Green Valley Champions Ecoliteracy and Outdoor Education at the 2024 OFFSEAS Conference

Ms. Jo Clark, Mr. Ben Shield and Ms. Rosie Giordano
represented St. Andrews International School, Green Valley
at the OFFSEAS Conference 2024

In today’s world, where education transcends the confines of traditional classrooms, Green Valley is at the forefront of integrating outdoor learning and ecoliteracy into our core curriculum. Our commitment to holistic education was recently showcased on the international stage when three of our teachers—Ms. Jo Clark, Ms. Rosie Giordano, and Mr. Ben Shield—represented Green Valley at the 2024 OFFSEAS Conference in Phuket, Thailand. This renowned event is dedicated to outdoor educators, providing a platform to share innovative ideas and connect with fellow educators and providers of outdoor experiences globally.

Our school’s presence at the conference was highlighted by the expertise of our representatives. Mr. Ben Shield, a Forest School teacher for more than five years, has developed our Forest School area and is currently enhancing the entire school site to support our approach to Place-Based Education and ecoliteracy.

Mr. Ben Shield – Head of Place Based Learning

Ms. Rosie Giordano, the Ecoliteracy Coordinator and a primary teacher, brings her passion for sustainable development, with a background in geography and a Master’s degree in Education and Sustainable Practices, to embed ecoliteracy into our curriculum through systems thinking, inquiry, and place-based learning.

Ms. Rosie Giordano – Ecoliteracy Coordinator

Ms. Jo Clark, our Outdoor Education Lead, has led and inspired students on remote expeditions across six continents, drawing on her extensive experience from a Caribbean island school to the Himalayas and Thailand’s jungles, and balancing it with her language teaching.

Ms. Jo Clark – Outdoor Education Lead

The conference provided a fantastic opportunity for our educators to learn from and exchange ideas with people equally passionate about outdoor education. Mr. Ben Shield’s presentation, “Educating in the Wild: The Power of Forest School Integration,” was a huge success. He explained the foundation and success of Green Valley’s Forest School programme, highlighting how these outdoor sessions are linked with classroom learning. His insights into the transformative power of nature-based education resonated with many.

Ms. Jo Clark and Ms. Rosie Giordano further emphasised Green Valley’s leadership in sustainability education with their presentation, “Ecoliteracy and Outdoor Education: A Holistic Curriculum Integration.” This showcased our comprehensive approach to promoting environmental management among students.

OFFSEAS Conference 2024

The enthusiastic reception of our presentations at the OFFSEAS Conference underscores the growing recognition of the importance of outdoor and ecoliteracy education. Green Valley’s participation not only reinforces our commitment to these educational models but also creates new opportunities for future collaboration and shared practices across the region. Our teachers returned with new inspiration and ideas, eager to continue enriching our curriculum with innovative nature-based learning experiences.

One of our notable achievements is Green Valley’s official licensing as a provider of the Duke of Edinburgh International Award. This programme, designed to foster personal development and exploration, has seen a group of secondary students successfully complete their journey towards the Bronze award.

Engaging in activities such as hiking, camping, orienteering, and acquiring essential survival skills, participants not only enhance their skills but also foster community participation and physical well-being, promoting resilience and teamwork. Additionally, the Youth Adventurer Award, tailored for primary students to engage in outdoor activities either independently, with parents, or at school, has been a resounding success. This initiative serves as a gateway for students to connect with ecoliteracy, their local environment, and nurture a love for nature from a young age.

These milestones signify significant progress in our commitment to creating a sustainable future through education, cementing Green Valley’s position as a leader in holistic outdoor education. We pledge to continue enhancing our resources, curriculum, and academic staff to nurture the development of future leaders dedicated to environmental stewardship and global citizenship.