As we approach our innovative Prep for Adventure open event, staff at the Prep School have given us their thoughts on the value of adventure for young learners.
Head of Prep Mrs Wood began by quoting Friedrich Froebel, German educator and inventor of the kindergarden.
‘Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood for it alone is the
free expression of what is in the child’s soul.’
She continued: ‘Children have an eye for adventure and they tend to overcome their nerves and step into the unknown, therefore being brave and ready to learn from the get-go. During our Open Morning we wil,l be investigating Under The Sea. This will involve the children using their curiosity to explore a variety of play opportunities available in the Early Years classroom. Play allows the children to experiment with different roles, explore new ideas and develop a sense of control over their environment. They learn to collaborate, communicate, self-regulate and build upon their resilience, holistically developing the unique child. Come along to our Early Years adventure – be brave and jump in!’
Mrs Gardiner said creating curiosity in the classroom engaged learners. ‘Our session on Forensics will allow children the freedom to think for themselves and make decisions about the evidence they are facing. Once they have analysed the evidence the learner can then formulate their own conclusion.
‘Curiosity is at the heart of engaged lifelong learners. As educators we can stimulate curiosity by rewarding it, ask quality questions, notice when a student is puzzled and encourage children to explore. This will result in adults who can contribute far more in their workplace.’
Mrs Dhanak turned her attention out of doors, saying, ‘Outdoor learning is not just sport, outdoor pursuits and high-risk activities – it is taking the everyday curriculum and teaching it outside. The grounds of St Joseph’s College provide the perfect setting to facilitate this.
‘The beauty of learning outdoors is that children often do not perceive it as “learning”, yet they absorb some of their most valuable lessons there. The lack of walls means they feel less inhibited – both physically and mentally – and allows them to join up their thinking by applying it in a real life real-life‘Evidence overwhelmingly supports the fact that well plannwell-plannedlity outdoor learning experiences can have a significant impact on a learner’s personal development, including the areas of academic attainment, resilience, character formation and wellbeing. Getting pupils involved in outdoor learning is a fantastic way of setting them on a pathway to a healthy and environmentally sustainable lifestyle.’
Mrs Dhanak said the youngest children joining the College in Nursery and Reception would spend a significant amount of their time outdoors, with wellington boots and waterproofs part of our school uniform in both the Early Years Foundation Stage and Infant departments.
She quoted nursery school pioneer Margaret McMillan, who stated, ‘The widest classroom and the richest cupboard is roofed only by the sky.’
Mrs Dhanak added, ‘Children develop their social and communication skills in the Mud Kitchen as they learn to collaborate and negotiate with each other. They develop their fine and gross motor skills, spatial awareness and an understanding of mathematical concepts, such as capacity, whilst exploring and experimenting with the properties of mud. They demonstrate high levels of creativity and the only limit is their imagination.
‘Weekly welly walks provide an excellent opportunity to develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of the world in which they live. Children experience the awe and wonder of learning, such as finding a newt in the wildlife area or discovering bulbs blooming in the woods.
‘And outdoor learning does not stop when children leave the EYFS and make the transition to Year 1. We are committed to providing outdoor learning opportunities throughout the child’s learning journey in the Prep School, whether it be learning about weather and the seasons in Geography, caring for plants in the allotment as part of the Science curriculum, writing Haiku poems about Autumn leaves, or hunting for acute, obtuse and reflex angles in the branches of trees.’
Mrs Bestley and Mrs Mayne assured parents wondering where to find the perfect Prep School for their child that they need look no further.
‘We are a place that encompasses awe and wonder, providing inspiring lessons that stretch the imagination and bring children’s learning alive. We are woodland explorers, investigating nature in our extensive school grounds. We are engineers of the future, designing and problem solving. We are hard at work through exciting hands-on tasks, encouraging everyone to be their best.
‘Through our huge range of extra-curricular clubs – from trampolining and textiles to musical theatre and well-being – we cater for a wide variety of interests. The children are challenged within our family-like environment to develop perseverance and resilience.’
For those children taking part in Prep for Adventure, Mrs Bestley and Mrs Mayne asked, ‘Why not have dino-mite fun and take on the challenge of the amazing Dinosaur Scavenger Hunt! It will offer a fun-packed and exciting experience. You must be prepared to look high and low to follow the clues and have a go. Then fuel your creativity with our dinosaur printing to design your own colourful artwork.’
They explained to mums and dads, ‘These activities are a great way for learners of all ages to immerse themselves, engaging even the shyest of pupils in tangible, practical problem solving’
Mr Weaver, our menagerie keeper, was keen to promote the learning potential in close encounters with critters other than ourselves. He assured those taking part, ‘You don’t have to be born brave to exhibit courage in your life, but by taking risks in your learning you are confronting your fears about being unsuccessful. The solution to combating your biggest fears can often be facing them head on and learning to question why they exist at all. The opportunity to meet “wild beasts” during the Prep for Adventure Open Morning, will give you the chance to overcome some of society’s common learnt phobias. It is estimated that up to 15% of the UK population suffers from arachnophobia and 52% with ophidiophobia (the fear of snakes). Don’t let yourself become part of that statistic!’
Want to learn more about our Prep for Adventure Open Morning on 2 February? Contact our admissions team via our enquiry form or call 01473 694576