Inspiring Ideas from Balgreen Primary School
- 12 June 2018
As an alternative to school camp Joanna Murray, Teacher, organised an adventure closer to home. The group of P7s took the bus, then walked to Harlaw Resevoir, located in the Pentlands Regional Park. The group had a fantastic day exploring a wildlife garden, following a bio-diversity trail and having fun playing hide and seek and paddling in the water, aswell as having lunch outside. For many of the children involved these were completely new experiences. In total the group walked 5km, a great achievement for the children.
“I know I am now able to walk up a vast hill!” Sophie.
“I learnt that all our house names at school are named after reservoirs in the Pentland Hills” Jason.
“Now I know that Harlaw Reservoir is man made” Paul.
“The trip gave me the chance to work with people from other classes in a team and learn about nature” Katie.
Cost: £1.40per child for bus fare. Children provided their own lunch and teacher provided hot chocolate and marshmallows.
Water of Leith
For an adventure even closer to home pupils walked from Balgreen Primary School along the Water of Leith to the Water of Leith Visitors Centre and back for their Adventure. The Water of Leith Conservation Trust works to conserve and enhance the river, its heritage and wildlife and promotes education through the Visitor Centre. Everyone took part in an exciting 2 hour workshop facilitated by the Trust, the highlight being building a shelter and a bug hotel.
Cost: £4.50 per child. Children provided their own lunch.
Balgreen Primary also made links with a local Orienteering Group who designed and delivered orienteering activities for pupils on Corstorphine Hill , giving pupils the opportunity to learn new skills and work with a partner.
Cost: £3 per pupil
Joanna has used My Interests as an opportunity for the children to complete a project. Joanna believes this project based approach gives pupils the opportunity to use their skills, make links in their learning, produce an end product and take responsibility for their learning. Pupils are expected to keep a diary, including a record of their hours, and complete a 3 minute powerpoint presentation in school, evaluated by peers and teachers. Joanna believes “it’s part of JASS – taking responsibility for proving they’ve achieved something.”
Joanna uses circle time as an opportunity to talk to her class about their interests and what they find exciting. She encourages them to focus on where they can find particular information and think about who could help them. Pupils are expected to research their interest outwith school time and are given deadlines to meet. One imaginative pupil built a game on his computer and included an option to review the game, which he asked his peers and teacher to do.
Balgreen Primary School has introduced a mentoring scheme, with pupils from Tynecastle Community High School mentoring pupils who require extra support with their My Interests project on a Friday afternoon after school.
Me & My World
Pupils are encouraged to come up with their own ideas, with some classes doing one project and others a variety of projects. One group of enterprising pupils decided to hold two karoke events, one for P4/5 and one for P2/3, to raise money for The Place2 Be counselling service based at their school. This entailed a lot of planning by the children about what needed to happen and when including;
- setting a date
- making posters
- making an announcement at assembly
- making the tickets and selling them at a stand
- deciding what to charge
- sending a letter to parents
- negotiating with IT staff and teachers.
Another group made connections with older people in their community when they visited a local nursing home and made decorations for their spring fair, including flower decorations for each table and cards for each resident .