The vision we have for The Retreat, our rural campus in Kangaroo Valley, is to ensure every child, every year has an opportunity to learn in this pristine peaceful natural environment. Most of our students have visited The Retreat this year, and they will continue to spend time there from preschool to graduation.
Recently, students in Year 5 spent time at The Retreat and created poetry inspired by their experiences there. Mrs Weir and Mr Holmes’ classes created collections of poems about how Kangaroo Valley made them feel and shared them with our Principal Ms Colnan.
Moved by their poems, Ms Colnan visited the classes to let each student know about the phrases and stanzas that resonated most with her and connected what they had written with one of the most renowned Australian bush poems, Banjo Paterson’s Clancy of The Overflow. They read it aloud and explored Patterson’s wistful poem about Clancy who lives a free and adventurous life droving in Queensland as imagined by the poet – a desk-bound, city-dwelling office worker who day-dreams about whether he and Clancy might exchange their lives.
“And I somehow fancy that I’d like to change with Clancy,
Like to take a turn at droving where the seasons come and go,
While he faced the round eternal of the cashbook and the journal –
But I doubt he’d suit the office, Clancy, of “The Overflow”.
Our city-dwelling students certainly saw some similarities as they re-examined their own poems about how it feels to imagine a rural existence against the backdrop of their love of all that living in the city gives them.
Ms Colnan loves teaching English and believes in the power of reading poems aloud and experiencing the rhythms and meanings of a text with a class. While Ms Colnan currently teaches Year 12 English Extension 2, she enjoys taking the opportunity to share her love of poetry and literature with students of all ages at IGS.
We want to thank Mrs Weir and Mr Holmes for their students’ wonderful, evocative work and Ms Colnan for providing this meaningful and memorable learning experience for Year 5 Red and Green.