New learning centre for historic school

New learning centre for historic school

The Mary MacKillop Memorial School has opened its innovative Woods Learning Centre, expanding its educational offering to the Penola community.

The new building delivers dynamic spaces for teaching science, visual and media arts and food preparation.

Established in 1866 by Australia’s first saint, Mary MacKillop, the school remains an integral part of the Penola community, through its continued tradition of delivering Catholic education in the region over the last 159 

It was Mary MacKillop and her two sisters who, with the help of local priest Father Julian Tension Woods, saw a need in the community and started a school to educate the children of Penola and the surrounding areas.

The Woods Learning Centre is part of an exciting development to expand the school’s academic offering.

Included in the development are specialised learning areas which are home to the school’s science and visual and media arts programs as well as a purpose-built kitchen, fully equipped to support the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program.

The Kitchen Garden Program provides students in Years 4-6 students with opportunities to engage in hands-on learning by cooking produce grown in the school’s veggie patch.

Mary MacKillop Memorial School principal Nicole Coote said the school re-development also saw the renovation and refurbishment of the early years space to accommodate an increased interest in the school’s playgroup and occasional care programs and to give greater capacity in the junior primary classes.

“As one of the oldest continuing Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Adelaide, we are proud to be embracing innovation whilst honouring the tradition envisioned by Saint Mary MacKillop and Father Julian Tension Woods in 1866,” she said.

“With specialist learning areas, a purpose-built kitchen and improvements to the Early Years spaces this building will benefit all students at our school.

“By creating dedicated spaces for teaching science and visual and media arts we hope to be able to offer a far greater breadth of learning opportunities for the students.

“The Veggie Patch and kitchen deliver two vital steps in our learners’ development of gross and fine motor skills through practical application. We would love to see our students go home and expand on the knowledge they have acquired here at school.”

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