In our recent inspection we received an outstanding result in the 'Learning Outside the Classroom' Award. We also received a 100% result in the Adventure Activities Licensing Scheme award, and hold the Adventure Mark.
We wanted to share some of our expertise in working with young people in the following tips:
Tip 1) - Set challenges by choice!
Give every young person in your group/class the opportunity to choose which new experiences, skills and achievements they would like to try. Explain to the whole group that everyone has different ability levels and amounts of courage so we should all be supportive of each other. It is important that your pupils choose to engage without being forced or pressured. It is your responsibility as a provider/educator to offer suitable challenges for each young person, they should always be encouraged to achieve something new.
An example at Heatree Activity Centre: On our high ropes course we have a range of challenges from a low level net crawl for the less confident to a 30ft high leap of faith. Often, once children achieve their first goal of crawling up the net they then choose to take on the higher tasks.
Tip 2) - Remember to Introduce, get continuous feedback and do a debrief!
It is essential that you set the scene at the beginning of each activity and explain what the members could or will achieve during the activity, this may be delivered via a presentation on a longer development course. Feedback after each team building exercise should become an integral part of the activity. Ask the pupils; what are their thoughts, feelings and emotions? Use blob tree diagrams (link), comfort zone circles and other visual aids to help the young people express their development.
Always give time for a debrief and make some notes for yourself, this will often be the most rewarding part of the activity for you and provide great evidence of the development in the young people.
Tip 3) - How to deliver Safe Outdoor education activities?
Make it clear who is responsible for the safety of the group before you start, make sure you are fully qualified including first aid, safeguarding training and experienced in facilitating the activity before running it. Never take a group if you not prepared physically and mentally. Make sure you have a safety bag, normally this would contain: First Aid Kit, Bothie/group shelter, hot drink, mobile phone / radio, spare clothes, whistle, map, compass, roll mat, emergency food, emergency contact numbers.
If your activity is in a remote location it is essential to have a base contact who is responsible for checking that your group returns on time, and will act appropriately if you are late.
Make sure your activity is fully risk assessed and has been approved by an expert / technical advisor / AALA assessor or equivalent. It is essential that insurance and consent are obtained.
Make sure you are fully briefed on the medical state of the group in advance of the activity. If you have young people who may need extra support, always be prepared with additional help from another qualified instructor or supportive adult / teacher.
As well as following the risk assessment and operating procedures, be alert and carry out dynamic risk assessments; continually taking into consideration factors such as weather, behaviour of the group, your position of most usefulness, fatigue of pupils, the terrain and your remoteness.
I really hope you've found these brief tips helpful, if you would like to learn more about the activity centre, we would be happy for you to visit, send us an email, or leave comments below:
To get back to our main web site click www.heatree.com