Eyam Outdoor Classroom
Unique Outdoor Learning
Our Eyam site sits above the village of Eyam at Highcliffe. It’s an appropriate name, as we are 1300ft above sea level on the top of Eyam Edge. This steep escarpment marks the division between the ‘White Peak’ and the ‘Dark Peak’ From a geological perspective the bedrock of the ‘White Peak’ is limestone, whereas the bedrock of the ‘Dark Peak’ is gritstone, a form of sandstone traditionally used to make grindstones.
One of the joys of the Eyam site is the passing of the seasons and the differences that brings. Working and learning outdoors is the only way to connect with this changing environment.
Students visiting the site need to be prepared for our wild location. Boots, gloves, warm hats and coats are all recommended items in the winter. Sun protection is also important throughout the year.
“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”
– John Ruskin
Projects & Plans
The learning projects that occur at Eyam are rooted in the landscape and use the local materials as inspiration. The activities that we undertake are intimately linked to the spirit of place. We have created this section to inform you about unique characteristics of the site and the way these inform the curriculum. We see each project as a learning opportunity and students will be involved in the planning and implementation of these developments when they visit.
There is a wealth of evidence that learning in the outdoors is hugely important for child development. Our belief is that many aspects of the curriculum can be delivered through close contact with nature and through the many practical projects we undertake.
Our vision is to create an outdoor seasonal curriculum which braids the insights of Rudolph Steiner with Ruskin Mill Trust’s Practical Skills Therapeutic Education. Furthermore, in the collaborative building of a Biodynamic farm organism, students and teachers are helping to participate in the planning and emergence of outdoor learning spaces which are purpose built for ‘seed to table’ projects where the rhythms of nature are all important.
We value the use of natural materials, processes and traditional knowledge and skills. Experiential learning is at the core and problem solving is encouraged. We have a ‘child led’ approach, shaping the tasks and activities around the student and seizing the ‘here and now’, therefore always working with a child’s natural curiosity. The Seven Fields of Practice developed by Ruskin Mill Trust underpin this curriculum.