“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach of us more than we can ever learn from books.”
At Fernhill School Outdoor Learning is timetabled from Primary 1 to Transitus, with every pupil spending at least half a day every week outdoors. This allows every chid to experience the opportunity and possibility of the great outdoors. We recognise that in the outdoors children are more motivated to engage in teamwork, engage in conversation and engage naturally in physical activity. We have an abundance of trees, nature and woodland within our own grounds as well as the neighbouring Fernbrae Meadows, leading to Cathkin Braes with extensive walks, woodlands and nature trails.
Additionally we offer a wide range of co-curricular outdoor clubs, including Walking Club which is open to pupils from Primary 1 to S6. We go walking in all weathers and explore the wealth of opportunities in Fernbrae Meadows, our neighbouring Urban Green Space. We are extremely proud of our connections with this space and one of our Fernhill pupils deigned the Fernbrae Meadow’s logo.
Outdoor learning is an integral part of secondary life at Fernhill School and staff are wholly encouraged to make use of our sizeable, biodiverse school grounds as well as the adjoining Fernbrae Meadows. With health and wellbeing at the forefront of our ethos, the grounds are utilised by all subjects for creative, physical and social pursuits. Our Science and Social subjects faculties in particular, make regular use of the space to enhance learning of Biology and Geography in a practical, hands on and pupil centred manner. Offering plentiful opportunities for sampling techniques, pond dipping, pollution surveys, nature studies/keys, and conservation of native species our extended classroom offers young people the opportunity to appreciate and respect wildlife and the environment. As a STEM school, the grounds are used for real world learning, bringing classroom concepts to life, bolstering the role of science in society and everyday life.
The Junior Award Scheme for Schools/JASS supports achievement of a wide range of learning objectives. It’s designed to be easy to use and simple to run. It can bring structure and focus and be used as a great motivational tool for learners.
Activities for each section can be tailored to individual needs, interests and strengths. Completing them can build confidence, encourage teamwork and develop skills, encouraging children and young people to be active and involved in their community.
Use it make activity-based links with curriculum areas and subjects. Set up projects to encourage interdisciplinary learning.
It’s a great way to promote and record achievements at an individual level.
JASS is an excellent lead-in to other awards such as John Muir Award, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. It’s an ideal first step on a learner journey along a progressive pathway of nature-based awards.
Learning for Sustainability is an entitlement for all learners in Scotland which JASS participation contributes to. It can weave together Outdoor Learning approaches, learning about Sustainable Development Goals, exploring climate issues and Global Citizenship. Activity for each JASS section can be planned to relate to these approaches and learning contexts.
Using JASS can:
· support opportunities for all young people to experience achievement
· encourage healthier lifestyle choices, including being active and outdoors more
· help schools build partnerships with parents, local groups and the community
· help with transitions from Primary to Secondary school
· provide a platform for starting vocational learning
· act as an umbrella award for other initiatives, awards and certificates.
Duke of Edinburgh Award
The Duke of Edinburgh Award is available to all pupils from S3 upward. The benefits as quoted by the DofE website are as follows:
When your child does their DofE programme they’ll develop the skills and attitudes they need to become more rounded, confident adults. Qualities that colleges, universities and employers are attracted to. When you support your child’s pursuit of their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, you’re investing in their future.
You can expect to see your child develop in the following areas as they work through their DofE programme:
– Self-belief and self-confidence
– A sense of identity
– Initiative and a sense of responsibility
– A real awareness of their strengths
– New talents and abilities
– The ability to plan and use time effectively
– Learning from and giving to others in the community
– Forming new friendships
– Problem solving, presentation and communication skills
– Leadership and teamworking skills.