Fearless5: Creating a Sustainable Environment for Local Birds

What is Fearless5?

Fearless5 is the Year 5 component of Santa Maria College’s emPOWER program.

The emPOWER Program is a suite of carefully crafted, challenging learning experiences scoped and sequenced across Years 5 – 10. Each one adds to a student’s skill set and their understanding of the world beyond school.

Each year, every student participates in a learning experience designed to highlight a particular set of skills.

What was this year’s focus for Fearless5?

This year, the Year 5s explored the question ‘how might we provide a safe and sustainable environment for the local birds?’.

It was up to them what the interpretation of ‘local’ was, with some choosing Santa Maria College specifically while others created ‘one size fits all’ ideas that could go in any area. Their idea could be anything that answered the question.

Some students chose to build objects, others focused on educating people while some included a bit of both.

How is Fearless5 structured?

Fearless5 follows a design structure of ‘Engage, Explore, Develop, Present’, that builds the students’ curiosity and engagement.

Engage: The girls started the process by listening to guest speakers from the Gould League of WA and Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre. The speakers were highly passionate about the bird community.

Explore: To continue sparking their curiosities, students went bird watching at a range of locations within the College grounds and local areas – Troy Park and the Attadale foreshore, to find out just how many birds are around the school.

Develop: Students then used that data to start brainstorming and drafting ideas of how to make Santa Maria College more bird-friendly. There was a lot of trial and error in this part of the process.

Present: The final step was for the Year 5s to present their idea. This was set up like an expo for people to walk around and visit. Students made sure they had their ideas front and centre as well as information, games, and activities to teach their visitors about helping local birds. They were encouraged to present with confidence and pride after all their hard work.

What skills do students gain by completing Fearless5?

At the start of the task, teachers work with the Year 5s to define Learning4Life qualities and then break down those qualities to show what they would look like when applied. Copies of these definitions and examples are then displayed around the rooms for the students to refer to.

During the task, teachers encourage students to think about how these skills can help them. If you’re stuck, which skill do you need to use to become unstuck? If you think you’re done, which skill will help you decide with certainty?

The girls develop so many skills from this task, but the main ones are confidence and a love of learning. If they are engaged and feel good about what they are doing, that is ultimately the best outcome!

Why Fearless5?

Fearless5 allows students to use their knowledge and abilities in a practical way outside of a traditional lesson. Their days are usually filled with learning new skills and concepts, but this program provides students opportunities to learn when to apply these skills, which requires higher-order thinking and situational awareness.

It also allows students to show their learning in a way that works for them. It doesn’t matter how their information is presented, so they have a lot more ownership over the task, which empowers them to take risks and challenge themselves.

We sat down with Amber Kelly, Year 5 Teacher and Fearless5 Coordinator, to gain further insight.

“The highlight is watching the level of compassion and encouragement grow. They support each other and build one another up, so the focus becomes about helping each other succeed rather than competing to be the best.”, says Amber.

“When someone solved an issue they were having, people were congratulating them. If someone needed help, multiple people would run to help. For a moment in time, they were all united with a common goal that wasn’t impacted by friendships or abilities or competition.”, adds Amber.

Check out the video below, where students Annabel and Grace share their Fearless5 experience:

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