Life at Howqua

Life at Howqua

For 30 years, Howqua has offered Lauriston girls the chance to challenge themselves in a unique environment. It’s a place where learning extends beyond the classroom and into real life, providing the opportunity to explore the world, form lifelong friendships and develop a strong sense of confidence and self-worth. 

The program is run in five week blocks with student returning home for gazetted ‘exeat’ long weekends. They also break for normal school holidays.

Academic Program

Despite the non-traditional learning environment, traditional academic disciplines hold an important place at Howqua.

The curriculum is designed so that students continue to build upon skills developed in Years 7 and 8. Classes in Mathematics, Science, Humanities, English, Mandarin and French continue, along with comprehensive Music and Art programs. During the year, students go on several interdisciplinary excursions such as the regional tour of north-eastern Victoria, exploring the area’s history, art and geology.

As with everything at Howqua though, teachers never miss an opportunity to tailor subjects to the spectacular and inspiring natural setting. 

Outdoor & Fitness Program

The Outdoor Program and Fitness Programs work together to help girls become adaptable, flexible, self-sufficient and equipped to deal with challenging situations. There’s a wide range of activities, including cross country and downhill skiing, mountain biking and horse riding, all of which help students learn more about themselves, their friends and the world in which they live.

Beyond the physical, girls also take classes in leadership, time management, organisation, first aid, safety, navigation, risk management and the importance of teamwork.

Underpinning the entire program is the ChANGeS Framework, developed by Dr Ian Williams of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. ChANGeS stands for challenge, activity, nature, guided experience and social immersion and together, they gradually build fitness, confidence and technical skills. 

Wellbeing Program

A big part of the Outdoor Program – and life at Howqua generally – is helping girls develop their capacity to think laterally to solve problems and build confidence in their own abilities.

We take a similar approach to pastoral care, where the teachers and House Tutors model appropriate ways of behaving, managing situations, problem solving and conflict resolution.

Vital to this in our modern age is the Howqua digital detox, where the girls give up access to social media and phones. It encourages them to value face-to-face conversations and acknowledge the way they communicate with each other. We explore concepts of what makes a friend and what real life relationships are like compared to those on social media.

At its heart, our Wellbeing Program is about gratitude. The girls are taught to take nothing for granted – be it the privilege of experiencing Howqua itself, or their families and friends.

Sustainability in Action

Student-driven environmental activities are embedded in the daily life of Howqua. Indeed, sustainability became one of the Australian Curriculum (AusVELS) cross-curriculum priorities in 2013. It shows students that they are a part of a wider world and that their actions have consequences on others.

In keeping with this, students are required to take responsibility for their actions in their Houses and are held to account for them. The girls also see and study the negative impact of human activities on the environment in their academic classes.

These rich learning opportunities empower each student with the knowledge that by sustainable action in her daily life, she can be an agent of change on a global level.

Giving Back

A big part of the Howqua experience is a girl discovering how making a conscious contribution to the community enriches herself as well as those around her.

It begins within Howqua, where immersion in the social and cultural life of the school community sees students establish meaningful relationships with peers and teachers, practice social skills and discover new ways of relating to others. Beyond Howqua, students and teachers are involved in the life of the nearby communities of Mansfield and Jamieson. The activities students participate in include:

  • Community service in local primary schools, kindergartens, aged-care facilities, the community radio station, tree planting and the Mansfield Zoo 
  • Participation in the Jamieson ANZAC Day services 
  • Performing arts and activities within the Mansfield community 
  • Involvement in the Mansfield Mothers’ Day Fun Run