Berrinba East State School’s success with outdoor education
Taking learning out into nature has led to some incredible results
Posted on 18.11.2020
TEACHING kids maths, music, science and English within a traditional classroom environment can be frustrating at times for children and teachers alike.
However, taking learning out into nature has led to some incredible results at Berrinba East State School.
The Logan City primary school had been battling a high student detention and suspension rate, spurred on by regular acts of physical aggression towards others and property by students.
“We got to a point where we were seeing the same suspension rates year after year, so we knew we needed to do things differently,” Berrinba East State School, Stephen Kanowski.
“Rather than this behaviour being pre-planned, it was a result of pent up frustration, inability to express emotions appropriately or low levels of resilience.”
Logan's Berrinba East State School principal, Stephen Kanowski
Mr Kanowski said the kids at Berrinba East State School are good kids and do not deliberately plan their behaviour, but due to a range of factors in their life, many of them are reactive.
“They either do not have the language to express themselves, the ability to regulate or the resilience to persist when things are tough.
“This is always going to be the challenge in our community, so it is our responsibility to provide the environment where we can teach, model and reinforce the skills of emotional literacy and regulation.”
Mr Kanowski, who joined Berrinba East State School in 2014, said that over the past few years he had been researching environmental changes required to develop oral language, all of which pointed back to ‘nature play’.
“Last year, I connected with Nature Play Queensland who provide professional development for staff, and connected me with other schools and early learning centres embracing the approach,” Mr Kanowski said.
“A speech therapist once said to me, ‘Kids won’t talk, unless they have something to talk about’.
“This resonated with me in that if students did not have the opportunity to practice interactions with peers and adults, they definitely won’t have the skills to express their needs when in a highly emotive state.”
“Our entire school community has embraced the vision of this approach which is ‘Bringing back childhood’ and the whole community has ownership of the agenda.”
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