Education outside the classroom (EOTC) is an essential part of school life in New Zealand. To extend students’ learning experiences beyond the classroom, schools need to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the wider community and the environment.
Students need to learn in a variety of contexts in order to gain the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values required to enjoy a healthy lifestyle; take responsibility for their own safety; form positive and respectful relationships with their peers, their teachers, and the environment; and participate in the creation of safer communities. Once decisions have been made about what students should learn, consideration needs to be given to how EOTC can best support the teaching and learning priorities. Learning beyond the classroom can support the direction and contribute to the breadth of learning described by the national curriculum.
New Zealanders have easy access to the bush, beaches, rivers, and mountains, which provide excellent environments for learning, but where safety considerations are paramount. These guidelines support school boards and staff to enhance their students’ learning outcomes and to meet their safety obligations. For further information please click here.
EOTC is a generic term used to describe curriculum-based learning and teaching that extends the four walls of the classroom. EOTC can range from a museum or marae visit to a sports trip, an outdoor education camp, a field trip to the rocky shore, or a visit to practise another language. EOTC can take place in the school grounds, in the local community, or in regions further afield, including overseas.
Learning and safety are paramount in EOTC. While EOTC provides opportunities for positive learning outcomes in a student’s education, alongside these gains is the potential for mishap if programmes are not effectively managed.
Schools have legal responsibilities to keep learning environments safe for students and staff. The guidelines clarify schools’ responsibilities regarding EOTC and provide ideas and examples of how the legal requirements can be met and how learning and safety can be enhanced.
Part of the EOTC program in Year 5 at Victoria Avenue school involves spending two nights and three days at Camp MERC, Long Bay. During the three days the students will be involved in kayaking, team building, raft-building, archery, stack ‘em high, abseiling and sailing. In Year 6 at Victoria Avenue school we spend three nights and two days at Lakewood Lodge where learning includes survival camp, horse games, low ropes and climbing wall.
For all of the activities we encourage CHALLENGE BY CHOICE and children always have the right to say no. Each activity has Risk Management procedures clearly outlined. During camp the children will be working in mixed activity groups and will have lead parents ensuring their safety and encouraging them to participate. There are also fully qualified instructors who are in charge of the activities.
Each EOTC experience provides students with the opportunity to do and learn new things.