Lessons on nature in Guernsey’s outdoor classroom
Our Community Fund is the embodiment of our vision to make a real difference to the communities we serve.
Thrive Outside is just one of the many projects we supported in Spring 2021, all of which showcase the very best of what is happening in our island communities.
Thrive Outside was an idea by Charlotte Le Guilcher and her team at Guernsey’s popular Accidental Zoo LBG.
Charlotte saw first-hand the enthusiasm and joy that school children gained from interactive outdoor learning as part of the Accidental Zoo. She was passionate about bringing this type of educational opportunity to more local schools.
What is Thrive Outside?
Thrive Outside is aimed at Guernsey children aged 7-12 years old. It provides the opportunity for children to be inspired by the natural world. The activities aim to help children appreciate and respect their local environment and understand the benefits of being outdoors for health and mental wellbeing
The first ever Thrive Outside events ran in the summer of 2021, providing over 2,000 hours of outside learning to pupils across the Bailiwick.
‘We are very proud of this achievement and the experiences the children had. Schools including St Anne's from Alderney, Herm School and a Guernsey home school group were among those that took part making Thrive Outside a Bailiwick-wide experience.’
- Charlotte Le Guilcher
The initiative builds on the work of the States of Guernsey’s Bailiwick Big Picture Curriculum in line with the Children and Young People’s Plan.
[IMAGE: SCHOOL CHILDREN MEET A GUERNSEY CALF. PHOTO CREDIT: CHARLOTTE LE GUILCHER]
Why learn outdoors?
Evidence suggests learning outside the classroom can help raise achievement, improve classroom behaviour and improve the engagement of students, including those who are hard to engage in the classroom environment.
The Bailiwick Big Picture Curriculum has a particular focus on interactive and local learning. It encourages pupils to learn about their islands, about Guernsey’s nature and natural ecosystems whilst promoting independent and purposeful learning.
Charlotte told us that the children were inspired and engaged by their experience at Thrive Outside. They were able to meet and learn about different types of farm animals and reptiles, many of which they will never have seen in real life before.
‘It was great to see many of them pushing their individual personal boundaries, build confidence, increase their self-esteem, and just become more engaged in their education. It really is our hope and intention to run Thrive Outside every year.’
Community Fund helping projects to Thrive
Charlotte and her team wanted to cement Thrive Outside as a regular feature in the calendars of local schools. They need support to help make the first, inaugural event as much of a success as possible.
That's where our Community Fund came in.
To truly be able to bring the classroom outdoors, they had to hire a large function tent, as well as specialised education officers and teachers to support the event.
With a grant from the Co-op Community Fund of more than £500, Charlotte and the team were able to begin action plans for a ten-day outdoor learning event for over 1,000 local primary school children.
[IMAGE: SCHOOL CHILDREN TAKING PART IN AN OUTDOOR LESSON. PHOTO CREDIT: CHARLOTTE LE GUILCHER]
The Co-op Community Fund is open now. We're welcoming applications that support environmental and community projects based in and benefitting the Channel Islands.
All applications received by 30 September will be considered for the next funding release in October.