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November 2015 News

Reaping the benefits of outdoor education

  • Written by  Elissa Dowling
Year 9-10 students enjoying their time in Girraween Photo: Provided

Research has shown that outdoor education gives students better concentration skills along with greater creativity and resilience.

That was certainly the experience of a group of Darling Downs Christian School Year 9 and 10 students during their recent HOPE (Health, Outdoor and Physical Education) Camp in Girraween National Park.

The group spent three days and two nights in the great outdoors as they walked and orienteered their way through the bush. 

Secondary Coordinator Mrs Debbie McKay said the HOPE camps were always a wonderful experience for the students, albeit a steep learning curve for some.

“For some of them, it’s their first experience camping,” she said. “They really have to learn to work together and also become a bit more independent.”

She said these types of activities helped to improve young people’s health, their self-esteem and even academic results generally showed better progress.  

“Just being outside impacts our brains in a positive way. Working together in teams develops social skills,” she said. 

“The HOPE program is a unique subject developed by our teachers a few years ago in response to concerns that students were not getting enough time in their busy lives to just be outside and be in nature.”

The DDCS HOPE program is a core subject for all Year 9 and 10 students and incorporates health and physical education, volunteering and community service projects along with outdoor education such as orienteering, camp craft and survival skills. 

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