First class trip

Sarah Louise Turton talks about her first outdoor learning experience as a probationer teacher.

Sarah Louise Turton, Primary Teacher, South Lanarkshire Council

As part of my interdisciplinary topic for Term one of ‘Under the Sea’, I was keen to organise an educational visit to Deep Sea World in North Queensferry. I felt that the excursion would bring the children’s learning to life and give them a deeper understanding of how various creatures lived in their natural habitats.

After being given the go ahead by my mentor, I began researching activities that would be offered by the centre, transport and cost. After looking at the cost, I began to realise that between the money for entry to the aquarium, activities at the centre and transport, it was becoming a large total. To get around the issue of some children perhaps not being able to be included, I initially discussed with my mentor some fundraising ideas we could do as a class to raise money for the trip. However, after some further research I came across the Edina Trust. This is a grant scheme which funds schools for the teaching of science and gardening. After applying to the scheme, we were given a quick response that the application had been successful. Funding secured, I then began to plan activities and an itinerary for the trip. I felt that the more planned and organised I was, the less could go wrong!

Fast forward to the day of the trip, parent helpers organised, children all accounted for, and we were ready to go. I found it beneficial to split the class into groups as this would be more manageable for myself, the parent helpers and other staff member I had along with me. This also meant that we were only counting the heads we were responsible for in our group and not the whole class! Although we were incredibly busy on the day of the trip, it was extremely worthwhile and was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.

Back in school, using the experience from their trip stimulated some excellent personal writing from the children and there was a new wave of excitement for our topic. I would definitely recommend to any probationer to take the opportunity where possible, to organise an outdoor learning experience for the children. It has definitely been one of my highlights of my probationary year so far!