The Outdoor Education Program supports the Tree Top International School’s holistic approach to learning, and the notion that it is not academic results alone that determine an individual’s success.
The program aims to provide students with the opportunity to flourish in the outdoors, developing a greater awareness of themselves and others through meaningful outdoor activities. Some of the skills which students will gain from the program are as follows:
Teamwork: students will take part in a variety of activities such as trekking, fire-lighting, rafting and shelter construction. All of these activities require them to work as a team, assigning roles and responsibilities based on their individual strengths.
Leadership: Activities such as rock-climbing and zip-lining require there to be a natural leader – someone who goes first and sets an example for the rest of the group. Of equal importance is the value of ‘followship’ – the notion that it’s OK not to be the leader and that everybody’s contribution in the group is valued.
Resilience: The outdoor environment can present a number of challenges. Weather can turn bad, treks can become steep and obstacles can present themselves in many forms. Overcoming these challenges builds resilience and strength of character.
Social skills: The outdoors is a wonderful level playing field where every child can be themselves, away from the influences of media and technology. Group activities encourage children to interact with one another and build new friendships.
Environmental awareness: Being outdoors draws student’s focus to issues such as global warming and the impact of human activity on the natural environment.
Progressive program, starting from 3 years old The Outdoor Education Program begins at Prep and continues through to Year 10, with each year building on the skills learned and challenges faced in the previous year.
Prior to the official program commencing in Prep, our Early Years students get exposure to the outdoor environment through local trips to the parks and woodlands around school, helping them to gain an appreciation and understanding of nature. Children will take part in activities such as den-building, nature spotting and transient art (making art from natural materials such as sticks, leaves and flowers).
From 6 years old and upwards the program extends further afield, beginning with day trips in Prep and concluding with week-long expeditions in the Secondary Years. A full breakdown of the program can be found below:
We firmly believe that an appreciation and understanding of the natural environment should be encouraged from a young age. That’s why we offer meaningful outdoor experiences from 3 years old, and a progressive program of camps which builds on these experiences each year.
Extending learning beyond the classroom happens everywhere, and some of the most meaningful educational experiences often take place outside of the traditional school environment. Our program takes students beyond the conventional constraints of the classroom and into the natural environment, encouraging them to enquire, experiment and discover.
Stepping outside of the comfort zone, camps and excursions promote risk-taking and adventure, with activities such as hiking, camping, rafting and caving to name just a few. We operate with a ‘challenge by choice’ ethos, never forcing students to take risks, but encouraging them to push themselves outside of their comfort zone and ‘have a go’.
Building resilience and strength of character. The Outdoor Education Program fully supports the development of resilience and strength of character. Whether it’s taking risks on one of the many activities offered on camp, or helping a fellow classmate to overcome their fears, the value of resilience permeates through all aspects of the program.
In today’s technology-driven society it can be easy to forget the simple pleasures of getting outdoors in the fresh air and enjoying the natural environment. Many children are now exposed to more screen time than ever before, and in extreme cases this can lead to problems such as obesity, depression and poor social skills.
Tree Top adopts a holistic approach to learning, which aims to develop the ‘whole student’ by nurturing their individual talents, both in and outside of the classroom, helping them to discover their unique pathway in life. The Outdoor Education Program is an essential part of this approach extending learning well beyond the classroom and into natural environments.
We aspire for every one of our students to have strength of character, resilience and the ability to dig deep – whether in the classroom, on the sports field, in the Arts or in the outdoor environment. The character and courage that is developed through working as a team, coupled with the physical activity involved in our programs, leads in turn to mental agility and lasting skills for life.
Resilience is instilled in our students throughout all aspects of their education at Tree Top, and is of particular focus in our sporting programs and Outdoor Education. Our Coaching for Character program, for staff and parents, uses the latest research in adolescent and sports psychology to equip our students with the tools to build character through sport and outdoor activities.
Character is the development of mind over matter, and at the Tree Top International School it is as important as the development of fitness and skills.