Today was our last school visit in Melbourne, and we visited Princes Hill Primary School, which is a very cute “government school” (we would know it as a public school) in one of the wealthier sections of Melbourne. The principal asked us not to take any pictures of the children, but I did get two pictures of some of the space. Every single Aussie school we have visited so far has been a one story school with very fluid and flexible barriers between the inside of the buildings and the gardens and outside of the buildings. A group of similar age classrooms will be together in one building and then you have to go outside, often under a covered walkway, to get to the next building that houses a different set of grades. So, the K-1-2 grades may be together in one building and the grades 4-5-6 may be in a different building. Here is a kitchen play area located outside the group of Kindergarten (called Preps here) and First Grade (called Year Ones) classrooms. Children were permitted to transition on their own from inside to outside and were very self-directed.
And, this school emphasized creative learning and there were costumes, art, video production equipment, and all sorts of creative resources throughout the school. These costumes were found in the Junior School (Prep – Year 3s). One little boy I stopped to talk to was working with two other children in a classroom with a huge cinematic green screen on one wall. They were working on making a movie with the iMovie program and at about 7 years old, he was quite proud of himself. He told me, “Not everyone knows how to do this, you know.”
After our school visit, Kathy, Stephanie and I went to Parliament. This is where the laws are passed for the state of Victoria, where Melbourne is located. So, this would be equivalent to our State House in Dover. Not too shabby, eh?
The building, like most of the elaborate buildings in Melbourne, was built just after gold was discovered in Victoria in the 1850’s. Melbournians wanted to show the world how rich and prosperous they were, so they pulled out all the stops in designing and adorning the new building.
This is looking up from the Queen’s Chamber and the decoration and detail on the walls and columns is real gold, mined at the time of the Victoria Gold Rush.
Again, real gold decorating the House of Commons chamber.
The above picture was taken on the House of Lords side of Parliament. Whereas the Commons side is all green (see the picture above), the Lords side is all red. The chair represents the seat for the presiding Queen of England or her designee, and the canopy overhead represents the symbols of England.