Building the roots to success

The academic programme at Timbertop is the bedrock upon which challenge, success and resilience is built. Whilst the isolation of our community, life in Units and the outdoor programme stand out in the minds of anyone who has heard of Timbertop, the academic programme is where our students put their perseverance, creativity and courage to the test each day. Alongside the multifaceted physical and pastoral programmes, for four and a half days a week, students are involved in a full Year 9 academic programme led by dedicated and enthusiastic staff who are focused on instilling a love of learning, curiosity and confidence in every student.

Core subjects

The opportunities afforded to students in the English classroom at Timbertop are aimed to equip them with the language and forms to express their unique experiences and perspectives.

Through a study of poetry, short stories, contemporary media, drama and a novel, students explore and reflect on their personal understanding of the world gained from interpreting various representations of life matters in texts. We place emphasis on creating a community of inquiry through literature examination and analysis, argumentative and persuasive writing, group discussion, oral presentation, and peer review.

The Mathematics curriculum offers students the opportunity of added enrichment within the course of each topic. Throughout the year students will consolidate and develop their numerical knowledge and work towards more complex applications in problem solving situations. Creative learning activities are embedded throughout the course with opportunities for both individual and collaborative learning.

Students are expected to attain an appropriate level of achievement in measurement, Pythagoras and trigonometry, indices and scientific notation, linear equations and relations, algebraic techniques, introduction to quadratic equations and graphs, probability and statistics.

The study of Science at Timbertop encourages students to better understand and explain the world around them, often drawing from actual experiences on campus. Students are encouraged to work scientifically by using a range of methods to collect, manipulate and present data in appropriate ways, draw conclusions and relate them to the aims of the investigation.

The Study of Religion and Spirituality (SRS) has been developed to encourage both an objective and sympathetic study of religion and spirituality, in particular to look at the beliefs, practices and experience of the Christian faith and to deepen the students’ knowledge and appreciation of faith and spirituality in an Anglican context. Students are also encouraged to assess the place of religion, spirituality and personal faith in the overall setting of the Timbertop year.

‘The Making of the Modern World (1750-1918)’ is compulsory for all Year 9 students. ‘Power in the 20th and 21st Centuries’ is offered as an elective.

Both courses aim to impart knowledge and understanding, in addition to the development of skills used in the process of historical inquiry. Significant emphasis is placed upon independent study skills through the promotion of varied research methodologies.

Positive Education is embedded throughout the Timbertop programme. The six pillars for living a flourishing life, which are taught explicitly, are: Positive Purpose, Positive Emotions, Positive Accomplishment, Positive Health, Positive Relationships, and Positive Meaning. Students discover their signature character strengths which in turn increases their self-awareness. Students focus on topics such as diversity, sleep, gratitude, active constructive responding and teamwork. Students gain a conceptual understanding in classes, but importantly have many opportunities to practise the application of this knowledge in their daily lives at Timbertop.

Outdoor activities are integral to the experience of Timbertop. It is a year long programme, and provides experiences are fundamental to presenting new challenges and helping students to discover their potential. In many ways the year at Timbertop is a year of journey and our experiences in the outdoors are a literal foundation for this.


Elective Subjects

Our campus includes 200 hectares of farming land and is well-suited to provide students with an exciting introduction to a diverse range of agricultural studies. Students develop their theoretical knowledge and practical skills by their involvement with the School’s Murray Grey beef cattle, prime lamb enterprise and other working aspects of the Timbertop farm.

The nature of the studies and fieldwork will depend on whether the student completes Semester 1 or Semester 2, and the operations occurring during that season. In both semesters, students will study sustainable agriculture practices, basic economics, pasture and land management, animal production including animal husbandry, reproduction and digestion. The subject places strong emphasis on practical learning and creative education, giving students the opportunity to work in the field on every possible occasion and exposing them to a range of practical skills, ethical decisions and problem-solving experiences in this unique environment.

Health and Physical Education encompasses sport education, fitness testing and evaluation, running technique analysis, and basic human physiology focusing on the body’s response to exercise.

Over the course of the year, students improve their co-ordination, fine and gross motor skills and their knowledge of game sense whilst participating in a broad range of activities, including waterpolo, netball, ultimate frisbee, touch football and a range of modified games. Students will also evaluate the Timbertop physical programme, looking at the physiological changes to their bodies as they increase their cardiovascular fitness, strength and endurance. To conclude, students focus on relationship wellbeing by reflecting on their unique living arrangements within the Unit.

Elective History focuses on the people and events that played a role in shaping the modern world. A focus is placed on the context of each period of time and the legacy which historical figures and events left behind. A study of the political compass and some of the major ideological ideas of the time, aids in understanding the views and opinions of important individuals from the 20th and 21st century. Following the investigation of a significant person in history, students turn their attention to some major events: the fateful sinking of the Titanic, the Great Depression, the Cold War and the September 11 terrorist attacks.

This subject takes full advantage of the beautiful natural setting of Timbertop, with students exploring a variety of media including drawing, ink, solar printing, stencil work and painting in both watercolours and acrylic. Through the study of artists and their works, students are taught the elements of art and how to use technical terms to analyse and appreciate works of art. The rules of perspective are taught, as are the basic principles of colour, tone and hue. Several pieces are completed during the semester including landscapes, portraiture, still life and the design of a logo. In all these projects, the use of a visual diary is a vital component of the planning and exploratory process. Students are encouraged to assess their own completed art works and reflect upon the development stages involved.

Semester 1 focuses on the physical Geography of the local environment whilst encouraging individual inquiry and development of individual geographical skills. Students learn to understand how Bushfires start and the effect fire has on natural environments.

In second semester, students study geographies of interconnections, focusing on how people, through their choices and actions, are connected to places throughout the world in a variety of ways, and how these connections help to make and change places and their environments. Students examine the various ways that corporations do, or do not, contribute to global social wellbeing and environmental sustainability, culminating in a creative design project for a sustainable building on campus.

Students must be enrolled in private instrumental/vocal tuition to participate in music as an elective subject. In this course there is an emphasis on practical studies. Students are formed into groups to play or sing in small ensembles, as well as developing solo performance. There is some time for individual practice during class. Musicians who wish to keep developing their music skills, especially if they intend to take music as a subject in Senior School, are encouraged to consider this elective.

Other areas covered include aural comprehension, theory, creative organisation and a broad overview of the history of music.

The Japanese programme  requires that students have some prior knowledge of the language, in particular, both Hiragana and Katakana scripts. During the Timbertop year, the four macro skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing are given equal attention in class activities and assessment. Learning about the culture of Japan is an integral part of each topic covered, with key topics including: school life and time, locations and the Timbertop campus, Hiroshima and Japanese history, seasons and events.

Elective German is designed for students who have no prior knowledge of the language. Major topics in this course include family, appearances, school, hobbies and interests, life at Timbertop and at home. The four macro skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing are developed through a combination of engaging classroom activities, challenges, games and oral tasks, with supplementary homework tasks.

The Timbertop French course is designed for students who have received at least two prior years of French instruction, thus equipping them with sound grammatical and vocabulary knowledge. It is a course in which students continue to develop the four macro skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing in order to gather information relevant to various situations in everyday life, both at Timbertop and generally. Major thematic topics include the Timbertop programme and school life, the French-speaking world, holidays and leisure activities, as well as discussion of personal and physical attributes applying to themselves, family, and friends.

The Chinese programme at Timbertop requires that students have had a minimum of 100 hours instruction in Chinese as a second language. Students who elect to study Mandarin Chinese will continue to develop all four macro skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. By the end of the year, students will be able to comprehend short texts in Chinese related to the topics in the textbook. Students will be able to participate in simple conversations regarding everyday topics and will be able to write more extended sentence patterns, structured paragraphs and small written pieces. Language learning will always be supported by social and cultural contexts.