October 5, 2020
This week, we're taking a deep look at the Young Hero's Adventure Quest. A life coaching and nature-based learning program (designed by yours truly) for kids who don't want to spend 5 days a week stuck inside a classroom.
We cover Maths, History, Science, Geography, English, Creative Arts, PDHPE and a whole lot more, combined with life coaching principles and all done outside in the great outdoors!
Adventure Quest began way back in 2017 when I was working in a Special Assistance School called Nautilus. It was my job to come up with innovative, cross-curricula programs that would excite, inspire and engage kids in their learning. I had already run regular 'Adventure Days' in 2 other holistic programs I had designed - the Learning Centre at the Youth Hub and the Restorative Independent Student Experience (RISE) at the Tutorial Centre but at Nautilus we wanted to link learning to teachers passion areas. It was there I met a good friend of mine, Lloyd Godson (the BioSub Man!) whose resume reads something like an aquatic version of Bear Grilles!
Lloyd was the perfect partner to develop this concept. His ideas were great and he eventually won a teaching award for his amazing work on the program.
Unfortunately without the right managerial support, this and other amazing initiatives died without the proper chance to show what they could achieve. I was determined that the Adventure wouldn't end like that! So when I left that school, I decided to take the concept and extend it even further.
It's a desperate time in education. Mental health issues in young people are still on the rise and now reaching epidemic proportions. (Something I'm not sure the government has taken into consideration with the recent lockdown measures to save the elderly from Covid-19?)
1 in 7 young Australians experience a mental health condition; 1 in 14 young Australians experience anxiety disorder; suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians, accounting for more death than car accidents. And the list goes on.
Adventure Quest is about doing education differently.
It's cross-curricular, but most importantly its designed from the bottom up with the knowledge, character and practical skills needed to thrive in life in the 21st century.
It is clear that in a world of dings, pings and other non-stop notifications competing for our attention, we are letting technology have WAY to much influence on who we are and how we live. Jim Kwik in his recent book 'Limitless' describes this phenomenon as 'Digital Dementia'. Author and educational researcher Michael Fullan says trying to improve education with technology is a "wrong policy driver".
The Young Hero's Adventure Quest is a reaction against the mainstream education setting which remains on a self-destructive trajectory, despite the research and warnings.
You can get your own free copy of the program outline here!
There's so much more I want to share with you about this exciting program - let's listen...
Here's the highlights:
[01:32] Clips from this term's program highlights. Watch it from this Youtube channel.
[06:02] It's not nice to consume knowledge in a broken-up way. As human beings, we are designed to understand knowledge in context. We're designed to take it in holistically. It's meant to be blended altogether the way that it is it is in real life.
[10:29] Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell: Unpacks the mono-myth of having a blueprint of what it is to be human—the Hero's Journey.
[11:02] The Hero's Journey cycle: It starts with the status quo, then the call for an adventure, a refusal, meeting the mentor, the epic battle, or ordeal which challenges their fears, the reward, and achievement. They go back to the status quo but with a change within.
[15:48] 7 Different Levels: Seeker, Pioneer, Explorer, Ranger, Warrior, Peladon, Champion. Each stage, kids advance on a different set of criteria.
[17:45] Sections are taken from the Australian national curriculum, the stage statements produced by the NSW Educational Standards Authority. The curriculum was unpacked and embedded in the activities. The kids take on the activities in a holistic way. But it's broken up for assessment.