Katitjin is a term-long experiential education program, unique to Wesley. The name comes from a Nyoongar term meaning ‘to listen and to learn’ and it has become a rite of passage for all Wesley boys transitioning into a young man.
For one term in Year 8, students are taken away from the traditional classroom and into a range of challenging and inspirational environments, to explore self-awareness, team dynamics and community.
The majority of the program is based at the West Australian Rowing Club, with easy access to Perth CBD. The boys still learn maths, English and everything else you might expect – but they do it in an innovative hands-on fashion that teaches them more about their part in the world around them.
Physically and emotionally, Year 8 boys are at an age when they are going through a multitude of changes in their lives. These changes present a number of challenges, both exciting and confronting, and Katitjin helps them safely explore the notion of independence and take on greater responsibilities.
Students are encouraged to:
- Develop and nurture an understanding of self and leadership skills;
- Develop team dynamics through a variety of challenges;
- Engender greater engagement and commitment to the pursuit of learning;
- Develop an outward-looking focus through experiences linked to community service;
- Apply knowledge and skills to a real-life context.
The program uses a cross-curricular approach to learning and has the real world, community, small groups and experiential learning as its core. In real terms, this means activities ranging from independently making their way to the meeting point in the CBD, to assisting at UnitingCare West’s Tranby Day Centre for the homeless.
A feature of the program includes a photo exhibition displaying the artistic works of each boy’s interpretation of social justice in the City of Perth. Photography is used as a medium to heighten each student’s awareness of the issues and to develop their sense of empathy. Every year, the exhibition raises over $1000 for Tranby Day Centre.
Another popular activity is teaming up to design and build a raft to carry their group across the Swan River to the West Australian Rowing Club. We are also very fortunate to have a strong connection with the Indigenous community, in particular the amazing families at Morapoi, east of Kalgoorlie. The annual five-day bush camp there is always the highlight of the 10-week Katitjin journey.
Activities Katitjin students have enjoyed:
- Participation in a traditional Nyoongar welcoming ceremony
- Interviewing a senior citizen, linked to a formally assessed literacy task
- Partnering with the Food Cart Rescue Program, to collect food for UnitingCare West facilities
- Public speaking and theatrical workshops
- Sourcing and distributing clothing and blankets for homeless people in Perth
- Working with the Wheelchair Basketball Association of WA