Posted by bushcamp
on 27 July 2012
Welcome back. We hope you’ve all had a great holiday and feel refreshed and ready for an exciting term. It’s Education Week and because it’s overlapping with the London 2012 Olympic Games, there’s bound to be plenty of attention on all things sporting and cultural in schools right across Australia.
Events like the Olympic Games can understandably leave a lasting impression on students as they’re inspired by the feats of athletes from around the globe. But many people might not be aware that according to several studies, participating in outdoor education and the humble school camp can be just as memorable for students.
Research in the UK, New Zealand and Australia found that for large numbers of students, their outdoor education or camping experience is considered the highlight of their year, leaving more permanent memories than other weeks spent at school.
It’s not just the novelty of spending time away from the classroom that students and their accompanying teachers find valuable and memorable. As anyone who follows the reality TV series ‘Survivor’ would know, many contestants cite the experience of overcoming the challenges associated with the outdoors, living and competing as a team with others as the things they enjoy most about their experience. For many, the de-skilling and relative ease that comes from living in a largely ‘built’ environment and increasingly a ‘virtual world’, the reality of facing the outdoor or natural environment places demands on the individual to develop new physical, social and emotional skill sets.
For those of us working at the Great Aussie Bush Camp, these are not surprising findings. Following every school camp, our team members receive literally dozens of thank you emails from students thanking them for helping them to overcome their various fears such as heights, being placed on the spot in a leadership position or a host of other challenges.
In 2011 a New Zealand, study found that outdoor education differs from other subjects in its ability to provide greater opportunities for the development of the key competencies of managing self, relating to others, and participating and contributing. (Bilcliff, G 2011 New Zealand Physical Educator 44. 2)
However, the studies also show that simply getting away from it all to a school camp is not enough. School camps need to take into account learning styles and preferences, fears and phobias, prior knowledge and experience, ethnic and cultural identity, physical disabilities and the actual setting. At the Great Aussie Bush Camp, these considerations are the cornerstone of everything that we do. Our challenge by choice philosophy, sequential learning and variety of curriculum based programs offered at two different locations, Tea Gardens and Kincumber, gives teachers and students a wide variety of opportunities to achieve the outcomes most appropriate for their needs.
We look forward to seeing you soon for a learning experience that really is way too much fun and one that you will remember for many years to come.