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Acorn Adventure was one of the first providers of outdoor adventure for schools and groups in the UK. Set up by a former teacher in the early 80’s, Acorn originated from the strong belief that learning outside the classroom provides enormous benefits for young people. This came from Andrew Gardiner’s (Acorn’s founder and owner) personal experience of working with children in and outside of the classroom.
Andrew Gardiner writes:
“My experiences working with children as a teacher in the early ‘80s gave me the passion to set up Acorn Adventure.
A key source of inspiration was to give teachers and young people strong foundations for teaching, learning and life. For several years I had taken students camping and trekking in the Welsh countryside, driven by my own love of the outdoors and childhood memories. I discovered that these trips were enhancing my relationships with students and improving behaviour and learning back at school. This made my job easier and more enjoyable and I could see that others could also benefit. Today, the great outdoors is widely accepted to offer powerful learning experiences and of course a valuable counterbalance to the gadget culture. I still remember my own childhood where we were sent outside in the morning and were told not to come back until tea time! Now children rarely explore beyond their back gardens, so the experience Acorn offers is even more important that when we began”.
Acorn is a member of the CLOtC (Council for Learning outside the Classroom) and a LOtC Quality and Adventure Mark holder. The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom is the national voice for learning outside the classroom. They believe that every young person (0-19yrs) should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development, whatever their age, ability or circumstances. You can learn more about the CLOtC by visiting their website http://www.lotc.org.uk/ Here is an interesting article from the CLOtC website about the benefits of outdoor learning and its links to Ofsted inspections and personal and social development:
In 2015, Ofsted announced that the new common inspection framework would include a judgment on ‘personal development, behaviour and welfare’. Learning outside the classroom can offer significant support to schools’ delivery of this area of the framework.
Attitudes and values
Adventure education enables young people to test themselves in various ways
Confidence and resilience
Communication and social skill
Knowledge of the world beyond the classroom
Physical development and well-being
Acorn Adventure are members of the Institute of Outdoor Learning (IOL), an organisation who supports individuals and organisations who use the outdoors to make a difference for others. - See more at: http://www.outdoorlearning.org.
Here is an interesting article about the benefits of outdoor learning. Institute of Outdoor Learning (IOL) website article: http://www.outdoor-learning.org/default.aspx?tabid=213
The potential benefits of outdoor learning are so many that they are grouped below in four broad categories: background, planned, bonus and wider benefits. Background benefits of Outdoor Learning are benefits that arise from spending time in the natural environment.
5 key ways in which exposure to the natural environment is beneficial to human health:
Source: Health, Well-Being and Open Space, Literature Review by Nina Morris, OPENspace Research Centre, (2003).
Planned benefits of Outdoor Learning are benefits that are determined by, or negotiated with, the provider of Outdoor Learning. For example, the City of Salford expects Educational Trips and Visits to help young people to:
"Educational Trips and Visits are particularly effective when young people engage in well planned and structured first hand experiences in small groups, with opportunities to reflect and build upon those experiences".
Source: Educational Trips and Visits, Health and Safety Guidance Notes, City of Salford (Revised 2003)
Bonus benefits of Outdoor Learning arise where participants gain more value than was expected. Such benefits happen more by chance than by design, but they are more likely to happen when there is a highly supportive climate for learning. Wider benefits of Outdoor Learning are benefits to stakeholders such as; families, schools, sponsors, society and future generations (especially in relation to sustainability). Ultimately we are all stakeholders in the success of Outdoor Learning. The more that wider stakeholders are involved, the greater the opportunities for achieving these wider benefits. See more at: http://www.outdoor-learning.org/default.aspx?tabid=213