I recently enjoyed a day with a group of Spanish teachers from Catalonia looking at Maths in the Outdoors, including a trip to the beach. They were over in England finding out about Maths teaching in Primary and Secondary Schools. It was good hear that both the primary and secondary schools represented were already committed to outdoor learning in maths as a way of giving their students the opportunity to apply their learning in ‘real life’ situations. My thanks to Ian Blackwell for giving me the opportunity to work with him on this project.
This is a new course at a venue I have used before. (Cockington Court – Torbay)
Teaching and Learning Outside the Classroom
This course is designed for school and curriculum leaders, and teachers keen to promote outdoor teaching and learning in their school.
It will give them tools and ideas to return to school to lead initiatives with their own class and to improve the learning experience for children across the school.
The value of outdoor teaching and learning is increasingly backed by research and promoted by OFSTED and much appreciated by parents (including prospective parents) and children.
By the end of the day participants will have
- A better understanding of the value and benefits of outdoor learning, shared their own practice and made new contacts with like-minded people
- Ideas that work (Maths, Science, Literacy)
- Experienced lesson planning in a workshop setting
- Considered ways to effectively influence colleagues
- Will leave with a straightforward, manageable plan to present to school leaders
Participants will also have had an opportunity to
- Review current practice
- Consider the place and effectiveness of residential experience
- Looked briefly at issues of risk management
- Look at innovative ways to use P.E. premium funding for all age groups
N.B. As you might expect, unless the weather is bad, parts of the day will be spent outside and in the woods!
Delighted to be working with Berry Pomeroy Primary School to develop a programme of ‘Adventure walks’
During the day there will be time for children to explore their surroundings, paddle in streams clamber over fallen trees, run and jump. We think that this is an exciting way to look at the PE curriculum. Children will be building their stamina, co-ordination, strength and balance all while having a great time in a natural environment. They will also learn something about the plants, wildlife and local history and of course themselves.
I have just this week re-joined the ‘Moorland Guides’ organisation and am looking forward to accepting opportunities to work with schools, adults and international students. It will also give me the opportunity to advertise my ‘Playwalks’, ‘curriculum- themed’ walks and family walks to a wider audience. The website can be found at www.moorlandguides.co.uk
The comments below are from staff and children at Shakespeare Primary School in Plymouth following their year 6 visit to Bellever on Dartmoor for a ‘Play walk’; their 3rd ‘Great Day Out’. To book contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Staff Comments: Leadership: David is highly knowledgeable and experienced both with children and in the moorland setting. Working with him inspires confidence and enthusiasm for getting out of the classroom with large groups of children. His flexibility and willingness to match subject content and opportunities to the needs of the group has led to our annual GREAT DAY OUT with year 6 pupils being a memorable and educationally valuable at the end of an intense year of learning.
Relationships with staff and children are excellent: The children relate well to David and he to them, he inspires, motivates and values all individuals. They always have a wonderful time and reflect with positivity on their day out.
All staff have fed back positively following annual walks on Dartmoor, enjoying the time out in the natural environment and learning about the moorland habitat and heritage.
The trip was great especially the blueberries (whortleberries) and wild strawberries!
It was amazing because we saw where bronze age people lived.
The trip was amazing: I loved the view from the tor – I would love to go again.
It was the best trip I’ve ever been on!
Dartmoor was EPIC! I would do it again.
I thought it was fun because we saw prehistoric houses and tombs and found things we could eat!
You can get two of your five a day. The berries tasted amazing!
The best day EVER!
It was a fun filled day with lots of things to learn, do and find.
The trip was tremendous. My favourite part was climbing the tor.
I enjoyed it because I learned new things and had fun,
When we climbed Bellever Tor I was flabbergasted.
The best trip EVER. Can we go again?
The best trip we have been on; it was an amazing day.
If you would like to consider a ‘Guided Play Walk’ for your Year 6 post SATs or indeed any kS2 Year group any time. Please get in touch at email@example.com and I will contact you to discuss details and dates
N.B. Other Moorland, Coast and Woodland venues are available!
I am currently putting together packages for schools to address specific National Curriculum requirements for Key stage 2 History and Geography. All the below can be brought to life during a day visit to Dartmoor lead by a knowledgeable teacher/guide. (O.k. I mean me!)
History: 2/1.1 Pre-Roman Britain: Pupils should be taught about changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age
- a. late Neolithic hunter-gatherers and early farmers
- b. Bronze Age religion, technology and travel
- c. Iron Age hill forts: tribal kingdoms, farming, art and culture
Geography: 2/1.4 Geographical Skills and Fieldwork
- Geography 2/1.4b use the 8 points of a compass, 4 and 6-figure grid references, symbols and key (including the use of Ordnance Survey maps) to build their knowledge of the United Kingdom and the wider world
At a meeting this morning I sat next to Helen Brown from the Forestry Commission based at their Centre on Haldon Hill near Exeter. Thinking about the ‘play walks’ I offer and my previous post relating to children of the Bronze age, it was not long before I was mulling over something similar for Haldon Forest. A chance for children to think about and immerse themselves through free play and role play into the life of a Forest child (including learning important lessons for life and survival).
I regularly lead Walks in the Bellever area on Central Dartmoor which include open moorland and time in the Forest. But Haldon offers the opportunity of more of a forest focus within easy reach of schools from Exeter and much of Devon. Although I am familiar with the area, my plan is to spend time there over the next few weeks to plan routes which can include time for uninterrupted play opportunities as well as learning about the ecology and management of the forest.
Watch this space! (No cliches on this site)
O.k. I don’t mean Egyptians, but there were people living on Dartmoor building their own monuments while the pyramids were being erected in the valley of the Nile. We are realising that these Dartmoor dwellers, emerging from the neolithic into the bronze age, were a sophisticated people with trade stretching into Europe and maybe beyond.
It is not hard to imagine similarities between us when we have photographic evidence and film of people in, to us, remote parts of the world living hunter gatherer, or pastoral lives without the benefit of the technology advances we enjoy.
But what about the children? All the evidence suggests that play was at the heart of their development, they played to learn. We see it not just in humans but in all the higher order mammals. How did those children learn to to become hunters or farmers or light fires or build a waterproof shelter? How did they learn what they were capable of physically, to run, to jump, to throw?
If you want a glimpse into the lives of those children give your children the opportunity for extended play in wild areas, see how they test themselves, support each other, explore, invent games, develop skills.
I attended this annual conference for the first time on Friday last week. Organised by DESWG (WG=Working Group) of which I recently became a ‘member’. I use the term loosely as I haven’t yet been able to attend a meeting. However I had a very enjoyable day. Interesting workshops, discussion groups and plenty of time for networking, with the bonus of the legendary Buckfast Abbey conference Centre lunch. There were a good number of schools represented and a large number of organisations providing related services and support to schools.
This link will take you to the DESWG page of the Natural Devon website for more information.
This took place earlier today and, as always, provided an interesting and enjoyable networking opportunity as well as a chance to catch up with various moor-based projects. I’m looking forward to following up some of the contacts made. If you are interested in attending this annual event in future then contact Orlando at the National Park offices at Parke n.r. Bovey Tracey.