Habits of Mind
I was interested to read in the press today, that one fifth of UK primary school pupils have hopes of becoming a sportsperson when they are older. I was also delighted to read that 10.91% wish to be a teacher. Becoming a vet came third, with a career in social media and gaming a very close fourth. Of course, this option simply didn’t apply to us when we were growing up. The closest we had to social media was Game Boys and Ceefax! It is interesting, though hardly surprising, that in this day and age hopes of becoming a firefighter, singer, celebrity of some sort, dancer or police officer have been trumped by a career in digital media.
Of the more exhilarating professions to choose, I came across in a post on Twitter from the Head of West Rise Junior School - a place that puts huge emphasis on outdoor learning, risk-taking and vocational studies - sharing the news that one of their ex-pupils is now running a 3000-strong buffalo herd, following her affinity with the water buffalo at the school. This girl, now a farmer, was clearly taken by the school’s commitment to exposing children to ‘land-based education’, and how wonderful that she has realised her potential and is now engaged in doing something she found a passion for.
West Rise puts outdoor learning at the heart of the curriculum, not only to give children the opportunity to be with nature, but because they firmly believe that the experiences outdoors will help them to develop core skills for the future. In the case of the farmer, it was a passion for vocational education, however in the case of preparing children to be successful social media experts, games developers and sportspeople, it is developing a very special set of skills to prepare them to be creative, imaginative problem solvers. This is where I believe outdoor learning comes in, and why I want to put it at the forefront of school life at St Leonards.
There has been interesting research linking the 16 ‘Habits of Mind’ from Art Costa to outdoor learning (see links below), which gives us plenty of motivation to get our pupils out into the fresh air as much as possible. Persistence, flexibility, meta-cognition, problem-solving, questioning, communication and gathering data through all senses are just some of the 16 core habits.
By getting children onto the beach, building dens and fires, and discovering nature around us - all activities that even those who love gaming a little more will enjoy - and by taking our curriculum outside the classroom we can help them to develop these key skills, which will, in turn, help them to forge careers in gaming (flexible thinking, problem solving, creativity, collaboration) or professional sports (growth mindset, persistence, management of impulsiveness).
Outdoor learning links directly with all the key skills, character strengths and habits that we aspire our children to develop, and whilst the beach might not be so tempting as we see temperatures drop below freezing this week, I look forward to seeing these skills come alive through our plans for outdoor learning in the Junior School.
Wishing all St Leonards families a happy weekend – wherever your adventures take you.
YEAR 7 DISPLAY
YEAR 7 DISPLAY | The walls by the entrance to the Junior School are awash with colour thanks to the creative talents of Year 7! A rainbow of beautiful illustrations has been putting a smile on everyone's faces as they walk along the corridor!
VIKING LONGSHIP | Year 3 had a great time dramatising the book 'Hiccup the Viking' by Cressida Cowell in class this morning. Here they are as the crew of a Viking longship! All aboard!