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Kouga-Express
Nature-based learning takes root

Aday in school for Grade 7 learner, Zia Hendriks, could mean watering vegetables, playing in the mud, building a water slide or finding different insects.

All while learning valuable skills.

Pharos School in Jeffreys Bay is set to launch the first nature-based school in the Kouga region at the beginning of next year – seeing learning become an adventure.

Principal Fanie Vermaak says, “The nature-based school will combine traditional learning experiences with outdoor nature-based learning and play.

“The programme will include, but not be limited to, a natural obstacle course, the feeding of animals, a mud ‘kitchen’, a natural sandpit and different walking trails in close proximity to the school.

“The programme is not only about the outdoors, it is also nature-based. Nature is at the core of the curriculum with extensive daily outdoor time. Through innovative teaching methods, the elements of nature will be integrated in all learning areas.”

Learners aged six will spend at least 40% of their time at school outside the classroom – learning through play and hands-on discovery. Learners between seven and nine years, will spend at least 20% of their class time in nature, while time spend outdoors will become an important part of Grade 4 to Grade 7 learners’ current curri-culum.

According to him, nature-based learning, as part of the holistic development of children, will not only enhance learners’ well-being, but it will also encourage stewardship and develop their spirituality.

“By integrating a nature-based programme, we want to create a natural, joyful and rich learning environment with abundant opportunities to create, discover, explore and play,” Vermaak says.

“It is our aim to develop confident, resi-lient and creative learners with a solid spi-ritual and educational foundation, as well as a love of learning.”

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