The Findhorn Foundation is a world-renowned holistic learning centre set within a community and ecovillage in the north of Scotland. The Foundation has provided experience and life-long learning since 1974.
For many years schools have visited The Park, the site of the Findhorn Ecovillage, for half-day ecological tours. In 2007 we realised there existed the potential for another level of learning, experience and discovery when Rokeby School, a multicultural, multi-faith inner-city school in east London, asked to spend ten days at The Park to experience the community and its ecological lifestyle, and learn and practise nonviolent communication.
The students wanted their school to be eco-friendly and the school culture to be based on a new respect policy they had created. Willie Deighan, the Deputy Head at the time, had been inspired by the positive approach of a conference, What Schools Are Getting Right, held at the Findhorn Foundation in September 2006, so he asked if 24 boys aged 12 to 15 could visit Findhorn to help them have real experience of what they were aiming to achieve.
After an action packed week at the Findhorn Foundation the 24 students returned as a cohesive group – more engaged, more aware and with greatly improved attitudes and behaviours towards their learning and towards others.
What we offer
The Park, Findhorn provides a rich interactive classroom for young people. We now offer tailor made packages for primary and secondary schools encouraging sustainability from the inside out.
A Great Day Out – relevant, inspiring, engaging
Half-day and one-day packages for primary and secondary schools cover many aspects of the Curriculum for Excellence:
- encouraging confident individuals
- promoting informed and responsible citizenship
- maximising successful learning
- growing effective contributors
- building social skills
Optional school outreach visits before and/or after the day provide scene setting and follow up learning.
Our menu of activities include:
Health and Wellbeing
- creative games and exercises help build self-esteem and integrity
- group discovery games help students combine fun with insight into their individual strengths and challenges. Sharing insights and feelings after the experiences encourages awareness and expression of a deep sense of self.
- a group project in the gardens or in maintenance or building helps students learn respect and co-operation and gives a sense of achievement.
- learning and practising the principles of nonviolent communication begins a life long strategy for engaging with feelings and interactions with others. This includes introducing and developing the qualities of authenticity, self-empathy and deep listening, discriminating between observing and judging, learning to connect deeply with others, becoming aware of unconscious behaviours and responses, identifying the needs behind the words and understanding the source of conflicts and how to manage conflict constructively.
Experience an ecovillage first hand:
1. See a variety of ecological houses and buildings:
- recycled whisky barrel houses
- buildings using recycled stone and telegraph poles
- ‘living’ turf and sedum roofs
- use of passive solar gain, solar panels and solar heating systems
- breathing wall technology which allows the removal of moisture without loss of heat
- experimental ecomobile homes
- homes of locally sourced stone, tiles and timber using non-toxic materials
- a variety of heating systems: wood burning stoves, gas and wood pellet boilers, electric boilers and a heat pump
- Earth Ships constructed of recycled tyres filled with rammed earth and then covered with turf
- different insulation techniques including straw bale and recycled paper
- creative use of stone, wood, tile, clay and glass in many buildings to capture beauty as an important element of any sustainable project
2. Visit a permaculture garden and learn about the three principles of permaculture: care for the earth, care for people and fair share.
Discover ways to apply this in daily life through:
- recycling – see and hear about different ways of recycling uncooked and cooked food, and about paper and glass
- composting – see a compost lifecycle and how we can create more successful compost
- renewable energy – see four wind turbines up close, a biomass boiler system using wood pellets, and solar panels.
- energy efficiency – energy storage and selling energy back to the grid. Find out how a carpool works
- growing your own food – visit vegetable, flower and herb gardens and discover how poly tunnels can provide seasonal food all year
3. Visit The Living Machine sewage treatment plant – not smelly and unattractive as you might expect! In this space, which looks more like a greenhouse, hear how waste water and sewage can be purified through a series of tanks containing plants and bacteria that break down the waste, without using chemicals, in a process similar to natural decomposition. See the clean water as a result.
4. Discover ways to help your school qualify for Eco-School Awards
Learn about co-operative living:
- organic food production
- cooking in community kitchens
- ethical businesses such as Big Sky printing and ethical community businesses such as Phoenix Community Stores and Earthshare
- creating your own currency
- minimising environmental impact including shared laundries, heating systems and transport
- co-operative decision making: the use of unanimity, consensus and Dynamic Self Governance
The Findhorn Foundation also offers residential weeks for schools, to immerse students in enjoyable experiential discovery. It is possible to choose areas of focus, based on the list above.
To discuss content and pricing please email or call 01309 690311.