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Breath life into history: Cockatoo Island’s engaging education programs (blog)

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5 min read
When it comes to learning about history, textbooks and classroom discussions can only take students so far. Further, students often feel history is too far removed from their daily lives to be relevant and, as many teachers know, explaining the enduring impact of history on today’s society is challenging.

By visiting historic destinations, such as Cockatoo Island / Wareamah, teachers can help their students connect with history in a meaningful way. Students can complement their classroom learning and embark on a journey that brings history to life.

Keep reading to discover 4 key benefits of exploring historic places:

1. Establishing a tangible connection to the past

History becomes more than just dates and facts when students explore a historic destination like Cockatoo Island. For example, encountering landmarks from the island’s UNESCO World Heritage Listed Convict Site (1839-1869) and shipyard (1857-1991) will assist students to visualise what life was like in the past. By establishing a tangible connection with the island’s history, students will grow more invested in the people, events and stories that shaped our nation.

2. Active participation in learning

When students explore historic destinations, they become active participants in their own learning journey – especially if a knowledgeable guide is on hand to provide scaffolding. Encouraged to ask questions, make connections and engage in historical inquiry, students develop critical thinking skills and a deeper understanding of the subject matter. As they journey through Cockatoo Island's historical precincts, students will become historians, unravelling the mysteries of the past and uncovering hidden narratives that textbooks alone cannot convey.

3. Appreciating the Legacy of the Past

By witnessing firsthand the remnants of past events and the lasting impact they had on society, students develop a profound appreciation for the legacy of historical events. Cockatoo Island provides a unique opportunity for students to reflect on the struggles, triumphs, and contributions of those who came before us. Understanding the continued relevance of historical events becomes easier when students see how they have shaped our present and continue to influence our future.

4. Enriching the study of history

The study of history is elevated when students engage directly with the spaces and stories that shaped it. Cockatoo Island's engaging and interactive education program complements and extends on what students have learned in the classroom. Whether it's exploring the former shipyard that played a significant role in the defence of Australia or delving into the hardships faced by convicts, students will gain a deeper appreciation for the complexities and nuances of history. The island serves as an immersive classroom where stories come alive.

Are you ready for your students to see history come alive like never before? Book one of our 90-minute stage-specific education programs at Cockatoo Island!

Plus: Why not make the most of your visit by extending your excursion with a stay in our waterfront campground? We offer schools 3 camping options, catering for different needs and preferences.


Helpful links

Looking to learn more about Cockatoo Island? Here are some useful links.