At St David’s College we are very lucky to have many outstanding teachers, just this week our Head of Art, Mr Simon Scarff, has been given a prize at a prestigious Open Art Exhibition, and our Head of Outdoor Education, Ian Martin, with fellow Outdoor teachers Aled Edwards and John Tatham, have written a chapter for "Encountering Ideas of Place in Education"
The book highlights the importance and benefits of Outdoor Education.
Words by Mr Aled Edwards:
Despite being a very active subject, there is a vast amount of theory and research underpinning outdoor education. It has a rich history, spanning many years, of practitioners and researchers seeking to understand the how and why of what we do, as well as actually getting out into the outdoors.
Within the outdoor department at St. David's College, we have had links with Bangor University for some time, and regularly support Associate Teachers as they progress through their PGCE (teacher training) courses in outdoor education.
When the university approached us asking if we could collaborate on a case study chapter in a new book, based on the emerging theme of connecting with place in outdoor education, we of course said yes!
In a nutshell, connecting with place means fostering a connection with an environment, place, or location - this could be a small patch of playground, all the way to an entire national park or country.
The basic idea is that by fostering a connection, it also fosters respect and admiration for these places, and so ultimately leads to happier humans as they can start to understand what it means to be 'at home' in an environment.
It so happens that we had already been working on several ways in which to foster connection with the natural environment through 'spiritual' days with Yrs. 7 and 8 (based around recognising how it feels to be alive in the natural world) and past work on using fell running as a way to connect with the mountain landscape, and it was around this that we built our case study, whilst also introducing new aspects of similar work such as environmental reflections, art and language in the outdoors.
It was a great privilege to be asked to contribute, and wonderful to have the opportunity to share what we do in a book designed to be read by fellow educational practitioners. The thought that our ideas may be used elsewhere based on someone reading this book is quite exciting!