The programme "Experience Swanage" can be fairly called the discovery of this year within the project "Experience..." abroad.
It was the first time that our partner was not an ordinary language school, but a practical training centre for environmental education of English students - The Allnatt Centres.
Since 1924 The Allnatt Centres has been providing courses in biology, geography, ecology, including walks to the seaside and historical places of the region, in accordance with Britain's secondary school programme.
The Allnatt Centres is a member of the Federation of International Youth Travel Organizations (FIYTO), British Activity Holiday Association (BAHA) and the Institute of Outdoor Learning. It is licensed by the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA).
The Allnatt Centres is fairly proud of the fact that the members of the Royal Family King George V and Princess Ann studied there. Nowadays thousands of British students from all parts of the world come here all year round, and the number of foreign students in the center increases during holidays. Our group was the first one from Russia in the Allnatt Centres.
Swanage is situated on a sand coast in the region rich in geography and history, which makes The Allnatt Centres an incredibly attractive place both for studies and recreation. The centre has its own residence with several historic English buildings. Children live in apartments for 4-6 people, with amenities on every floor. In every house there is a comfortable lounge, where people gather in the evening to socialize with other students, watch TV and have tea.
The Allnatt Centres offered the students of "Mr. English" a special complex programme of learning English through environmental education and group trainings.
But what is so special about this programme and how does it differ from programmes of various language schools?
Children did not just stay in the classrooms until dinner time, trying to pierce the mysteries of English grammar rules, they were immersed in the language environment that enabled students to activate English.
How to achieve it?
Programme is carefully planned and structured
Alternative English classes
Unique outdoors activities
British teachers supervise students all day long.
The programme was structured so that children spent all days long with their English teachers: morning classes, afternoon sport activities and various evening entertainments: Allnatt Olympics, Murder Mystery, Campfire, Egg Drop, Allnatt Disco or Video Evening.
Language programme included classes on such topics as "The sea", "The formation of the coastline", "The peculiarities of the region's landscape" and so on.
Classes were conducted five days a week. The educational material was taken from textbooks which English students use for geography, biology and history classes. On the last day they summed up all the knowledge the students had got during the course and provided the children with certificates of attendance The Allnat Centres.
During the whole course of studies classes were organized in the following way: from 9.30 till 10.30 studies in the classrooms, where children learnt and practiced new vocabulary, then half hour break and again outdoor studies from 11:00 till 12:30 with the corresponding practical activities - walks to the seaside, examination of the coastline, purposeful journeys along the coast or in the parks.
At the classes, for example, children studied circulation of water in nature, went afterwards to the coast and examined the state of the sea - to define if it is the time of high or low tide, and what natural processes were happening at the moment.
There were also full-time classes, when children had breakfast at school, and then set off for the medieval Corfe Castle, for example; taking packed lunch with them. It takes about 3 hours to get to the castle, but a picturesque scene opens to the children as they approach it - staggering the imagination, a magnificent view on the Pool city's bay, the second naturally formed bay in the world (the first one is situated in Sidney). Throughout the way teachers acquaint children with the names of numerous flowers, plants and animals. Children grasp the information more quickly, when they are wondering around the ruins of the castle, listening to the legends of its origin, prosperity and destruction rather than they learn the same from textbooks.
There is a unique and interactive museum, containing historical and area information and everyone, who wishes to go there, has an opportunity to visit it for free.
Together with educational activities the Allnatt Centres organize professional outside trainings for children groups held by the centre's licensed specialists on rock-climbing, orienteering, archery, trampolining, swimming and softball.
Our group visited the largest base of European rope courses when, with the help of the series of special adventure activities, every child, individually and then together with the whole group, discovers and develops in himself such qualities as mutual understanding, friendship, responsibility, team spirit, leadership. Only experienced specialists work with children, who, undoubtedly, first and foremost take care of complete safety of the children.
The Allant Centres have a magnificent infrastructure for outside activities with children: two heated pools, tennis courts, football ground, trampoline, and training area for archery.
Very interesting and informative excursions were held in Swanage, Pool, London and Stonehenge. Participating in the tour, children had a unique opportunity to feel the atmosphere of these places. Children also visited Aquapark "Splashdown", they had a lot of pleasure while swimming and sliding there.
For 3 weeks children have enjoyed a hospitable and indeed a family atmosphere in the Allant Centres. Nobody wanted to leave, wishing to return there again.