We’ve been using our “quiet time”  over the end of last term and the beginning of this term to develop some creative new day programs and units of work for the new Geography syllabus.

The biggest change in the new syllabus is the emphasis on fieldwork – Geographical Tools and Geographical Inquiry Skills feature heavily. Given that many Primary Teachers have no formal training in this area and are far more comfortable in the air conditioned comfort of their classrooms than in the hot, sticky bush fumbling over clinometers and catching bugs and analysing Topographic Maps, we understand the dilemma. The story is no different in Secondary Schools, where only 40% of teachers teaching Geography are trained in Geography.


SO…we’re here to help! We’ve developed a suite of new Primary Geography excursions, most written as entire units with teaching programs (including pre- and post-excursion lessons) and assessment rubrics. Your Primary Students can conduct their own Geographical Inquiry into population growth and development in North West Sydney, or they can follow an Oral Map on their own Learning Journey around Brewongle (learning about Indigenous Songlines), or they can assess the impact of various human activities on our recently departed Tawny Frogmouth. The list is growing rapidly.

We’ve almost finished our new Stage 4 Geography program which engages students in a Geographical Inquiry about environmental and human processes that form and transform the Hawkesbury-Nepean River Catchment. While designed around Landforms and Landscapes, this unit can also be incorporated into Water in The World.

We’re also offering Geography PD days for school staff. Bring your whole Primary staff to Brewongle for the day and we’ll run you through some creative, stage-appropriate fieldwork techniques and programs as well as ideas to support Geography teaching and learning in the classroom.

If you’d like any support with implementing Geography into your classroom or engaging your students in Geographical Inquiry and Fieldwork Tasks, you know where we are.


Youth Eco Summit 2016

Students from across Sydney participated in our PhotoVoice workshop at YES last week. They took photos and edited them, adding an enviro message, and sent them viral! If you like these photos, please feel free to share.


Join us here at Brewongle EEC for this excellent day of Geography Professional Learning.

Tuesday 22nd of Nov 2016

This course has been designed for school leaders to increase their knowledge, skills and understandings of the new Geography syllabus. Participants will engage and learn through an inquiry based approach with interactive sessions and geographical case studies as a focus. This will be followed by a planning session.

Who:                   School leaders
Time:                  8:30 am (registration) to 3:30 pm
Cost:                   $ 77

Date:            Tuesday 22 November      @ Brewongle EEC, Sackville North.

Register with MyPL – Event ID: 138508            Closing date: 14 November

Download the flyer here: geography-flyer

Let me preface this blog by saying I feel completely out of my depth. I’ve spent the morning watching some of Australia’s best children’s authors impart their wisdom upon some of Sydney’s most talented and engaging young writers.

Sue Whiting’s was the first workshop. The students started sleepily, but within minutes, they were showing us all just why they are here. According to Sue, being a good author means:

  1. Making stuff up
  2. Being a bossy boots
  3. Being a trouble maker; and
  4. Being a problem solver.

Suddenly, the students were coming up with incredibly creative reasons why the wheelie bin was on the roof of our Earth Lab. Was it there to catch the elephant which was due to drop from the plane as it flew overhead? Or was it a nuclear weapon and we must all run?!!

THE most creative “get to know you” game I’ve ever seen had the students modeling Gus Gordon’s Herman and Rosie to write an evocative paragraph describing themselves.

Sue “showed” students how to show rather than tell the story, as she stormed into the room, slamming the door and frightening the life out of all of us. Students then had a turn, when attacked by a giant hairy spider.

While the creative juices silently flowed in Sue’s workshop, we could overhear the giggles and bursts of laughter outside from James Roy’s workshop.

I soon discovered why students in James’ workshop were laughing. His advice: In real life, be nice to people, but as a writer, don’t. This got students thinking about developing characters – not just creating characters, but developing them.

While in our historical sandstone classroom, Susanne Gervay had students enthralled. She was enthusiastically and passionately challenging the students to plan and think about fantasy.

The willingness and openness of these students astounds me. Their stories are so deep and personal, and so creative and quirky. To me, this speaks volumes about the type of environment created by the authors running the workshops. Students are usually too shy to share. Two days ago these students were complete strangers, but they are all completely aware of this ‘judgement free zone’, and are incredibly supportive and positive. So refreshing.


After a day of creativity our campers still had the energy for some night activities. Their writing and acting talents were put to the test during a performance of Fractured Fairy Tales. Very impressive results for limited preparation time! I am trying to capture everyone on film, but some of our students are a little elusive and camera shy…

Writers Camp 2016 – Day 1

Our annual ‘Writers in the Environment’ camp has begun for its 19th consecutive year. We have a lovely bunch of students from schools across Sydney who have come to soak up some creativity, nature and writing tips from Simon French (our long time writer in residence), Danielle Chew (from Barnier Public School) and our visiting authors, Susanne Gervay, James Roy and Sue Whiting.

Students enjoyed some workshops, writing time, dipnetting and a bushwalk to the river today. Looking forward to some creativity tonight with our Fractured Fairy Tales!

Have you immersed your students in nature this year? We would love to help you with your next excursion and have a range of new and existing programs in a variety of subject areas to inspire, engage and enhance the learning of your students.

As an added bonus – all visiting teachers will receive 4hrs (BOSTES registered) field work professional learning!

Our NSW Environmental Education Centres are all staffed by trained teachers who have a passion for outdoor learning and specialist skills environmental and sustainability education.

Prices listed are for Public Schools only.

Stage 1

Program Syllabus Price
Reptile Recon. Science & Tech – Natural Environment: Living World $10/student
Past in the Present History – The Past in the Present $10/student
Where is Nessy (Incursion) Science & Tech – Natural Environment: Living World Flat Day Rate – $500 (max 60 students)


Stages 2 & 3

Program Syllabus Price
Aboriginal Education History – First Contacts, Community and Remembrance $15/student (includes Aboriginal Presenter)
Aboriginal Education (Incursion) History – First Contacts, Community and Remembrance Flat Day Rate – $900 (max 90 students, includes Aboriginal Presenter) Call Brewongle for Details
Barefoot Lawrence History – First Contacts, Community and Remembrance $10/student
Tawny Tragedy Science & Tech- Natural Environment: Living World / Working Scientifically $10/student
PhotoVoice (Incursion) Visual Arts & Literacy Flat Day Rate – $500 (max 60 students)
Art in the Environment (Incursion) Creative Arts & Science & Tech: Living World Flat Day Rate – $500 (max 60 students)

In addition to our day programs and incursions, we also have camp facilities and programs for school groups.

Please phone Brewongle on 02 45 79 1136 for further information or to have one of our staff present at your staff meeting.

Are you aware of the proposed changes to the current NSW Science and Technology K-6 syllabus?

The Board of Studies (BOSTES) is proposing to re-write the syllabus from scratch. Why is this change occurring? Will it create a major headache for you in re-programming? (as some of us have just finished programs for the last ‘new’ syllabus)

Please join me in having your say about this as the Draft directions document is now up for comment:

Complete the survey here: before the end of August.

This document shows a vast change in direction from the previous syllabus and I have many questions that I hope BOSTES will answer at the next consultation meeting in Sydney. Consultation dates are via this link (many have already passed by…)

These are some of my first glance thoughts.

  • Some of the changes include a removal of sustainability and sustainable futures language. The sustainability cross-curricular priority is seemingly missing. I hope this will be re-instated.
  • Both skills of ‘working scientifically’ and ‘working technologically’ seem to be replaced by an ‘enquiry and design process’
  • The living world topic has a new focus on primary production rather than ecology.

I would strongly encourage everyone to take the time to read the document, form your own opinions and comment via the survey, or attend a consultation meeting.



Seaweek – Sept 3-11

You might not think someone from Brewongle EEC would be writing a blog post about the ocean, but like Gill (in Finding Nemo) says, “All drains lead to the ocean”. And of course, all rivers lead to the ocean…That includes our beloved Hawkesbury! Well, that and on the days I’m not teaching at Brewongle, I’m the Seaweek Coordinator for the Australian Association of Environmental Education.


Seaweek is an annual event where we all “Celebrate the Sea”. Historically, Seaweek follows a different theme every year. You’ll find an abundance of resources linked to past Seaweeks on the archived Marine Education Society of Australasia‘s website. This year, we’ve decided to do something different. In recognition of the brilliant work being done in Marine Education on a global level, we’ve themed the next 7 years of Seaweek to follow the 7 Principles of Ocean Literacy.

Put simply, Ocean Literacy means understanding the ocean’s influence on you and your influence on the ocean. The 7 Principles of Ocean Literacy are ideas scientists and educators agree everyone should understand about the ocean:

  • Principle 1: The Earth has one big ocean with many features.
  • Principle 2: The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of Earth.
  • Principle 3: The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate.
  • Principle 4: The ocean makes the Earth habitable.
  • Principle 5: The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems.
  • Principle 6: The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected.
  • Principle 7: The ocean is largely unexplored.


To kick off, the Seaweek theme this year is “The Earth has one big ocean with many features”. It’s a great opportunity for you to teach your students about the ocean. Check out the Scope and Sequence and teaching topics found on the Principle One page of the Ocean Literacy website. The concepts are laid out in a very teacher-friendly framework so you can easily see the topics for each Stage within the chosen Principle.

You might also find it useful to follow the AAEE ME (Marine Educators) Facebook group or check in on the AAEE ME website.

Enjoy Seaweek!

Kate 🙂



‘Community and Remembrance’

Fancy some excellent professional learning in term 3? Come and join us for a hands on look into the new History Syllabus – utilising our unique 1878 classroom and school site on Thursday 28th of July @ Brewongle EEC.

– Sackville Reach Public School: A Site Study

This course aims to build teacher competencies in historical inquiry utilising the unique heritage listed resource Sackville Reach Public School

Download the flyer here: Community and Remembrance – Sackville Reach Public School A Site Study