Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Outdoor Fun with School

Posted by Rosie

In France it is not half term this week.  In fact the boys have only been back to school after their very late Easter holidays for 2 weeks ago and they break up for Summer in early July so there really isn't time. That said, Ben who is still at primary school isn't doing any actual school work this week:

Ben the Archer
Yesterday and today he is on a 2 day school trip to the Outdoor Adventure Centre at Clécy*, just down the road from us.  For a small school with under 60 pupils they mange to arrange a good number of trips and whilst both boys enjoyed Futuroscope and Les Puits du Fou, I can safely say that this trip is the one Ben has been most excited about.  And why wouldn't he be as it is right up his street?  Kayaking, rock climbing, archery etc are all things he has done and adores!  Oh and camping out last night.  Yup, he left a happy chappy on Monday morning!

I really do think that all school children should have the opportunity to do things like this.  Of course everyone needs to learn how to read, write and do their numbers but children also need to learn other skills and perhaps do something that is completely new to them and perhaps out of their comfort zone.  I know several children going on this trip who would never otherwise have the chance to try out these activities.  This is such a great opportunity for them. 


Via Ferrata at Clécy - Ben is really hoping they do this during his trip

The school has also secured finding for Ben's class to go horse riding for 6 mornings this term - again, another opportunity to learn something new, maybe overcome some fears and achieve in something non-academic.

Ben gets back this evening and as he is still in primary school there is no school tomorrow, Wednesday.  Thursday is one of the many Bank Holidays France has at this time of year.  This one, celebrating Ascension Day, always falls on a Thursday and some schools chose to give the pupils Friday off to make Le Pont - the Bridge or long week-end.  Not this year though but on Friday Ben will be visiting his secondary school where he will start next term.  That just  leaves Friday afternoon and that is swimming!

So, a week at school, with lots of learning, but very little of it sat at a desk!

Whilst I would not wish his entire primary timetable to be like this I am very happy to see Ben's school providing non-academic activities as well as classroom learning.  It puts across the message that learning is not just about facts and figures, books and computers but also about getting out and about in the real world.  It may well give the chance for a child who never attains top marks in academic tests to really shine for once ... and maybe the most academic of children might find this a bit of a struggle.  Life isn't one long line of easy to achieve goals, some things have to be fought for and worked hard at.  Learning how to achieve at something that does not come naturally is a valuable life skill.  Therefore giving children this chance at outdoor learning can, in my opinion, only be of benefit to everyone.

Do you agree?  Should schools be taking children out of the classroom more or should they purely  concentrate on academic learning?  Do drop us a comment with your views.


Ben kaying at Clécy
* We are about 20 minutes from Clécy where there is a huge range of outdoor activities on offer - kayaking, rock climbing, paragliding, cycling, walking and horse riding.  An ideal location for people who like a bit of thrill seeking on their holidays! 

  photo letkidsbekidslogobadge_zps424b7d61.jpg

17 comments :

  1. This sounds brilliant and I absolutely agree that a mix with this type of learning included is hugely beneficial to children. What a fantastic experience for him. #LetKidsBeKids

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    1. It certainly was a fantastic experience and such a great way to learn so many new skills.

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  2. Sounds fantastic - and as you say, many children never get to do this with their families, so it is invaluable. It might even result in a family trying something new together, which has even more benefits to the community at large.

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  3. I agree with this! Going out and doing such activity are good for kids. They move, experience nature and learn so much more because they are using more senses while doing these sports. Variation of learning process is good as it give the brain a break from a normal classroom learning. Sorry I'm saying too much. I just want to say that as a kid if i'm doing this I would've enjoyed school more. #LetKidsBeKids

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    1. You are not saying too much and what you say is right - something like this can make school so much more enjoyable which helps pupils to be in a better frame of mind to learn.

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  4. I agree, children should get to experience more outdoor pursuits, give them a chance to find something that they like. Not everyone is good at reading/writing/maths or school sports. It opens their eyes more to the world.
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsbeKids

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  5. This is so true and important - there's lots to be said for inspiring and challenged children outside the classroom as well as in. I agree wholeheartedly. #letkidsbekids

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    1. Inspiring and challenging is something all children need and this is a great way to achieve this.

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  6. Oh how I wish our school would offer something like this! Sounds like your son is in for a treat.

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    1. Maybe you should suggest it to them Linda.

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  7. This looks fabulous - just how education should be. We home-ed in England because schools aren't able to offer this sort of education over here in our experience. We are planning on archery lessons soon as well:)
    Wonderful to see children enjoying life outside the classroom.
    #homeedlinkup #countrykids

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    1. I believe there is too much emphasis on classroom learning and grades - not everyone is academic and not everyone is going to be a university student and this type of learning gives children valuable life skills.

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  8. I agree wholeheartedly, I am pleased to say that the Primary School that our children have attended is a small village school with between 60 and 70 pupils and they have annual residential trips with the same activities. As you say some valuable life skills are learnt, confidence's boosted and achievements made. Thanks for linking up and sharing with Country Kids.

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  9. Absolutely - kids need to experience real life learning and to appreciate their 'lessons' first hand. Otherwise it becomes a mere exercise in memorising facts and figures without any context to hook it onto in their long term memories. Also, I have no idea how kids are supposed to discover their aptitude or love of subject without experiencing how it fits into the real world - we could cut down on a lot of uni course drop outs in my mind with a bit more real-life learning before people sign up!

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  10. Totally agree with you on this one! There should be much more outdoor learning in schools.
    Thanks for sharing this at the Outdoor Play Party. Hope to see you again from tomorrow :-)

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