© Celtica Mapping 2011 - 2020
We are both trained teachers and both have experience of working as instructors as outdoor centres. In Helena’s case she has been a lecturer in Outdoor Education at Bangor Normal College (now part of Bangor University). Helena has also been heavily involved in orienteering coaching, coach training, and assessment as well as outdoor centre assessment for British Orienteering (see “about us” page). She has worked as a freelance instructor running the Plas-y-Brenin courses for the UKCC orienteering awards and British Orienteering’s Teaching Orienteering courses.
Recently British Orienteering has run fewer courses but we have developed our own courses tailored specifically for primary school year 4, 5 and 6 teachers and Scout and Guide leaders. We can also run courses on surveying and cartography with OCAD so, for example outdoor centre staff can produce school maps, and courses on planning and drawing courses using Purple Pen a free Windows software package.
Notes on setting up courses
Courses for teachers
Orienteering offers a different outdoor activity to team games, and allows children who may not be athletic to excel in a different field The basic skills can be taught on your own school site and, unlike many outdoor activities is relatively cheap to set up and requires no specialist training or qualification. Initial preparation is considerable but once done can be used repeatedly in future years as “pick up and go” lesson packs.
Children can work individually or more commonly in pairs. It is easy to differentiate activities for the more and less able, and in smaller rural schools to manage a wide age range covering all Key Stage 2 pupils.
We have run numerous orienteering festivals for Year 5 and 6 children with primary schools attending for a 2 hour session. It is very obvious which groups of pupils have been given the appropriate skills on their school site in the weeks running up to the festival and which have not! We want all children to succeed, but those who get most from the off-site experience will be those who have a firm grounding. A popular course we have run for teachers is designed to help them prepare classes to come to such a festival, and concentrates on teaching just three key skills in preparation for going offsite.
By focusing in this way the course can be offered as a half day session (max. of 12 staff per session) with the session repeated in the afternoon for other schools. An activity resource CD is provided for each participant at the end of the course.
Courses for Scout and Guide Leaders
Orienteering is a very useful activity for training youngsters in map reading skills with attention to map detail and decision making. In effect it can compress navigation skills training from a full day hike down to an hour of concentrated effort in a more localised setting.
Scout and Guide Leaders’ courses are significantly different to the courses we run for teachers. Firstly, troops are likely to be using a local country park, woodland or moorland covering a much larger area than the school site. Considerable emphasis must therefore be placed on safety and keeping control of the group (who will be out of sight for much of the time). Much of this comes down to good initial teaching, and as leaders are usually not teachers themselves we put more emphasis on the actual teaching skills. Thirdly, Scout and Guide Leaders will probably want to teach compass work, whereas we assume that schools will not have invested in compasses.
Courses can be aimed at an age range to suit you. We have run courses for leaders of both older and younger troops. Courses would normally be one day in duration with a CD of pre-prepared materials for use with their troops provided to each participant at the end of the course.
Courses can accommodate up to 12 people with teaching done in a Scout hut provided there is a mapped orienteering area close by.
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