Weather, Walks and Wonder!

So far the weather has been a prevailing theme during our School in Nature and today was no different. As usual, the weather changed more often than Lucie Bila does during a concert. And as usual, the students and staff of Open Gate never let a monumnetal early afternoon downpour from the low-hanging clouds slinking across the valley get in the way of our fun today. But that is all I will say on the weather. One imporatant message from everyone up here in Krkonose is a huge, massive and very Happy Birthday to our very own Bara Sirkova. We all hope that you have had a wonderful day! So what did we do today? Of course there were tasty feasts throughout the day and like yesterday, we had classes in the morning. In the afternoon, all the students took part in a great first aid activity organised by Maruska and Evicka. As I was walking around, I did see a number of teachers down injured and in need of the first aid and treatment, though I am not sure if that was part of the exercise or just natural! Either way, all the students proved themselves to be eager and budding first aiders and would no doubt be on the ready and well able for anything that comes their way. After the first aid, class 5A and four members of class 5B went on an epic trek to Serin and even on to higher ground, hiking and climbing for over an hour up to 1,039 metres to reach the summit of Black Rock! The rest of the classes were able to take advantage of a much needed sunny spell to get outside and stretch their legs and run around. In the evening it was film club and we all settled in to watch The Little Prince which we all thoroughly enjoyed. And then with sleepy eyes after a day packed full of fun, it was off to bed.

For me, this is the third day of my third School in Nature. One thing I have noticed each year is how wonderful it is for students and teachers alike to spend time together, outside of the classroom and outside of our usual environment. Having classes outside on the side of a beautiful valley in one of the most picturesque parts of the Czech Republic is a wonderful experience for all of us. Walking in the forest, building little houses, playing games like Agenti Akce and King Ball, breathing in the fresh mountain air, singing songs and tasty feasts together, they are all an integral part of a wonderful and vital expereince for all of us, no matter how young or old. When I was growing up in Ireland, there was no tradition of anything like School in Nature. It was definitely our loss but I count everyday of every School in Nature trip as my gain, and gain of all the students and teachers. Getting to know the students better, my fellow colleagues better, and realising what a beautiful country I have chosen as my second home is always a pleasure and a wonderful experience. So before I sign of, a big hello from everyone here to class 1 who are camping in Open Gate this evening. Enjoy your tasty sausages and don’t be too scared when if you here the big furry monster howling at the moon!