We hosted a European delegation last week at Glen Outdoor School. The study visit took place as part of the Assembly of the European Regions (AER) conference, which saw up to 100 delegates from all over Europe visit Letterkenny over a three day period. Glen Outdoor was selected because we are Ireland’s first outdoor school and the purpose of the visit was to showcase the importance of fostering independence in children from an early age.
Sally and the Glen Outdoor team welcomed the delegation and talked to them about our school’s ethos and philosophy. We explained the importance of outdoor play in childhood and the key developmental role it plays in helping children learn risk mastery. We also referenced the importance of the three T’s, ‘Things Take Time’ and explained how, in today’s world, children are often not given the time they need to learn and grow.
The group toured the outdoor setting, including a visit to the school’s pond, vegetable patch and poly tunnel. Children proudly showcased a huge pumpkin that they had grown themselves and were preparing to carve for Hallowe’en.
Delegates also sampled some blackberry jam which the children made from berries they picked earlier in the year. The visitors were very impressed by the school, which is located in Barrack, Glenswilly, just four miles from Letterkenny. They really got into the outdoor spirit and a few of them wondered if there was a facility like this available for adults!
Hosted by Donegal County Council, the AER conference focused on E-health, Independence and Inclusion in the 21st Century. The conference was the largest independent network of regions in wider Europe and the delegation was comprised of policy and decisions makers from across Europe including Sweden, Denmark, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Turkey, Belgium and the UK. We want to thank Donegal County Council and all the delegates for taking the time to visit our school.