My work experience week with Outdoor Education

My name is Beth and I’m in my fourth year at North Berwick high school, I enjoy sports like basketball and hockey and I also love doing activities outside like hill walking, camping and snowboarding. This week I have chosen to do my work experience with East Lothian Outdoor Education because I enjoy working with children and I also like to be outside learning more about the outdoors and keeping active.

On Monday my first day of work experience I arrived slightly nervous but I  had a very friendly welcome by each member of staff and was introduced to everyone who works at Outdoor education. I then later was showed around the building to learn where everything is kept.

I began my first day by organising and maintaining some equipment that had been used  on previous days. After I went with a small group of around 5 from Prestponpans primary school  and  helped everyone get prepared for our cycle to Dalkeith country park. Together we all cycled along the river Esk, through fields to the park where we stopped and ate lunch. After lunch we continued our cycle going on tracks and trails through the park and then later we cycled back to the centre.Transition Grp Cycle

The children and I all really enjoyed the day despite the rain and it was a great experience for them getting to learn day to day basic skills in a fun more engaging way like general safety, respect for other people and themselves, road awareness or even working as a team making sure no one is left behind, everybody sticks together and everyone is included. We even got a lesson on how to change an inner tube when one of the children got a puncture which was an extra bonus for us all including me as I didn’t know how to this already.

The following day after I got involved in a first aid course becoming a casualty and victim and then getting rescued by the people on the course as if it was a real life situation. This was very interesting for me as I had never done anything like this before and I learnt lots about first aid myself from a different perspective being the casualty instead of first aider.

On Wednesday Keith and I set off to the lagoon where we took children from he Ross High ASN unit canoeing. When we arrived the rain was pouring down but not long after the sun came out and the children cheered up. They loved splashing in the water and some of them even managed to advance there kayaking skills and become more confident on the water.  It was a great experience for the children and for me getting to watch them enjoy the outdoors and play in the water.  img_1123 In the afternoon we went climbing in Tranent with some people from Ross high school, they were in their fourth year and had previously done climbing once before. We all managed to get lots of climbs in and everyone also learnt how to belay each other which allowed us to gain more trust in one another.  I think it was a great experience for them as it was trying new things and doing fun activities while learning. It was also a good experience for me getting to help people who are of a similar age to me.

On the fourth day Keith, Antony, bob and I all went down to the end of North Berwick’s east beach to go coasteering with a group of children from Law primary. The wind in the afternoon was gusting up to 40mph  but we all still had a great time climbing under, over and on top of rocks in the waves. In the morning we all jumped off rocks into deep pools and let the waves whoosh us down channels. Over all it was a great day and everyone said they had an amazing time. When I was in p7  I had done this before with school and it was great to do it again helping the children and encouraging them to do things they might not usually do. Image result for coasteering east lothian

My week of work experience with outdoor education was an amazing week and I’m very glad I chose to do this. I would love to get involved in something like this when I’m older and I’m very grateful to everyone at the outdoor learning centre for making it a fun busy week and letting me get involved in everything possible. Thankyou!

 

 

Adventure Award Days – first steps toward World Championships

Adventure Award Days are now published for next year. These days give whole classes over the course over a day (or half) to experience some real world learning in a variety of outdoor sports. Who knows – the next Orienteering/ Bouldering/ Canoe Sprint world champion may be lurking in your class. Make sure everyone has the opportunity to unleash their hidden talent. Book by getting in touch with your Outdoor Learning Link teacher –

Martyn, Andy or Liz

The sessions listed below are open to all schools in East Lothian – will not affect any other allocation with Outdoor Learning. First to book a day chooses venue. Watersports (Kayak;Canoe;SUP;Sail), Climbing (Indoor and Outdoor), Orienteering all available.

Numeracy through Canoeing

A class from Ross High ASN continued with their once a week canoeing on Musselburgh Lagoons today. As well as practicising the skills of canoeing they also took the opportunity to continue their numeracy work looking at numbers and counting skills.

Ross High ASN Canoe

Plenty of things were present on and in the water to count

  • 2 swans
  • 6 ducks
  • Ran out of numbers for the number of feathers
  • 5 canoes
  • 4 slalom poles
  • considerable number of paddle strokes

We were also able to do comparison of size by looking at who had collected the largest pile of pond weed.

A great day on the water and a pleasure to be able to bring a context to counting for all the pupils.

Ross High Rock and Water

A write up of 3 wonderful days with Ross High Merit pupils from Ed (Outdoor Learning Associate staff)

Three days of fun with the pupil from Ross High who were awarded the most merits throughout the year.

Tuesday 23rd June, Canoeing (Musselburgh Lagoons / River Tyne Haddington)

When I met the group for the first time in the morning I asked them how they were feeling about the idea of going Canoeing. There were a few hands raised to say that they were quite nervous. I was so pleased that by the end of the day though as everyone was saying that they had all had a brilliant time and that they would all like to do it again.

We started by heading to Musselburgh lagoons where we practiced a variety of strokes that would allow the boat to be steered. This is also a great location to build up some confidence about the equipment they would be using and how it will keep them safe. So with some games played, a short journey undertaken and a few people getting a bit wet (everyone fell in) we packed up and travelled on to our next location, The River Tyne in Haddington.

We arrived at the River Tyne and by now everyone worked as a well-oiled machine to get the equipment ready for the session. We were on the water in no time at all. We then went for a journey upstream until we could not get our boats any higher. Along the way there was a bit of splashing and some fun little challenges to undertake (like the limbo under low branches). They even managed to stay clear of the weir that they all thought they would go down if they weren’t careful.

Wednesday 24th June, Gorge Walking (Soutra Gorge)

The second day of the merit pupil’s activities was to do some gorge walking and then some kayaking. Unfortunately time was not on our side so we had to leave the kayaking for the afternoon and just undertake the gorge walk instead.

The group were fantastic and undertook the activity with huge enthusiasm. In my initial brief to the group I always emphasise about the importance of working together to get through the gorge safely and effectively. I was so impressed with the way they took my advice and supported each other. There were some really strong characters within the group which made a huge difference as moral can drop quite a bit when you are sitting in a cold pool of water waiting for your turn to climb a waterfall.

When it came to the two waterfalls where the harnesses are required the group were patient, supportive of everyone and really keen to give it a go. They completed the gorge really well but unknown to us was that we were going to have our toughest challenge of the day when we got out of the gorge on the return walk. Unfortunately an existing injury to one of our group meant as a team we had to help her back to the bus. Again the group were fantastic in trying helping and after trying a few different assisted carries (involving making a rope stretcher) we managed to all get back to the bus and finish the day. We may have been a little bit late but we had a great time along the way.

Thursday 25th June, Gorge Walking (Soutra Gorge)

With the same activity the day before I had a fairly good idea about how much time we would be able to have and was quite aware that we probably not going to be able to do the Kayaking again. I made this known to the group and unfortunately this was the case but again this was not down to a lack of enthusiasm and motivation from the group.

The gorge is a very special place. Unfortunately (or fortunately! – ed) one of the things that make this such a special place is how inaccessible it is. The walk to the gorge is probably the toughest part of the day. There is then the challenge of walking up stream to where it gets steeper and ropes are required. Finally once this truly beautiful location has been conquered you then have a bit of a slog to get back to the bus.

There were many different occasions where the group helped each other with either verbal encouragement or hands on physical support. However my personal highlight was when once each of them reached the top of the first waterfall climb they then began creating a human dam to try and cause the waterfall strength to increase when they all stood up. Not very supportive but very funny at the same time.

By the end of each day every participant on all the activities worked really hard and had succeeded in completing some very tough challenges. They had to overcome physical obstacles while managing their feelings effectively. However it should not be forgotten the hard work and effort that went on throughout the year for them to earn this reward. Well done to everyone.

Ross High ASN Adventures

A great day had by all providing an outdoor learning day for all pupils in all classes of Ross High School ASN unit.

IMGP0253 The pupils enjoyed the great weather whilst experiencing cycling; canoeing; wildlife watching (and stroking); blokarting; kayaking; firestarting. The whole day was inspired by Gordon Muchall (teacher within ASN unit) who brought together a wide variety of organisations to help deliver the day. ELC Outdoor Learning; ELC Ranger Service; Beyond Boundaries East Lothian; Calvert Trust

Thanks and congratulations must go to all the staff and volunteers who worked incredibly hard to help all the pupils throughout the day. (Especially the staff who braved the excellent toilet facilities!) The exhausted but happy faces of all at the end of the day told of a great day. Keith from Outdoor Learning along with Gordon and volunteers will continue to work with individual classes to enjoy the freedom of the outdoors through canoeing every Wednesday at Musselburgh Lagoons. A very special thanks must go out to the volunteers (including a local councillor; a bus driver and others) who gave so much of their valuable time to help all. This day couldn’t have happened without them. Many thanks