Education outside the Classroom
Outdoor education is a strength of Pekerau School. Programmes have developed to the point where the whole school is involved in education outside the classroom. Pekerau School aims to provide all students with a range of EOTC activities that provide challenge, skill development, and fun in a range of safe environments. At Pekerau School we believe that our programmes, resources ,and staff are providing opportunities for all students to meet the above aims in some way through our outdoor education experiences. We hope that students enjoy their experiences and go on to develop interests of their own that will enhance and add value to the contributions they make to our community as adults.
year 3 to 6 students are all involved in outdoor education camps on an annual basis. year 3 and 4 students begin their camping experience with a three day residential camp. In recent years they have used Whakamaru as a venue, due to the variety and suitability of available activities for this age group. The camp is relatively close to Te Awamutu and provides a fully catered experience. some of the activities include bush walking, kayaking, a confidence course, BMX and horse riding.
The year 5 and 6 students have trialed a variety of venues over recent years, including, Kiritehere, Pauanu, Port Waikato, Raglan and Pureora. Camps usually rotate on a two year cycle with a catered camp, one year, followed by a year under canvas, with students cooking for themselves in groups. We aim to provide a challenge in a safe environment while providing the opportunity for students to develop both independence and co-operative group skills.
The school has an up to date comprehensive safety management system that must be completed before approval can be given for EOTC programmes. Outside providers are also asked to provide details of their safety management systems. Inexperienced staff are always buddied with more experienced staff to ensure experiences are as safe as possible while still providing an appropriate level of challenge.
The Ministry of Education states that 'outdoor education is a key area of learning in health and physical education curriculum' (page 7, Ministry of Education November 2003. 'Safety and EOTC' National Operations. New Zealand.)
As part of this statement they suggest the EOTC has 10 basic aims including:
Tents - Pekerau School has a set of modern well designed tents. Together they are capable of accommodating two senior classes. All tents have a reversible fly sheet and sewn in waterproof floor. Thes tents have been tested to the extreme with a large group in fairly severe weather conditions. Students learn how to pitch tents from a fairly young age as part of the middle school outdoor education programme.
Kayaks - Pekerau School has a set of 12 student kayaks with a custom built trailer containing buoyancy vests and paddles. We have also purchased a white water kayak for use with more advanced students and instructors. The kayaks were sponsored to a large degree by local businesses. The kayaks are available for hire, with all funds raised from this going back into the maintenance and purchase of more equipment. The kayaks are used for students from year 4 through to year 6. Instruction is carried out in a swimming pool prior to cmaps to ensure students can exit a kayak confidently and safely. This must be demonstrated prior to kayaking on open flat water.
Cooking kits - These kits contain everything apart from food that groups of students need to be self sufficient. Every second year students are expected to cook their own meals for the duration of a camp. They are fully supported by parents and teachers to ensure that the experience is both safe and enjoyable. Each kit contains cooking utensils, pots, pans, and a two ring gas burner with a gas bottle.