The importance of outdoor education programs cannot be underestimated and some schools are increasingly beginning to embrace the underlying philosophy as critical to student’s physical, personal and social education. Ironically, the more we are empowered through technology to view the world, the further we are actually getting from being part of it; from being within.
We have been working very closely with Peponi House School to develop sequential programs for their school trips which like any curriculum build on important areas of knowledge and values over the years. Jack Snell, the Year 5 & 6 coordinator shares a slice of their Year 5 school trip with us at Ngare Ndare Forest…
The diversity of the Ngare Ndare Forest made for a phenomenal expedition and Year 5 enjoyed the many challenges that the environment had to offer. Each morning at the main camp, we awoke to breath-taking views of Mount Kenya as the rising sun cast an array of colours on terrain below. In the forest camp, the attentive could hear a plethora of animals walking, climbing and stomping in the night.
Throughout the trip, the three groups explored how to show teamwork and leadership in activities, whilst aiming to make minimal impact on the habitat. Each group established a unique ethos and understanding of one another yet, together, all of Year 5 flourished.
The Forest Camp emphasized the fundamental principles of how to survive and be successful in the wilderness. The children negotiated setting up their own tents, preparing their own dinner and clearing up for themselves. This was interspersed with a morning and evening canopy walk. Although high enough for some to feel out of their comfort zone, the rewards were tranquil views across the roof of the forest. We heard elephant and spotted warthogs, antelope and plenty of baboons. Oh, for the elusive leopard!
To the north, the forest is surrounded by a plateau of open rock face which was the perfect location for some climbing. The children were able to do the belaying for their friends; meaning that each ascent became a team affair. The challenges of giving clear instructions, staying focused on each individual role and then the trust to lean back and negotiate a way down gave a sense of achievement to everyone.