Outdoor Learning Programme

Wed 5th February 2020 at 12.50 - 14.00

Senior teacher Duncan Barrable will bring pupils from St Leonards Junior School to explain "beach school", "behives", and "mountains"

Bees, Beaches and Mountains was the name of the presentation given to the Rotary Club of St Andrews by representatives of St Leonards School.

Duncan Barrable explained to us that he is responsible for the Outdoor Learning Programme at St Leonards School. As part of the curriculum all children at the school use the outdoors as a classroom for a part of every week whether it be with bees in the garden, on the beach, climbing a mountain or so many other activities As the children learn to work with one another on a task outside they learn how important it is to be part of a team and it has been shown that working in the natural environment encourages a child’s attention span and they often feel less stressed. While involved in their tasks outside children learn the benefits of working together while they use their initiative to investigate.

Duncan explained that Risky Play is part of their programme. Children need to be exposed to environments where they are challenged, and they need to understand fear and learn to make judgements about what is achievable.

Trips to the West or East Sands every week can involve multisensory creative tasks where they can learn so much. Lottie Taffs, Year 5 in the Junior School, told us that earlier this week she went to the beach with her class and took some rope, 2 tyres and 2 tarpaulins. They made parachutes and ran along the beach learning about wind resistance and friction.

Archie Barton, Year 7 in the Junior School, told us how he is involved with two beehives the school have named Amelia and Beatrix. He has learnt how bees pollinate and that every year we lose bee species. He told us about the life cycle of bees and said that hopefully they will be able to bottle the honey produced by the bees in the school garden.

 The children are now also growing potatoes in the gardens and are beginning to rewild a part of the school garden to encourage wildlife which on turn will attract more bees.

 Children aged 10 or 11 take part in an eight-hour mountaineering trek which is not for the fainthearted. These adventures in the mountains place the children in challenging situations. They also have trips where they camp outside after erecting their tents and building fires. One older group sail out to an island and have to fend for themselves for 24 hours.

Duncan is sure that the experiences the children learn in their outdoor activities will last a lifetime.

Iain McIver gave the vote of thanks and suggested that Lottie and Archie were the youngest people ever to give a talk to the Rotary. He thanked them and their teacher for coming to speak to us and giving us a real insight into Outdoor Learning in their school.

Our close contact with St Leonards School is rewarding for pupils and Rotarians of all ages.

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