Mount Kelly’s Shackleton Programme Encourages Learning Through Adventure


June 25, 2018 | BY Richard Lord

The programme, taken from its sister school in the UK, teaches important life lessons through a series of challenging and enriching outdoor activities

As one of the UK’s elite independent schools, Mount Kelly School emphasises academic and personal excellence, encouraging students’ development both in and out of the classroom. The new Mount Kelly School Hong Kong provides exactly the same level of rounded, holistic education—and, as in the UK, the school’s Shackleton Programme is a critical component in delivering it.

Named after legendary British polar explorer Ernest Shackleton, a hero of the great age of Antarctic exploration and famous for his survival skills in some of the most extreme conditions on the planet, the six-year programme focuses on developing students’ personal skills, in particular leadership, practical skills and teamwork.

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A partnership with Outward Bound Hong Kong, the leading experts in challenging but safe outdoor experiences, the Shackleton Programme allows students to grow as people and develop practical skills in an environment of absolute safety and security.

The programme has four key aims: to inspire a spirit of adventure among students; to develop their proficiency in outdoor activities; to instil in them the skills needed to successfully assess risks and remain safe; and to teach them that helping others, both at school and in the wider community, is its own reward.

These aims are realised through a range of structured activities, tailored by age group and becoming progressively more challenging throughout the six years of the programme.

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In Year One, for example, students’ sense of adventure is piqued by a series of activities: a trip to the Outward Bound Centre to learn water safety and take a trip on a sailboat; a day trip to learn camp crafts; and the chance to scale some low climbing walls.

Their specific skills are sharpened with a cycling proficiency course, and ongoing coaching in skills including reading the weather, route planning and navigation.

Their understanding of safety, meanwhile, is promoted by training in risk assessment, both in the class and out of it, guidance in the basics of first aid and swimming lessons. A sense of service is encouraged through beach clean-up activities on one of Hong Kong’s islands, helping to educate students about the importance of protecting the environment, as well as fundraising for the school’s chosen charity.

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See also: What Can We Learn From Finland's Education System?

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