Learning at school doesn’t just happen in the classroom! Outdoor experiences – whether it’s exploring the playground, walking in the neighbourhood around the campus, or on a trip across the world – learning about the environment is a valuable part of a child’s education. Here we find out more about the many opportunities Singapore’s international schools offer to students at school and beyond.
Australian International School
The Outdoor Education programme at the Australian International School is a progressive programme that begins in Prep and runs through to Year 10. Activities range from local day trips for younger age groups to multi-day excursions to Malaysia, Thailand and beyond for the older years. Activities the students can look forward to during a typical camp include camping, outdoor cooking, caving and whitewater rafting. The programme gets progressively more challenging as students move up through the school, allowing them to build on their skills each year.
A trip to Malaysia
In 2018, Year 8 students went on a six-day trip to Gopeng, Malaysia. They took part in camping, hiking, white water rafting, caving, cooking and climbing, and visited a local market to buy food to cook meals for themselves in groups. A highlight for many was the white-water rafting experience. The students learnt water safety skills and put them into practice with a river-tracing exercise before rafting. Many new friendships were created on the trip, as all were encouraged to work in teams outside their usual classes. The absence of devices also encouraged the students to interact with one another.
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Dover Court International School
Outdoor education at Dover Court International School starts in the Early Years. Students climb trees and get muddy during playtime. School trips are a fully integrated part of the curriculum, with overnight excursions starting in Year 3. There’s a gradual increase in the challenges presented to students to prepare them for the expeditions in Upper Secondary as part of Nord Anglia Education. Students in Year 10 and beyond can also opt to take part in The Duke of Edinburgh Award programme, which is a voluntary and non-competitive scheme offering practical, cultural and adventurous activities.
A trip to Switzerland
20 students travelled 12 kilometres by foot to a cabin in the dizzy heights of Col des Essets. The weather was rough and the students persevered and helped each other along the way – some fun playing with snow and sledding at the top definitely lifted everyone’s spirits! Luckily, the weather cleared at the top and offered some breathtaking views. After taking a gondola up to Glacier 3000, the students donned their snowshoes and harnesses and trekked across the glacier, learning about the rock formations and the impact of climate change on the glacial environment.
UWC South East Asia
At UWC South East Asia, outdoor learning spaces are seen as valued extensions of the classroom. All students take part in outdoor education – from the first week of kindergarten, regular opportunities are available for students to explore outdoor environment at both campuses. On-campus activity is then extended through a range of field trips that encourage students to form connections within the wider Singapore landscape. Eventually, this extends to participation in the expedition programme, which starts in Grade 1 with a sleepover at school and culminates in Grade 11 with the independently planned Project Week.
Infant School outdoor learning
Little ones in the Infant School are regularly given opportunities to observe and investigate the natural world around them. While doing do, they challenge their capabilities, both independently and with others. In the earliest years of school, this includes exploring the gardens and other natural spaces on campus as part of their regular school day, in support of their learning in the academic curriculum and the personal and social education programme.
St. Joseph’s Institution International
Outdoor learning is a key part of education at St. Joseph’s Institution International. All students have the opportunity to participate in expeditions from Grade 1 to Grade 11. Students are made to step out of their comfort zone, develop resilience and confidence, and support one another. On the way, they pick up useful skills, discover innovative ways to overcome obstacles and view challenges in a more positive light. Activities include climbing, trekking, kayaking, snorkelling, camping, white-water rafting, mountain biking and more.
A trip to Borneo
In July 2018, students trekked through the Borneo wilderness. During more challenging parts of the trek, they guided one another by showing where to place their feet next and where to grab hold of during sharp inclines or descents. When some found the jungle nights too cold, they had to share their gear and make fires. Other highlights of the trip included building a bridge from bamboo, making coffee from scratch, visiting the local harvest festival, sampling different jungle fruits and vegetables, making frog traps and observing the wilderness. The students learnt not only how to survive in jungle terrain but how to thrive.