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!

 

 

Summer Fun right on Target

Transition group 3rd to 7th August

Transition Grp BushcraftDuring the summer holidays I have been fortunate enough to deliver a week of activities to a very deserving group of youngsters from Whitecraig and Wallyford. Prior to the holidays Wallyford Community Centre, helped by school teachers, identified 8 young people who would reap great benefits from a week of outdoor activities based around personal and social development. The criteria for selection was that the children were transitioning from primary to high school, had low self-confidence, self-esteem and perhaps social interaction issues.

During the week the children took part in a wide range of activities which they chose from an extensive list. The following are what they chose; Bushcraft, Rock Climbing & Abseiling, Canoeing, Kayaking and Raft Build, Coasteering and Trail Cycling.

Transition Grp ClimbingThroughout the activities the children never stopped amazing us with their ability to push boundaries and invest in their own development. They constantly strived to go one step further and were jubilant with their achievements, not only for themselves but for others also.

By the end of the week every participant had demonstrated a notable improvement in both self-confidence and self-esteem.

When dropping their children off in a morning some of the parents commented that they were amazed at the achievements, confidence and motivation from day to day.

 

A few things the children said they never knew they could do:

  • Cycle so far
  • Build a den
  • Jump off a cliff
  • Climb a mountain
  • Build a raft
  • Swim to an island

Transition Grp Cycle

These were some of their highlights:

 

  • The whole week
  • Water Activities
  • Climb to top of North Berwick Law
  • Cliff Jump
  • Everything
  • Getting a chance to try lots of activities
  • Bus journeys

 

The children agreed that the following aims and objectives were met:

 

  • Building self-confidence
  • Building self-esteem
  • Had a chance to try lots of new activities
  • Got to meet new people
  • Were challenged
  • Built resilience

 

We have received some fantastic feedback from both the children and their parents, all of whom see a great worth in this kind of group work and hope to see more of it in the future.

Transition Grp Raft

To end I would personally like to thank Stuart from Wallyford community centre for his help throughout these activities and for giving up his time to benefit the children from his local community. Myself and Stu found this a very fulfilling week. It was fantastic to watch these unsure, anxious children who arrived looking cautious on day one turn around on day five asking for more having pushed themselves beyond their usual boundaries.

Antony Stone – Associate Instructor

Sea to Summit with Prestonpans Primary

Prestonpans Primary have a reward system in place for those students who make that extra effort in all aspects of school life. It was a pleasure to help deliver one of those reward lessons by accompanying the students from ‘Sea to Summit’ at North Berwick – just a little way along the coast from their school.

The students were tasked with looking after themselves and each other for trhe day whilst exploring closely the coastline and striving to reach the summit of North Berwick Law all within the school day.

Resilience; stamina; empathy; supportive were all qualities and behaviours that were evident throughout the day.

Seashore explored; Summit achieved; resilience shown – a very successful day.

Waves of Empathy with Longniddry Primary

Longniddry Primary School P5 follwed up work that they had previously done on the seashore by joining the creatures and plants in trying to survive and thrive in the impact zone. ‘Littoral-ly a great day!’

The pupils took to the seashore armed with all their previous knoweldge which they shared with everyone and marvelled at the power of the sea and how the plants and creatures of the intertidal zone cling to the rocks day after day. On a relatively calm day the students were amazed at how difficult it was not to get swept off the rocks!

The students adapted themselves to surviving in this environment by spending time and effort getting into wetsuits; wetsuit boots; gloves; buoyancy aids; helmets. All participants agreed that this had been time well spent.

The pupils showed great responsibility in looking after one another in such a harsh and unforgiving environment.

Well done all

“Just wanted to say thanks very much for taking P5 Coasteering this week.  They all had a great time and a really positive experience.  Just gutted I didn’t get to come!”

More photos below

Dog (Whelk) Days

Just a reflection on some of the coasteering days that some East Lothian Schools have enjoyed (endured!) earlier in the year.

It was one of the best experiences of my life so far! Everyone in my group had fun and it was great to experience the life of sea creatures and how they survive. Heather

Law Primary once again took up the opportunity for their P7 to discover their local coastline – walking down from school; changing into wetsuits and appreciating their town/local environment from an entirely different perspective.
Confident individuals Increasing confidence was shown throughout the sessions as increasing numbers of young people appreciated what they were physically and emotionally capable of.
Effective contributions also came through during the sessions as they were given more and more responsibility for each others safety and managing of risk once a little knowledge of the dynamic environment was gained.
Successful learners. The sessions were set out with 3 main learning intentions. Increased knowledge of the littoral zone (eroded landforms/ flora and fauna); managing risk (not removal of risk);Working as a team to help others (help and be helped). On return to shore through varied reviewing techniques these appeared to be the outcomes.
Responsible Citizens All young people showed great responsibility by adhering to all instructions given in what is a rather intimidating classroom. We also as a group ensured that any disturbance to wildlife was kept to a minimum.

It was a VERY fun activity because you had to think at all times for different routes in case one was too dangerous. Jedd


Windygoul Primary
used coasteering sessions as a precursor to their annual camp to Benmore in March.
One of their topics this year is Our Fragile Earth and so we used this title to look carefully at the fragility of the intertidal zone in a coasteering session. On initial look the pupils agreed that it didn’t appear fragile at all, however once we got to look carefully in some of the deeper rockpools and the tiniest of creatures and plants that survive and thrive we all began to realise the fragility of their situation.
As the sessions were in small teams the pupils were able to ‘gel’ in and outdoor setting overcoming some of their fears concerning being cold and wet – this should help them make the most of their time on camp and make sure they become fully immersed in the activities (they certainly got fully immersed in the sea!)

Longniddry Primary will be using coasteering as part of their John Muir Award in Summer 2015.

We look forward to all wet days. Sea(!) you there.
Follow link for more photos https://www.dropbox.com/sh/yta0ef01qhgh5ot/ckHtcKwx_x
For more information on using the seashore as a classroom in East Lothian contact your Outdoor Learning Service and Ranger Service Facebook page.