At Highgate Hill House School, all our students have access to our Outdoor Learning Programme. We believe in the therapeutic benefits of the forest schools approach. We use our extensive grounds to offer students regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a natural environment. We believe in a holistic approach to developing resilient, confident, independent and creative learners. This gives students opportunities to enjoy success and supports the learning they are doing in the classroom.
We focus a lot on team building and problem solving, to develop students’ ability to build positive relationships and develop their thinking skills. Our outdoor learning programed also allows students the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves. We use the fantastic natural resources nearby the school:
These 2 lakes are 11 miles from school. The larger lake offers us the opportunity to take part in a variety of watersports, such as canoeing, sailing, windsurfing and fishing. The smaller lake is predominantly managed as a nature reserve and is popular for many wildfowl. There is also a play area and space for informal games.
Our nearest beach is Widemouth Bay, only 6.miles away. The open sandy beach stretches for nearly 2 miles, backed by sand dunes. At the southern end of the beach, it becomes rocky, which is great news for rock pooling. At low tide there is no shortage of marine life to be discovered there. The beach faces west, so it can get a little breezy, but this is great news for surfing.
We can use the open spaces, easy trails, granite tors and deep wooded valleys to help students learn about their natural environment and take part in a wide range of activities such as geo cashing, mountain biking, orienteering and bouldering.
We believe that our students benefit greatly from working with and looking after animals. Animals don’t just bring fun and affection. They can also have powerful mental and physical health benefits. In particular they can reduce stress, depression and anxiety and encourage exercise and improve cardiovascular fitness. They help students to become more secure and active and help them to develop attachments. This can have particular impact for our students with attachment issues. It gives them opportunities to develop the nurturing sides of their personalities and brings with it a sense of responsibility, community contribution and wellbeing.
Our animals will be arriving in summer 2016. We plan to house ducks, chickens, goats, pigs and ponies.
We are building our kitchen garden and students will have the
opportunity to take part in our ‘field to plate project’, where they
grow fruit and vegetables, which they then prepare as part of our
community meal times.
Students develop new skills and learn about science, nutrition and nature. They can get involved in designing, planting, maintaining, harvesting and preparing. They have the opportunity to work cooperatively in groups.