The only source of knowledge is experience
The outdoor education programme is a fundamental part of the Cambridge Steiner School’s curriculum. It is in line with the ethos of the school where experiential learning outdoors is considered to be a vital part of the education and healthy development of children.
Experiential Learning and Expeditions
In outdoor classroom lessons, the children engage in experiential learning in connection with a subject they study in the classroom. This includes both humanities subjects, such as geography and history, and the natural sciences, including geology, physics, chemistry, the study of nature and astronomy. The children undertake field trips with the purpose of exploring the geography and the geology of an area, for example. To prepare for the trip the children learn expedition skills such as camping, fire making and outdoor cooking, navigation and weather forecasting. They learn how to organise field trips, including arranging equipment, food and funding, and in this way develop their organisational skills. Children learn how to keep themselves and each other safe while developing a sense of a healthy risk-taking. During expedition children further develop their personal and social skills and learn leadership and soft skills. The physical activities outdoors and connection with nature create a positive-self-image, develops confidence and leads to self-discovery.
Bushcraft and Nature Connection
Through Bushcraft, the children learn skills such as shelter building, fire lighting, cooking outdoors, lashing and how to use different natural materials to make containers and boxes. They study natural navigation and learn how to navigate using a map and compass. This gives them confidence in living outdoors and prepares them for undertaking field trips and expeditions. Through activities such as foraging and tracking, children develop their sensory awareness, such as sight, hearing, taste, smell and balance, connect to nature and develop a deep respect and love for the natural world around them. They are challenged both mentally and physically, contributing to healthy development and a sense of wellbeing.
Through crafts children are exposed to different traditions of craftsmanship. They become familiar with the materials of a craft and gain knowledge of working with them. Children learn how to use different tools, including edge tools such as wood carving knives and saws, exercising caution and focus and paying attention to detail. Crafts also serve as a rich resource to complement history, science lessons and math. Through crafts children study and gain knowledge of the industry of which the craft is a part, learning about the history and social history of different times. For example, a number of woodworking and green woodworking tools used today were devised by ancient Egyptians or Romans and without which it would have been impossible to build their empires. Children also learn the science of calculations and geometry involved in crafts. They gain knowledge and understanding of the physics behind some of the tools and equipment they are using, such as friction in drilling or simple machines such as the shave horse in green woodworking.
Doing crafts develops qualities such as integrity, resourcefulness and determination, together with the ability to respond intelligently to changing circumstances as the work proceeds. In this process they will learn how to think outside of the box. Furthermore, through craft activities children can develop their fine and gross motor skills and enhance their sense of wellbeing.