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Kelly Delaney – On Outdoor Education and Nature


A typical year for Outdoor Education teacher Kelly (pictured below) can be taking pupils kayaking along the Menai Straits and in local lakes such as Llyn Padarn. This culminates in a Year 10 sea kayaking expedition in Sweden or her much-loved spot in the Outer Hebrides. Coupled with her sea kayaking skills, Kelly also heads the Year 5 and 6 Outdoor Education curriculum and will often be found trekking in the hills of Snowdonia, enjoying the focus on nature that it inspires.


“During our hillwalking days, I like to educate the pupils about nature. I will point out the names of flowers, insects and birds. Once you know a name for something and know a bit about it, you appreciate it more and kind of want to look after it.”

For our youngest pupils, there is an emphasis on noticing the beauty and as well as developing hard skills such as using a compass and map reading, there is also a focus on developing soft skills.


“We point out the patterns on spiders’ backs as a way of identifying the species and look at the intricacy of their webs,” she explains. “It’s about how striking the tiniest creature or leaf can be and encouraging our pupils to think about the magnificence of nature by seeing the art and beauty of it. Last week, I noticed the brightest red leaves and I had to stop and take a picture of them against my glove. I am hoping that if we show how we notice something striking, then the pupils will learn to do the same.”


The Outdoor Education Curriculum for Year 5 and 6 also ties in with the topics they are concentrating on in the classroom. For example, during the Solar System topic, an Outdoor Education trip to Jodrell Bank was organised.


“There is so much scope for cross-curricular education across all year groups as well,” she explains. “Geography and rock formation, Biology and wildlife, Physics and rockfall, Chemistry and changes in rocks, and History (not just geological history but the human historical impact on our outdoors such as the building of Roman roads that began the country’s infrastructure). Pupils often get to see things and places that they are studying, it’s an amazing way to reinforce learning.”


Trekking and mountaineering can be great opportunities to see how nature can form immense alterations to landscapes over time, such as U-shaped and V-shaped valleys. It’s how education should be: learn about it and then see it. Read about it and then observe it. Our Outdoor Education curriculum connects to our academic learning in a seamless, inclusive, and engaging way.



Being in the great outdoors also presents the opportunity to demonstrate the impact we are having on the environment and to encourage pupils to respect and care for it. The Outdoor Education Department has embraced Aliyyah Eniath’s mantra: "Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.”


As well as linking to the curriculum and teaching about the importance of environmental responsibility, the Year 5 and 6 Curriculum also encourages creativity and the use of imagination. “There are things that you want to instil from an early age, such as the appreciation of nature and there are also things that you want to retain, such as the use of imagination,” Kelly reflects. “The younger ones will be keen to use their imagination outdoors and I think it’s important to teach them the value of keeping that love of the creative.”


From asking pupils to make up stories of how the sinkholes on the Orme could have been created to imagining the secret wonders that can be found in the deepest caves, there is a plethora of inspiration that Kelly draws upon to encourage our young creative minds.


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