A new $41,000 education resource package aligned with the Australian Curriculum was launched in Broome last week, enabling schools throughout the country increased access to one of the best collections on the social history of the Kimberley.
The Relationships Exhibition Educational Package (REEP) is a specialist primary education resources package available on the web to assist schools planning visits to the Relationships Exhibition at the Sisters of St John of God Heritage Centre in Broome.
Photographic Collection Officer, Helen Mary Martin, said 34 education groups from as far away as Melbourne and Perth visited the Heritage Centre last year.
Ms Martin said teachers, both local and state-wide, are becoming more aware of the unique collections on site at the Old Convent in Broome. “Just as larger museums can offer high-quality experiences, the new REEP package will allow schools to optimise their visits here.”
All student activities for Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 in REEP have been mapped to the Australian Curriculum with relevant content descriptions provided in the teaching notes. These will be downloadable from the SSJG Heritage Centre Broome website.
“It’s very exciting to increase access to the collections through the development of this professional resource. I think teachers will love it and the booklets will be very popular with students,” Ms Martin said.
REEP was launched at the Heritage Centre in Broome as part of celebrations for the Sisters of St John of God Foundation Day.
Ms Martin said that the Sisters of St John of God had been working in the Kimberley since 1907 as teachers, nurses, and carers.
“They have achieved a unique bond with the region’s multicultural groups and, in particular, with Aboriginal communities,” she said.
Ms Martin said the Relationships Exhibition, established by the Sisters in Broome, has grown significantly since it was first opened eight years ago and was very popular with both the general public and schools.
“The Relationships Exhibition provides a unique window into the history of Australia’s far North West region. The collections include many first-hand stories, a significant archive of more than 50,000 photographs, along with historical artefacts,” Ms Martin said.
“Around 25 per cent of the exhibition is updated annually, so there is something new every year,” she said.
Ms Martin said the online REEP project had taken more than a year to complete.
“Development commenced with a funding grant from the Western Australian Department of Culture and the Arts for a two-unit project but, as work progressed, the Heritage Centre made a bold decision to double the size of the project from two to four units.
“This was enabled by financial support from the Sisters of St John of God.”
The project development included input from Melbourne curriculum consultant Katie Pinchas and a major volunteer effort by three local practising educationalists.
Ms Martin said schools visiting the Heritage Centre can opt for REEP curriculum-based units of work or, alternatively, organise their own resources for self-guided tours.
“Teachers can also request non-curriculum-based activities developed by the Heritage Centre, including material for students in Years 7 and up.”
(The SSJG Heritage Centre is very grateful to Joyce Hudson, Erica Rowley, Beth Graham and Keryn Moase for their generosity in giving their time to check, tweak and refine the draft materials in readiness for presentation on the web. Photo: Supplied by SSJG Heritage Centre)