Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) is curriculum-based learning and teaching that extends out of the four walls of the classroom. Geraldine High School offers students a wide range of EOTC experiences that integrate with the requirements of the New Zealand Curriculum and enable them to link classroom and real-world experiences.
Geraldine High School has a commitment to environmental education and the use of EOTC as a learning vehicle. Enabling students to appreciate and understand the processes and aesthetic qualities of the environment is an important part of the school’s vision.
Our school and community are blessed not only with abundant ecosystems of rivers, streams, native bush and mountains, but also with a thriving agricultural and outdoor education and tourism community. We are also fortunate in having major cultural centres within reasonable driving distance and the school takes full advantage of the opportunities available.
Our EOTC activities range from those held within the school grounds to residential camps, curriculum-based field trips, Outdoor Education activities and even overseas trips. While most academic areas have some “outside of school activities”, Agriculture, Sports, Biology and Outdoor Education have regular EOTC events throughout the year, and the school uses available local resources whenever possible.
Year 7 students start their year with a day of adventure and bonding on the Challenge Ropes Course. This experience helps students reinforce their new friendships and relationship with their homeroom teacher. In May they go to camp at Wainui on Banks Peninsula, and students take part in many adventure based learning and experiential programmes.
The Year 9 tenting camp at Peel Forest is based around the Peel Forest Outdoor Pursuits Centre’s EcoLodge. Learning opportunities abound: there’s personal development, team work, studying and using sustainable practices in 30 acres of regenerating bush. Students also spend a day on GHS’s Challenge Ropes Course, and participate in orienteering, firearm safety and a day rafting on the spectacular Rangitata River.
Agriculture and Gateway students spend many hours outside of the classroom learning within the working environment. Sports exchanges offer many challenges, not least in making contact with the students and cultures of other schools. Spelling bees, speech contests, theatre, choral (Colla Voce), art trips and maths competitions are only a small example of trips undertaken that offer a wealth of experience. Major overseas trips such as the Languages Department trip to New Caledonia (2008), the 1st XV Rugby trip to Australia (2010) and student exchanges around the world enhance the school’s reputation for imaginatively enhancing experiential learning.
As in all things, safety of our students is a major focus of our planning and management of events. The school has a well developed EOTC Safety Management System that requires a structured process of safety planning, hazard identification, risk management, briefing and reviews. The school was successfully audited by Outdoors New Zealand in 2008 and was awarded the Outdoors Mark as a result.
EOTC has become part of Geraldine High School’s academic and social identity. Experiential education beyond the walls of the classroom is valued and encouraged at this school, and its development as a vital and relevant academic process has been recognised by our community.