Seven country kids get a taste of Melbourne
Edi (pronounced ee-dye) Upper Primary School sits in the hills of King Valley, 45 minutes away from Wangaratta and three hours by train from Melbourne.
There is no township, just a cluster of mostly dairy and beef farms.
The school has seven students; all taught in one room.
Of the seven students, three are six-year-old Preps, Nate, Judd and Jackson; Samual is eight in Grade 2; Jessica is nearly nine in Grade 3, 10-year-old Edward in Grade 4 and 12-year-old Hope is in Grade 6.
The seven pupils, teaching principal Clair Bradbury, and two education support staff spent four days at the Urban Camp in Parkville with the assistance of the Victorian Government’s Positive Start Program.
Ms Bradbury said the program was the only way they could afford the camp.
“Rural schools are penalised at times because we are so small; most camps will take a minimum of 15 kids,” she said.
Fortunately, Urban Camp accommodated the Edi Upper group alongside another school group of 86 Year 6 students.
Urban Camp CEO Daniel Whykes said the organisation prided itself on providing opportunities for rural schools, whether small or large.
“Often, schools would find it is challenging to arrange affordable accommodation options; that’s where Urban Camp steps in,” Mr Whykes said.
Ms Bradbury said, “two of the three Prep kids had never spent a night away from home.”
“Going on camp no matter where it is and being away from their familiar surroundings gives our kids the opportunity to experience a whole variety of new encounters,” Ms Bradbury said.
The Edi Upper group visited places like the Melbourne Museum, Melbourne Zoo, ACMI and more during the four-day camp.
Mr Whykes said he was lucky enough to be with the kids on a number of their activities.
“It was great to see them take it all in; they would not have had this chance if it wasn’t for the Positive Start Program.”
“When we arrived at the Melbourne Museum, out of the seven kids, only one had been on an escalator; the rest were terrified,” Ms Bradbury said.
A highlight of their stay was visiting Dream City, an edutainment venue for kids.
Located at DFO South Wharf, Dream City is designed for school-aged children to have an opportunity to experience the careers of the future utilising the latest industry-standard technology.
Its general manager Michelle Hortle said, “we provide a fun and interactive way to learn, with an engaging, hands-on experience for young people to explore their futures in the STEM fields.”
“One of the students asked if we had a farming pod; this is interesting in terms of how technology has and will continue to evolve in industries such as farming.”
They practised being robotic engineers for one session, doctors in a hospital nursery, and airline pilots using the simulators in a plane fuselage.
“Creating their television show was their favourite experience,” Ms Bradbury said.
“Our special needs kid was the boom operator, one of the prep kids was the camera operator, and three were presenters.”
“Jessica and Hope, who chose to be the producers, said working behind the scenes was hard getting everyone to do their work properly.”
The average group size at Dream City is 50 to 60 students.
Sara, the dream leader at the TV studio, said the Edi Upper group differed from the kids from metro Melbourne.
“They were like little sponges; it was refreshing to see the genuine excitement in their eyes; everything was new and exciting,” she said. •
Watch the show: ediupperps.vic.edu.au/TV/EDUPPSTV.mp4
Photography by TeamCreative.