Words alone are not enough to learn about our planet Earth

We need the whole body

Eyes can see, ears they hear
but hands know bests how it is to touch.
Your skin knows best when somebody is close.
You need your whole body to learn.

The brain can think and maybe understand,
but your legs know best how it is to walk.
Your back will know how it feels to carry.
You need your whole body to learn.

If we are to learn the basics about our planet Earth,
then it is not enough with words.
We must be able to get in close;
you need the whole body to learn.
(Unknown author)

What Outdoor Education is and why it is important

Outdoor Education can take place in a variety of environments: rural and urban, local and more remote. Outdoor Education, training and recreation involves children in a wide range of experiences, including adventurous activities on land and water, and activities with an environmental focus. The different methods used include skills-focused learning, problem solving, team building and self-reliant journeys and activities, with residential experience an especially valued feature.

Use of the outdoors makes a major contribution to physical and environmental education and enhances many other curriculum areas. It contributes to personal growth and social awareness and develops skills for life and the world of work. Qualities such as a sense of responsibility and a purpose in life are nurtured. There is also a great deal of intrinsic enjoyment and satisfaction to be experienced from participation in outdoor activities. Please read below for just a snippet of some of the outdoor activities that we immerse ourselves in at Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi.

Outdoor Education at Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi

Outdoor Education is at the heart of everything we do at Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi.  In each of the different phases of our College we foster and promote a love and appreciation of the outdoors.  It is interwoven throughout all of our curriculum areas from DUCKs to Senior School. Outdoor Education activities inform a student’s knowledge, which is shaped by a variety of locations; this is a pedagogical tool used by educators that contributes to learning.

Early Years
Outdoor Play: The school grounds is often the first outdoor landscape where children have the space to develop their physical and social skills both through formal and informal play with their peers, and where they can experience the natural environment at first hand - their first stepping stone to understanding the wider environment beyond. Outdoor Education and play based learning in DUCKS at Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi is an inspiring learning environment. All of the DUCKS classrooms are light-filled and spacious with easy and accessible connection to the outdoor learning environment. The indoor and outdoor classrooms are exceptionally resourced to ensure children are inspired in their learning. A huge benefit for our DUCKS children is the beautifully landscaped outdoor play areas - plentiful and perfect for explorative learning in nature – a rarity for many schools situated in Shanghai and a perfect start to outdoor education at Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi.   Every year we have children experience‘The Teddy Bears’picnic on the college grounds, under the tents, or further afield. Children bring teddy bears from home and enjoy a picnic together that is previously prepared in class.  There is a parent picnic to celebrate Golden Week, where parents bring in traditional Chinese food and children go to the picnic area next to the main restaurant. Last year our children from early years went to the Botanical Gardens with their parents, and investigated for signs of spring.

Primary School
The Primary School academic experience is filled with Outdoor Education opportunities.  These come in the form of a wide ranging and comprehensive after school Co-Curricular Activities programme, residential and environmental trips, in addition to The Dulwich International Games for Junior School students, to name just a few.  In Year 2, students are introduced to the experience and delights of camping with the ‘annual Dulwich College sleepover’. Year 2 students complete a range of activities in school and camp out overnight on the playing pitches. In Year 3, students travel further afield to places like Nanbeihu and Chongming Island for week long residential trips that are filled with a range of exciting and experiential educational activities. Year 3 also visit places in and around Shanghai like the Natural History Museum. In Years 4, 5 and 6 pupils undertake a week long residential to wonderful places like Fujian province, Beijing and Qiandaohu where they learn about the culture through participatory EOTC experiences, as well as through hikes and a bike rides.

Senior School
The academic year at Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi always commences with an Outdoor Education residential trip for every student in the Senior School, our much-loved ‘Challenge Week’. The week long residential for Years 7 to 11 has taken us to places all over China and beyond including Thailand. We have been to Guangxi Province, Fujian Province, Beijing, Inner Mongolia, and Sichuan Province to name just a few. During these fun filled outdoor Challenge Weeks students have taken part in water sports, climbing, hiking, cycling and we also participate in a local community service project work, such as restoring an old Tulou in Fujian province. The Spanish and Art Departments have plans to run a residential trip to Spain to introduce students to Spanish culture and also to give students an opportunity to apply the Spanish they have learnt in the classroom.  Future developments for our Outdoors Education programme also include a ski trip.

The International Award programme, which is currently open to Year 10 and Year 11 students, is an important element of the Outdoors Education programme at Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi. As part of the International Award programme students develop their skills of orienteering and map reading, personal survival, serving a community, camping and cooking in China and further afield such as Thailand.  Finally, our IGCSE Geography students take part in their Geography fieldwork and coursework studies which enables them to investigate the local microclimate of the rural area around Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi and the surrounding urban environment of the Lujiazui, Finance & Trade Zone in Pudong, Shanghai.

Our Local Community and Environment Outdoor Education

Beach Cleanup
Students, teachers and members of our local community have also worked closely withHands On Shanghaiwith the aim of mobilising volunteers to clean up local beaches in Shanghai, raise awareness for ocean and marine life protection, and ultimately reduce damage to the marine environment. This year members of our school community visited the local beaches of Shanghai to help protect the marine environment, enhance environmental awareness, and promote community service concept. We worked hard all day cleaning the beach of tonnes of plastic and other rubbish.

Million Tree Project
Staff and students at Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi are also heavily involved in ‘The Million Tree Project’. The Million Tree Project aims to raise community awareness of the Earth’s precious environment while focusing on steps individuals can take to lessen their negative impact on the natural world. The Million Tree project is designed to improve both ecological and humanitarian conditions by planting trees in Inner Mongolia to halt the expansion of desertification in the region. Every year, Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi staff travel to Inner Mongolia to plant trees with local farmers. The activities in Inner Mongolia include tree planting, pruning and visiting the desert. It is such a positive worthwhile experience for all and we look forward to the trip again next year.

We are very proud of our Outdoor Education programme at Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi and we will continue to learn from and enjoy the benefits of this bespoke element of our educational philosophy. We continually strive to inspire our students and make them responsible and conscientious world citizens who Aim High, Work Hard, Be Kind and Respectful, and Make a Difference. Our wonderful Outdoor Education programme assists us in achieving that.