Bee-hold Outdoor Learning at The Acorn School

Written by The Acorn School

A new academic year and already the flowering of knowledge at Acorn has attracted thirty-thousand new recruits to this little school! Yes, you read that correctly. They have two beautiful homes on the hills overlooking Nailsworth and have created quite a buzz in our local community – they are our bees.

The Acorn School holds nature at its heart. Our vision is to enable all of our students to learn about the beauty of the world through first-hand experience outdoors. For many years the children at Acorn have explored the wide variety of landscapes in the UK and abroad through our fabulous school trips, but now we can offer them new experiences in our outdoor learning environment, located amidst seven acres of meadow and woodland within walking distance of the school.

Outward bound trips and activities have always been a core element of the education we offer at The Acorn School and this journey into outdoor learning is being spearheaded by our two new head teachers, Barney Franklin and James Whiting. Both Barney and James are experienced outdoorsmen, having led numerous outdoor trips from bush craft camps to mountain expeditions in the United Kingdom and abroad.

What can the bees teach us? Well, it is estimated that a third of the food we humans eat worldwide involves pollination by bees. They are a vital part of the workings of the natural world and make a huge contribution to the global economy. However, due to human activities bee numbers have fallen by thirty percent and we must do everything in our power to prevent them from disappearing. From the youngest to our oldest students, the children at Acorn will be learning about why bees are important, their life cycle, role in pollinating flowers, how to maintain a healthy population in a beehive and the production and uses of honey.

Integrating our outdoor learning into our curriculum is a key part of the Acorn vision. The children’s learning will not stop when they leave the hives; the theme will continue as a thread through their art, maths, English and main lessons. The students throughout the school will have opportunities to research and debate the role of human activity in the exploitation and decline of bee populations, write poems, stories and reports about our bees, create graphs and conduct meaningful calculations – including the business maths of running our honey stall next summer, not to mention the scientific study and beautiful artwork that our talented teachers at Acorn will be eliciting from the students.

Since the announcement of our bees’ arrival, our school has been humming with excitement. The children cannot wait to begin their journey of discovery and to care for their new little friends. We are blessed at Acorn to be able to offer such unique learning experiences to our pupils. The joy of learning about this precious and unique world in which we live is so often overlooked in our fast-paced lives. Here at Acorn we can take time to notice the beauty around us and to fall in love with nature.