School In Nature 2019

PORG International School In Nature 2019

What a week! Five days of learning out in the real world. For those of you who have never heard of 'School In Nature', it's a big thing in the Czech education system. The school moves out of the city to somewhere in the beautiful  Czech countryside and the kids follow a program of applying what they have learned in the classroom to the real world.

Our theme this year was 'Outdoor Olympics' - so we planned to mix traditional sports with skills for staying comfortable, warm, dry and well fed outside of civilisation. Mother Nature had other ideas though and the temperatures were high all week, which meant we had to modify the program to include a lot less running around and a lot more water activities.

Luckily, our accommodation at the Vitkovice Recreational Area had a swimming pool and was only a couple of kilometres from the reservoir in Horni Becva, so staying cool was not difficult. The only problem was that we couldn't stay in the water all the time! There was a Czech school staying at the same site as us and it was very nice to see our international kids joining in with games of football, using English and the Czech that they have learned without fear of mistakes - just kis who want to play together.

With activities planned around the worst of the heat, we had lessons demonstrating the practical use of maths, geography, science and English with activities using maps, finding rivers, building cooking fires, looking at bugs and leaves under microscopes, learning how to avoid heat sickness and writing diaries to show parents when we got home.

One day of the week, we headed out into the hills for a walk which for most of the kids was the furthest they had ever walked in their lives! Our goal was to find a mountain campground and cook lunch there but the terrain proved impassable for the kids, with fallen trees and waist-high bushes on an extremely steep slope. We still built a camp fire and cooked sausages though, so it was a big adventure for all of us!

Everybody's favourite was probably the visit to the reservoir. There are plenty of shady trees, a nice recreation area and the water is very shallow. We saw fish and ducks and how different plants grow, depending on the moisture, shade and type of soil. Of course there was a lot of swimming and water-fighting as well which is very educational indeed.

All in all, it was a character building experience. Everyone had fun and looked after each other and some who were afraid of being away from home grew up quite a lot with help from their friends. Not every country has a program like School In Nature, so we are happy to live in a country which does and we look forward to making it even better next year!