Tag Archives: alternative education

How ditching the classroom boosts children’s mental health

The WWF sponsored a green schools series in the Guardian Newspaper Online. Written by Matthew Jenkin this lovely article outlines how “Getting outdoors can pay dividends in academic performance – but it also improves pupils’ concentration and confidence.”

An Excerpt of the article is posted below….

Three years ago teacher Simon Poote spotted a disused strip of land on the grounds of Long Crendon school in Aylesbury. Instead of giving over the 15-metre square lawn to recreational use, or simply ignoring it, Poote saw potential for creating an outdoor learning space for the primary’s year 1 to 6 students. The only snag was how to pay for the plot’s transformation.

“We have lots of space but not much money,” says headteacher Sue Stamp. The school therefore appealed to parents, local businesses and the community to donate everything from landfill material to create small hills, to unwanted play equipment to build a trim trail and tunnels for the children to explore. Help came thick and fast, and the area now boasts a fully equipped thatched mud kitchen and a system of pipes and pulleys to transport water around the site.

Stamp insists outdoor learning has become more than just a project for the school, “it’s a way of life” she explains. The whole ethos of the school is to be outdoors as much as possible, rain or shine, so that students of all ages also take part in forest school activities in a wooded area alongside the playing field two days a week, learning skills such as fire lighting and making charcoal, as well as being allowed to climb trees, all under supervision.

“We have seen an amazing difference in some children,” she says. “Children who just didn’t engage in the classroom suddenly come into their own when they get outside.” Students who are less academically inclined gain in confidence and Stamp claims she has seen them step up as leaders in practical group activities for the first time.

Read full article here >>

Outdoor Camp Routine Ideas

http://www.theguelphoutdoorschool.com/core-routines.html

http://toes.tdsb.on.ca/day/forest_valley/programs/index.asp

Group Games: Choose from a variety of classic games including Prisoner´s Base, Mission Impossible, Royal Roll and more.

Fire Building & Outdoor Cooking: Hands on learning will allow students to learn how to build a successful fire using products of nature. Students will try their hands at some simple over-the-fire cooking recipes including bannock while learning some basics about survival: what is edible and what to avoid.

Survival: From shelter building to basic survival skills students will learn some tips on how to survive in the wild.

Team Development Activities: Teams of students work together to accomplish goals and establish teamwork. Activities include the human knot, trust fall, etc.

Scavenger Hunt: Becoming more aware of the nature surrounding us, small groups of students race around to find a list of objects from nature.

Quinzee or Igloo Building (Winter only): Learn basic techniques and design of quinzee or igloo building. An opportunity to construct your own winter getaway!

Ropes Course: Put yourself to the challenge swinging over the creek on the Tarzan Rope and trying our low obstacle course including the Burma Bridge and the Three-Line Bridge.