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OBE’S, or Old Buckenham Explorers was founded three years ago. Its aim, very simply, is to develop all the skills – both physical and emotional – that children possess, and bring them to the fore at an earlier stage in their development. Children may excel in the classroom, music hall or on the sports field but not all children are given the chance to enhance those natural talents which play such a key part in their future lives. These skills – leadership, problem solving, self-reliance and teamwork – are the foundations of our curriculum-embedded OBE programme. We as teachers are all too familiar with pigeonholing students into being good at sport or academics or music, but do we really know the potential of every child and what they can achieve?
“I can’t believe that I have just done it! Even my parents have never done that before!”
The OBE programme is broken into three modules which increase in challenge as the children progress through the year groups, starting in Years 3/4.
The first module, ‘Skills’ covers the acquisition of specific skills such as map reading, orienteering, basic shelter building, fire safety, food preparation, first aid and swim survival. The second module, ‘Physical’ entails challenges such as biathlons which include a swimming, walking and climbing component. The third module, ‘Community’ sees children undertaking fundraising and team building projects, helping local community projects. all children participate in the programme and all children receive a Diploma at the conclusion of the programme.
“I will never forget this experience I feel so proud of myself”
Children undoubtedly struggle at some stage during the OBE programme, yet this is a huge and planned part of their development. Their character and ultimately their leadership skills will emerge, confidence will grow, and they will learn through experience the highs and lows of outdoor education. Some may find that particular skills will aid them in the future both in their senior school and in the work place, some may just use their skills on the family holiday or in school. Irrespective of this, they all know that at some point in the programme they will be challenged both physically and emotionally more than they ever have been before. Knowing ones limits is a useful tool to acquire and one we purposefully include in OBEs – knowing how to push past those limits is the key to self-confidence and huge personal development.
Our belief is that the enrichment children gain from the OBE programme filters down into other areas of the school, giving the children more confidence in the knowledge that they have already gained some very valuable life skills.
“I never thought I could push myself so far, this has been the best experience of my life”