Outdoor Education, a vital accompaniment to the UWC experience!
May 18, 2021
Outdoor Education has been introduced at UWC Maastricht a few years back, with an increasing interest this year to achieve the goal of learning respect and appreciation for the nature that we are surrounded with. The same goal is shared between primary and secondary school, but done in different ways.
“This year, the focus is on getting in touch with nature.” Cyrille Dols from UWCM’s primary school explained. There are many different activities that have been introduced to younger children in a way that is related to their classroom activities. These include having campfires, scavenger hunts, mapping and navigating and many more which differ between the year groups. She explained that respect for the environment is the biggest value which is also implemented in UWC’s core values. “I also think to have mutual respect.” She said regarding another value she believes is needed. “You respect what is there and see how the nature has helped us and how we can help it.”
“Outdoor education is creating opportunities for students to experience the natural world.” Brian Wright from secondary described. There are a variety of activities for secondary students as well, such as river cleanups, bi-weekly DP hikes either by cycling or on foot. He explains that the goal of outdoor education is “To appreciate, feel the self-reflection of slowing down and being in nature, and build useful skills.” It is also a great opportunity for students to get to know each other authentically, whether that is day and residential students or students who do not have classes together.
A big part of outdoor education is carried out through the International Award within secondary school along with many other organizations involved such as CNME and Outward Bound. Brian says that one of the most important UWC values is bringing people together, and in a natural environment, which is explored deeply through the outdoor education experience, this connection between people becomes more personal and effective.