I have always thought we should rename schools ‘Adventure Centres’. As well as its cheerful assonance, such a title appeals because it suggests something active, dynamic, daring: some kind of activity that requires problem-solving, head-scratching and teamwork. Perhaps even mud.
Empirical or a posteriori knowledge – that which comes to us through our senses, as opposed to propositional or a priori knowledge that comes through reason and logic – is an important element in learning and growing up. Indeed, perhaps, it is this tacit knowledge that long outlives the academic facts on which we are often tested, albeit less easily measured and assessed. We need both.
This is why days like the one we spent up on Wimbledon Common before the end of term are valuable indeed. You will see a joyous video below, which I urge you to watch. The experiences of egg-rolling, egg-hunting, the famous ‘jarping’, or even human-rolling down the hill, are memorable and fun. But you don’t have to be rolling down a hillside to have an adventure. Many of our lessons back here on The Downs are adventurous too, by design – from practical science experiments to daring drama performances, or from outdoor maths activities to archery and trampolining (which is very good for developing creativity by the way, because every time you jump you land differently!)
It follows, therefore, that the environment outside our heads has a significant impact on what is going on inside them. This is why we have spent much time and effort recently in improving our wonderful gardens here at HSW, with lots of newly planted borders and containers everywhere. Getting out and about, sitting amongst nature, is so good for everyone, whether you are five, fifteen or fifty.
Now that the summer term is here, let the adventures begin.
A J Hammond