program, which is set to start on January 29, will operate as a mobile outreach service for students aged between 12 and 16.
The innovative approach to study will provide an alternative option for kids not suited to mainstream education.
"The fact that it's mobile will change things up a bit,” said Lani Stiles, who has come on board as the program's new youth worker.
"We could be operating at the front beach one day, or using community spaces like (the) PCYC or Girudala or the library.
"The idea is to make it engaging and to make them enjoy learning again, and help them achieve their goals, whether that's supporting them by getting an apprenticeship or going to university, we take a more of an individual approach to their learning.”
Ms Stiles will make up one half of a two-person team, which consists of a teacher and youth worker to facilitate the program. The program offers a practical based learning structure that focuses on literacy and numeracy, as well as social and emotional wellbeing.
Students will be transported from their house via bus five days a week to various places where they take part in learning from 9am until 2.30pm.
Ms Stiles said the idea was to plug the students back into education and the community.
"When people come into the program we want them to leave with those basic skills,” she said.
"But we understand that there is a lot more to education than that as well, so we want to identify what the student's interests are then build on that too.
"Some may be technical, others may be interested in arts or be creative thinkers ... if there is a way to appeal to their learning we will try to.”
Ms Stiles moved to Bowen to begin her career as a social worker after graduating from university in Brisbane in 2015.
She said the program would be very much based on principles and values, as well as education. "Some kids don't fit the mainstream mould, and I'm finding the more people I talk to didn't so this is another option which I think is important,” she said.
The program which is driven by Edmund Rice Education will be one of two rolled out in the area with the other to service Ayr and Home Hill.
Edmund Rice Education director Dale Murray said the institution's flexible outreach program has been supporting disengaged children for 30 years.
"We've found their engagement increases, their attendance increases. Young people feel a beneficial reconnection from our programs,” he said.
"We are grateful to the community for the level of support and we look forward to helping support young people re-engage with education in the Whitsunday region.”