What is Outdoor Education?
Outdoor education can be simply defined as experiential learning in, for, or about the outdoors. The term 'outdoor education', however, is used broadly to refer to a range of organized activities that take place in a variety of ways in predominantly outdoor environments. Common definitions of outdoor education are difficult to achieve because interpretations vary according to culture, philosophy, and local conditions.
Outdoor education is often referred to as synonymous with outdoor learning, outdoor school, forest schools and wilderness education. Outdoor education often uses or draws upon related elements and/or informs related areas. The hallmark of outdoor education is its focus on the "outdoor" side of this education; whereas adventure education would focus on the adventure side and environmental education would focus on environmental. Expeditionary education involves expeditions into wilderness "where man is but a visitor." All of these activities typically involve experiential education.
Why should your school do it?
Outdoor education provides opportunities to develop positive relationships with the environment, others and ourselves through interaction with the natural world. These relationships are essential for the wellbeing and sustainability of individuals, society and our environment. Outdoor education engages students in practical and active learning experiences in natural environments and settings typically beyond the school classroom. In these environments, students develop the skills and understandings to move safely and competently while valuing a positive relationship with natural environments and promoting the sustainable use of these environments.
How can Absolute Outdoors help deliver your program?
Absolute Outdoors has been operating programs in the Grampians and around Victoria for over 30 years. We can assist you from the very beginning of the concept of your program, right through to execution and follow up assessments to improve for the future. Whether it be a small class or a whole year level, from primary years to VCE, we can work with you to build the best program possible.
Three steps to planning a program - Why, how and when.
Whether you already know what you want your program to look like or you're just starting to think about it, these three simple questions can help guide you to the perfect program or reaffirm that you're on the right track.
WHY are you running this program? What are the desired outcomes?
HOW do you want your program to run? What type of accommodation or experience will best assist in delivering your outcomes for your group?
WHEN will your program take place? Most often dictated by availability in the school calendar, but different times of the year can provide different opportunities.
Outcomes - WHY?
When exploring the natural world, there are two things we can learn about - ourselves and the world around us. When planning an outdoor education experience, describing a set of desired outcomes allows us to tailor facilitation and content to maximise the potential for learning and development. Your desired outcomes are not only the goal of the program but also the 'why' it is being undertaken.
Adventure activities are an incredible tool for personal and team development. With a purposeful approach, we can work towards your desired outcomes whether it is to develop leadership, teamwork, initiative, communication or confidence.
The great outdoors is the perfect classroom as it provides ample opportunities to learn. Observe nature, have new experiences and put newly acquired knowledge to the test. We can assist in facilitating content that contributes to your curriculum and covers areas such as the environment, indigenous history and culture and sustainability
Program Style - HOW?
Firstly we need to balance which style of program is best suited to the age and experience of your group and what is the best format to deliver your desired outcomes. After that, we can build the content of that program with a range of adventure activities, facilitated sessions and other blocks to deliver a program that's perfect for your group.
Spend your program camping in one location. Each day venture out to explore, experience and learn and return to your home base in the evening. Campsite options range from full services in a caravan park to National Park sites with more rudimentary facilities
Take the comfort and convenience of a full-service hardtop venue. Ensuite bunk rooms, full catering, a range of unique on-site activities and all in a stunning setting with the mountains and lakes at the back door.
Move through the landscape and explore with everything you need in your backpack. Break camp each morning, establish camp each evening, undertake adventure activities along the way. From an overnight hike to a 5-day multi-activity adventure, our journey programs are a great way to explore, learn and connect.
Leadership Expeditions are extended journeys (7 days or more) that are specifically designed for young adults to teach and promote leadership, independence, teamwork and outdoor skills. Participants will assist in planning the expedition, undertake independent travel, hike, bike, paddle and climb their way across a landscape as well as participate in a range of environmental and community projects.
Timing - WHEN?
The last big question is about timing. When is the best time for your program? Running programs at different times of the year can have varying effects on a cohort. Your program will also need to fit into your school calendar as well as line up with program and accommodation availability. The best thing to do is get in touch as soon as possible to start the discussion.
Summer is hot and dry in the Grampians - the good news is there are plenty of water sports options!
The beginning of the school year also offers opportunities to bond newly formed cohorts and create relationships that last a lifetime.
Term 2 see's the days become cooler and shorter with some fantastic stable weather.
The perfect time of year for the middle years to explore the landscape and learn skills
Late winter and early spring sees some good rainfall as well as some cold clear spells. While it can provide challenging conditions for journey programs, hardtop camps can be fantastic as they offer a lot of contingencies and flexibility
Term 4 is a great opportunity to complete the bonds built and lessons learned throughout the year. It also provides some of the best weather! Spring rains have soaked the landscape and the sun has come out painting to environment with all the colours of the rainbow. Wildflowers, wildlife, wild spaces.