Partnerships that make a difference – Richardson Primary School and the YWCA Canberra Clubhouse

17 January 2018

Eliza Hughes

Eliza is the Communications and Marketing Officer at YWCA Canberra

Richardson Primary School is a key partner and supporter of the YWCA Canberra Clubhouse since its establishment in 2014. We recently spoke to Richardson Primary School Principal Anna Wilson, to find out what the Clubhouse means to her, and why she believes that it’s crucial to provide opportunities for young people to collaborate, communicate, and think critically, and ensure they equipped for the jobs of the future.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m new to Richardson Primary School as of this year. Before Richardson, I was the Deputy Principal at Red Hill Primary School for eight years. The biggest difference between the two schools is the size. At Richardson, we have about 200 students with seven classes, and at Red Hill there were about 700 students with 24 classes. On my first couple of days at Richardson, I just kept looking around wondering where all the kids were!

I’ve been teaching for 22 years and began my career in NSW, teaching in a number of schools in and around the Queanbeyan area. In 2000, I came across to the ACT system as a teacher on a 5/6 class at Charles Conder Primary School. This year I realised that I’d been teaching for quite a while when I discovered that one of our lovely Richardson parents was actually a previous student of mine.

I am also a mother to four amazing humans; three boys aged 20, 11, and six, and a 13-year-old girl. My favourite meal would have to be a BBQ with a medium rare rump steak, salad, and potato bake. When I’m not at work, I keep myself busy with lots of professional reading, shopping, and learning how to become a better boxer.

What do you think is the most valuable aspect of the YWCA Canberra Clubhouse?

I think the most important aspect of the YWCA Canberra Clubhouse is that it provides our community’s young people with the opportunity to explore many aspects technology and engineering, and apply those skills to interesting problems and activities. This includes developing their artistic and creative side as well.

The Clubhouse provides a safe and stimulating environment with excellent role models. It allows our young people to experiment with being a leader, and to also help others. For our students who don’t have access to technology at home, it provides them with equipment to help them develop and refine their skills and capacity. The Clubhouse brings our young people together to experience ways to collaborate and learn.

Why do you think it’s so important to provide young people with the opportunity to develop their skills in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM)?

It’s vitally important as it’s no longer just about the three R’s. To be successful in this day and age, our young people need certain dispositions, learning, and innovation skills. Increasingly, these skills are being recognised as the skills that separate students who are prepared for increasingly complex life and work environments in the 21st century, and those who are not.

The Clubhouse provides opportunities for our young people to collaborate, communicate, and to thinking critically and creativity, as well as ensuring they are not left behind in the digital revolution as they engage with technology in a meaningful way.

What do you think are some of the most important skills that young people are gaining from their involvement in the Clubhouse?

The general capabilities that students develop through their engagement with the Clubhouse, through supported STEAM learning, allows them to practise skills in a meaningful and contextual way the following learner attributes essential for success in the 21st century.  Our young people become knowledgeable, open minded, inquirers, communicators, risk takers, and reflective thinkers through their participation in the Clubhouse.

Why do you think it’s particularly important that we see more young women taking part in programs such as this?

I think that girls’ participation in programs such as this, is a great way to smash the stereotypical idea that people involved in STEAM related occupations are male. As a principal, it warms my heart that the Clubhouse encourages broad participation, which no doubt will elevate the visibility of women in STEAM professions. It shows girls that anything is possible, and develops exceptional future female role models.

This article was first published in the November 2017 edition of the Clubhouse Newsletter. You can subscribe to this quarterly publication hereIf you would like to help us continue to make a difference to the lives of young people in the Tuggeranong region through our Clubhouse, please consider making a donation to help us sustain this important program.

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