THE EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE

The Toogoolawa Program aims to:

  • Develop good character traits in the students so they can become responsible members of society;
  • Prepare students for returning to a mainstream school, attending a TAFE college, entering the workforce or moving to another alternative education site;
  • Structure the school environment so that each student succeeds much more than he fails, and comes to see all mistakes as further opportunities for learning.

The teaching methods at Toogoolawa  Schools are designed to ‘draw out from within’ the five universal Human Values (Love – Truth – Peace – Right Conduct – Non-violence) inherent in each student. For students to live full lives according to their innate Human Values, certain situational prompts and teaching methods are required.

The first and most important catalyst is the example of good character set by teachers and parents. Good role models are crucial to a student’s emotional wellbeing.

All classes and programs have a primary aim to nourish either the body, mind or heart. Many cross over from one to the other. Click the circle diagram to see these atributes.
  (click photos to enlarge)

Thought of the Week, Storytelling  – Ideal as a teaching medium for illustrating moral and ethical principles. It counters negative images held by the students and inspires desire in the student to emulate the virtues demonstrated by the characters described.


Silent Sitting – This technique, run by students, occurs before lessons. The aim is to teach students to become a master of their body and mind. The focus on being mindful develops self-awareness and self-control and is especially helpful for hyperactive students.

Quotations and Prayers – The students have weekly inspirational quotations to explore which are based on the five Human Values and, because Toogoolawa is a multi-faith environment, they recite universal prayers every day. These help the students develop a positive philosophy for living.               


Group Activities – Students apply their moral understanding to interactions with others and the environment, learn how to cooperate with others, grow in confidence and solve ethical problems.

Outdoor Activities – Opportunities are provided for students to balance their academic endeavours with outdoor activities, expend some energy and learn about teamwork, trust, friendship, and the importance of nature.

Quiet Time – Gives students an opportunity to start each day grounded and connected to themselves at a very deep level. Students realise they don’t have to create silence. Silence already exists within them. They simply enter into silence via the breath or a word.

iRest – Has been used by practitioners to assist people who have suffered trauma, attachment or PTSD. iRest complements our Quiet Time because it offers deep relaxation. Boys learn how to release negative emotions and thought patterns, calm the nervous system and develop a deep capacity to meet any and all circumstances they encounter in life.

Let Me Learn – Targets curriculum that individual boys really WANT to learn about. Let Me Learn gives staff the chance of being ‘The guide on the side’ rather than the ‘The sage on the stage’.

Community Service – Boys are given the wonderful opportunity to repay the community that supports them. Whether it is feeding the homeless, collecting rubbish from the Pimpama River or helping the intellectually disadvantaged, community service opens the heart to those less fortunate. 

Food for Families –  Thanks to a generous donation from Gary Seaton and Frances Petro, the school has commenced a partnership with Foodbank to provide preservative and sugar free food parcels to students’ families and the wider community. Our boys pack the parcels with care and distribute them with glee.

Heartmath – Students use a computer based program that provides biofeedback information that helps identify the optimal psychological state for learning performance and resilience. While in this state our brain, nervous system and other bodily systems function with increased efficiency.

Animal Welfare League – Boys work with trainers from the AWL to train dogs so they can find loving families.

Work Experience – Caring providers give eligible students the opportunity to join the workforce for one or two days a week. Boys can spend their time in mechanical workshops, theatres, home hardware centres, bike shops and have a taste of life on the other side of the counter.

Healthy Lifestyle – Toogoolawa has always provided students with a preservative and sugar free lunch. Thanks to our involvement with the Stephanie Alexander Garden Program we hope to expand our vegetable garden and shade house so we can grow a lot of the salad veggies that the boys eat for lunch.

School Gym – The boys have finally been provided with a small school gym thanks to a gaming grant from the Treasury Department. Most are extremely keen to enjoy the fruits of physical fitness.

Student Council – Students from each class are elected every term to join the student council. The boys bring up issues that are relevant to them and their classmates in a caring and sharing environment. The council gives students an opportunity to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Physical Education – Students are involved in daily physical education classes. Some students are given the opportunity to participate in BMX classes at Ashmore BMX track. Our boys participate in a weekly ‘Team UP’ program át the Beenleigh PCYC run by our fabulous volunteers Damo and Matt.

Virtues Program – The Virtues Program was honoured by The United Nations as a model program for families of all cultures. Staff use the Virtues Program in building relationships with students in the hope that our boys will role model the same virtues at home.