St George’s School Windsor Castle was a hive of activity this week, as it brought together 160 students from eight local schools over two days for a Science and Outdoor Learning Festival.
Organised as part of its ‘Schools in Partnership’ programme, the festival saw children aged from seven to 13 taking part in practical workshops in the school’s science laboratories, including chemistry experiments and interactive physics demonstrations. The students then spent the remainder of their time outdoors, taking part in various team building activities, foraging for materials to recreate famous British landmarks, building dens, and sketching the varied scenery in the school’s grounds in Home Park Private.
One group of students even had the opportunity to say hello to The Duke of Edinburgh as he rode past on his horse.
“Taking children outside of their normal environment and spending time in nature is known to be incredibly beneficial for a child’s learning and development,” explained Richard Wilson, Year 5 Teacher and Partnerships Lead at St George’s School Windsor Castle, who organised the event. “I found it really rewarding to be able to bring so many children into St George’s to make use of our fantastic facilities and I look forward to continuing to expand our Schools in Partnership programme in the future into even more subject areas.”
The sessions, led by specialist teachers in science, art and outdoor learning from St George’s School Windsor Castle, alongside two members of the science faculty at Holyport College, were designed to develop collaboration, observation and communication skills, in addition to developing subject knowledge and spending valuable time learning outside of the classroom. By bringing the children together during breaks and lunch time, they also had the opportunity to forge new friendships.
“It’s been amazing,” said Olivia, a Year 6 student at Datchet St Mary’s CofE Primary Academy. “Everything was so captivating because all the teachers made everything sound so interesting, and they explained things in a way that made us notice things differently. My favourite part of the day was doing art which gave us the chance to calm down and notice how beautiful everything was.”
The participating schools each spent a full day at St George’s, with students from Hilltop First School and Alexander First School in Windsor, St. Luke’s CofE Primary School in Maidenhead and Hythe Community Primary School in Staines all taking part on day one, Children from The Royal School and St. Edward’s Royal Free Ecumenical Middle School in Windsor, Wraysbury Primary School and Datchet St Mary’s CofE Primary Academy then attended the festival on day two.
“The day has exceeded expectation,” said Sara Brownleader, Year 6 Teacher at Wraysbury Primary School. “It was lovely to be invited to take part and the children were really engaged in the practical activities which were led by dynamic teachers. It was brilliant for them to have the freedom to explore a new outdoor setting, as well as their first experience of a science laboratory, which was completely new to them.”
The Science and Outdoor Learning Festival was the latest in a series of events organised by St George’s School Windsor Castle through the Schools in Partnership initiative, which aims to bring local schools together to share resources and knowledge and offer enhanced opportunities to all students across the network.