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Staff at Huntly Peregrine Wild Watch are looking forward to the start of the new school term – because the centre is a hot-ticket item for pupils – and teachers - from across Aberdeenshire.
Combining a day out with some exciting, fun and hands-on activity is a great way to get young people learning in a new way – so the team at the Centre has designed a series of activities that link to all 8 areas of the Curriculum for Excellence.
And pupils – and their teachers – are loving it!
Recreation Ranger Angie Smith, said:
“Before the holidays we were already enjoying a really busy season with loads of school groups coming along to the Centre. And as usual we did our best to make sure that they all went away happy – and brim full of new ideas, enthusiasm and skills. In only two months we welcomed 51 groups from nursery to high school, and even some exchange students from Namibia!
“The kids all associate the big outdoors with play, so getting them outdoors puts them in a frame of mind that makes it easy to grab their attention and that makes them really receptive to a new way of learning.”
The range of activities at the Centre is geared towards helping young people develop physical skills (such as coordination and balance), social skills (such as taking and receiving instructions and working with others) and giving them the space and security to express themselves and to develop their self-confidence. Angie said:
“Our school activities are all about letting the pupils explore their forest in a safe way. Through a mix of activities like pond and stream dipping, orienteering, games as well as art/music & drama activities – young people develop a whole range of skills and also benefit from being active in a welcoming, relaxing and safe environment.
“We also do blind fold trails, sound maps, forest cocktails, exploring trees using mirrors and learning to fly, eat and behave like a peregrine!
“The teachers really enjoy it too and we get a lot of really positive feedback from everyone about the activities and events that we organise for them.”
Curricular opportunities include:
• Forest Maths class – measuring and aging trees, surveys, making an abacus from forest materials
• Religious and moral education - life, wildlife, living creatures, feelings
• Sciences – geology (quarry), biology (wildlife, discovering the ponds, trees) chemistry (physical factor in pond, the impact of pollution)
• Social Studies - team building, exploring new risks, challenges
• Technologies - camera viewing, taking information back to the classroom
“Another added benefit - for us and the pupils - is that some of them will decide to join our volunteer programme, learning all about peregrines and the wider biodiversity while helping us to run the Centre and make the visitor experience one to remember!”
Notes to Editors
1) Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate and manages the 660,000 hectare national forest estate, protect, enhancing and expanding Scotland’s forests and woodlands in ways that deliver benefits to people, communities, biodiversity and the economy. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland
1) Tha FCS ag obair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridh coilltearachd Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus a’ riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìonadh, a' cumail smachd air agus a' leudachadh nan coilltean gus buannachdan a thoirt dha coimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidh agus, ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh gnàth-shìde. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland