Moorooka State School is an innovative primary school located in Brisbane's south. Principal Vicki Hyne champions outdoor learning and play at the school for her students. Since starting her role, Vicki has worked with the school community to create a learning environment that actively encourages children to engage in the outdoors for play.
The school is a strong advocate for the importance of outdoor play and the positive connections to learning as well as the student health and wellbeing that result. The school mantra, "Where Great Things Happen" sets a tone, which reflects a school-wide commitment to purposeful, successful learning. Moorooka State School believes that every student can reach their full potential through a connected, inclusive community that promotes Collaboration, Curiosity, Resilience and Growth through Challenge.
Moorooka State School has created amazing, positive change in a relatively short period. This high achievement is wonderful role modelling for others and the school has been involved in the creation of a leadership circle to support and champion the ethos to help other schools. The school demonstrates best practice using resources responsibly and efficiently, as well as operating in an ethical manner. The school has received media interest and community support for the approach.
The school has created and implemented an innovative 'Moorooka State School Discovery Trail'. Mapping the opportunities for outdoor play and activating spaces to better encourage and support students. This includes a Yarning circle, water and mud play area, sand play, tree climbing, low ropes, chickens, school garden, and mountain bike track and scooter area. A loose parts play shed allows children to create their own play using readily available materials. This will be extended into an expansive loose parts fort system to encapsulate student’s imagination of settlement and place.
The school shows their commitment to nature play and outdoor learning through the creation of learning materials and activities that support the Discovery trail and encourage a culture of discovery and exploration.
Staff continually seek opportunities to connect curriculum to their outdoor learning philosophy and take a risk benefit approach, ensuring their students have a voice in understanding, appreciating and planning for the inherent risks and benefits of outdoor discovery.
The school has worked closely with the department of education and the local Moorooka community to create regulations and ongoing access to nature play experiences for all. Their outdoor environmental opportunities are suitably challenging; with risk assessments and consent for its use in place whilst ensuring a genuine connection with the environment and reflection on the pace of life and the importance of mindfulness.
The school is an active champion of national Outdoor Classroom Day each year.
Key elements of the school’s outdoor learning pedagogy are:
- Being in the natural environment - connecting with the natural environment.
- Full sensory, mind and body engagement - through mindfulness, proprioception and vestibular activities.
- Exploring local contexts and places - to identify environmental problems and issues through connecting to people and places.
- Learning by doing - through hands-on attentive exploring and inquiry.