A place for procrastination

20 September 2008 · 3 comments

in Developing School Grounds & Outdoor Spaces

When one takes up a new headship, there is usually a burning desire to fix everything as quickly as possible. This is especially true if your new school has not been inspected for a very long time and is waiting with baited breath for the dreaded brown box to arrive one Thursday morning.

When it comes to developing your school grounds there is a lot to be said for waiting at least a year and here’s why:

  • You can spend time outdoors at break times observing the children in their play and the role of duty staff. It is worth doing this in all weathers and seasons.
  • It allows you to monitor the grounds through the seasons. You can see the plants grow and the variety of animals which visit.
  • The best way to find out what would be most helpful to have outside is to use the school grounds as much as possible for learning activities. Frequently schools decide on equipment and resources for outside such as a seating area without giving enough thought to the ideal place and the type of seating and layout needed. The more your staff use an outdoor area before a development project, the more you know what is needed.
  • Time is needed to get to know staff and their interests. Passion creates possibility and by finding out what staff are like, the school grounds and activities can be improved to build upon their strengths.
  • There may be other priorities!

In eduworld, correct choice of words and phrases is very important to some. If you can’t bring yourself to procrastinate try “monitoring current activity” in the school grounds instead!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Roy A. Hewitt September 28, 2008 at 07:17

Hi Juliet,

I think your attitude to child education is right on. Children need and love to be outside and can learn so much from nature.

In my opinion, an ideal school would have a farm where kids can grow food, take care of animals and run in the fresh air and come inside cook their own food,learn math, about family, economics etc.. most of it on-line.

The times are a changing.

Sincerely, Roy.

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CreativeSTAR September 28, 2008 at 07:29

Hi Roy

Thanks for commenting on my blog. I think your suggestion about an ideal school is something that has tangible and meaningful experiences.

The concept of “farm schools” has been around for decades and despite health and safety paranoia some schools are flying the flag well.What’s also gaining popularity are eggloos for schools – google the term if you haven’t heard of them.

The Center for Eco Literacy in California has done some very interesting work in terms of re-organising how school meals are made and produced…using local farmers to supply food in conjunction with children growing food as part of their curriculum.

Times are a-changing and I’m glad I’m part of it!

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