After a nice weekend of excursions and learning, today was our next set of school visits. Today, we had the good fortune to visit two small schools for exceptional learners. Andale School is a very small primary school that serves children with mild to moderate learning differences. They have only three classrooms, so we split the group of our students. Nine of our students rode the tram to Andale with Kathy first where they were warmly welcomed by Ms. Marg Cotter, principal, and her staff.
Meanwhile, Gail took the other nine students on the train to visit our second school – Rossbourne. This is a secondary school which is very close to Andale, and it serves older students with mild to moderate disabilities. Mr. Linden Hearn is the principal, and again, we could not have received a warmer welcome. Rossbourne is a larger school with more students, but it is still small compared to the schools we have already visited.
After about an hour and a half visit at each school, Mr. Hearn provided a bus to allow us to switch locations – Gail’s group went to Andale while Kathy’s group went to Rossbourne. Finally, we all ended up back at Andale, where the staff and some parents provided an Australian “sausage sizzle” for us and all the students and staff outside on the playground. Grilled sausages were delicious and followed by one of the favorite Australian desserts – Lamingtons (chocolate and coconut covered sponge cake). Yum.
Our students joined in for “sports” on the playground, and Alexis demonstrated her prowess with a basketball (which is very popular in Australia) with Josh at the top of the key.
This is a picture of the whole group – all students, staff and our group. And, YouDee of course! I think the little guy in the very front row holding YouDee was more impressed with him than he was with the camera. You have to look closely to see YouDee in his lap.
After we got back from our school visit, the students had the rest of the day off, so Kathy, Stephanie and I did some ‘action research’ in one of the restaurant districts – Carlton. Stephanie had conducted a “pilot study” of restaurants where we could hold our group farewell dinner earlier in the day while we were at the schools. So, with Kathy and me in tow, we went back to collect more data (i.e., eating a real meal there) and were able to confirm Stephanie’s null hypothesis that this would be a good place for our farewell fiesta next week. The owner is a darling little Italian man who made us feel very welcome, so we’re all set.
On the way to Carlton, however, we had one more stop to make. A former UD study abroad director (who shall remain nameless) told us to make sure that while we were in Melbourne, we visited the “loo with a view”. ‘Loo’ of course, is the British and Aussie word for bathroom. So, up we elegantly glided to the 35th floor of the ritzy Sofitel Hotel in the Chanel-Prada section of Melbourne’s upscale Collins Street where we did indeed find a full length plate glass window overlooking the Melbourne skyline inside the ladies room. Here is Stephanie illustrating how close the water closet is to the view:
And, here is the view of the mighty Melbourne Cricket Ground (the MCG or “the G”) from the loo. The G is where we saw the Melbourne Demons defeat the Essendon Bombers the very first Saturday night we were here. We’re still reaping cache from attending that match when any of the locals hear that we were there!
Not the best picture in the world, but the photo was taken through plate glass at twilight.