This paper critically analyzes a community collaborative approach for implementing Health and Physical Education (HPE) lessons within Gippsland primary schools (Victoria, Australia). The rural community collaborations reflected upon are embedded within the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) ‘School Centres for Teaching Excellence’ (SCTE) initiative and are timely with the current curriculum reform in Health and Physical Education. The purpose of this paper is to reflect on and share the experiential learning offered where the curriculum is relevant, engaging, contemporary, physically active, enjoyable and developmentally appropriate for all stakeholders; namely university pre-service teachers, primary school children and primary teachers. It is envisaged that through sharing the various dynamics involved in a SCTE program, educators may benefit and subsequently consider the suitability and possibility of establishing similar collaborations within their context.
Monash University (Gippsland campus) is situated in Churchill, Latrobe Valley, located in central Gippsland, eastern Victoria. A large percentage of the Gippsland region comprises of a socio-economically disadvantaged population (Figure 1). In Semester One, 2011 as part of the Bachelor of Primary Education course at Monash, it was decided that a pathway be created to achieve these national ideals and goals through the implementation of swimming and water safety education in Primary schools. Swimming and water safety education represents the specific curriculum to be implemented in rural schools, it is representative of any aspect of the curriculum to be delivered. This paper comprises a narrative memoir by the author of his involvement in the pathway and subsequently the paper sheds light on the barriers, benefits and strategies for implementing such policies in practice.