‘Absolutely wonderful, she hasn’t stopped talking about it.’ – Parent comment
‘He thoroughly enjoyed himself, can’t wait to go again.’ – Parent comment
The children have had a wonderful experience, many of them away from home for the first time.
Relationships were excellent and any problems were dealt with in a calm, gentle manner with children given time to reflect and make choices.
Excellent variety of activities with children given time to become absorbed.
They thoroughly enjoyed all the indoor activities which provided another aspect to being away from home as a group. The children have been singing and humming the songs you taught them and asking to play the games you taught them.
Great to see the children trying new experiences, foods and learning in such an exciting and fun way. It was a wonderful opportunity to see the class in a completely different environment
The recognition in this report of the importance of play is very encouraging, but how does this work in practice? In brief, this is how I organise exactly these opportunities on residential visits and days out. The primary aim is to maximise the time for play in the outdoor environment.
Not canoeing, rock climbing, caving (all great fun) but exploring with friends, building dams, inventing games, discovering strange plants and creatures, falling off logs. No equipment just appropriate clothing, a packed lunch, a first aid kit and clear but broadly drawn boundaries.
Why is this a challenge to the outdoor education industry? Because it’s cheap, inclusive and very enjoyable. It frees children to learn from their experience. Teachers don’t need special qualifications, they just need to be confident in what they are doing and have ‘permission’ not to weigh down the experience with a pile of overt curriculum objectives and risk elimination strategies!
So why employ someone like me? Answer: There’s no need.
However I do offer the following:
- An intimate knowledge of local environments, woodland, moor and coast; and the best places to go.
- Long experience of drawing boundaries, engaging children in understanding risk, giving clear explanations and expectations in term of acceptable behaviour, .
- Understanding when NOT to intervene, when to make an open ended suggestion or hint. When to move on or change the emphasis.
- A positive environment that encourages observation and questioning, together with a knowledge of the natural world and local history with stories to intrigue and fascinate
- The experience of children and environments to be able to adjust and be flexible according to the group, the weather and unforseen circumstances
I also, plan the whole day or residential, provide risk assessments, highlight the social and personal learning that is likely to take place. Brief staff, children and parents. Even help with budgeting and kit lists, food orders, draft letters to parents etc.
Ultimately however it is about children having a great day out in the environment; allowing many to experience for the first time the important idea that as they grow up they will be able to introduce to their own families. ‘You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have fun!’
Time to play and explore. Fantastic three beaches walk and play in Torbay. Pebbles (learn to skim stones) sand (digging and beach games) and rock pooling (crabs, starfish and more) three very different beaches all in one day.
Welcome to this new site currently promoting my work supporting primary schools in developing and running affordable, inclusive residential experiences for their children. I offer a fully managed service at very reasonable rates and am particularly interested in working with schools serving areas of deprivation or those where significant numbers of children cannot afford the current experiences offered by the school.
I am also available schools and other groups to lead guided walks on Dartmoor and the Devon coast and countryside.