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A Unique Educational Adventure

Encounters with landscape, habitats, plants & animals

"It was a wonderful day out, full of hands on experiences. The children learnt and explored at their own level and getting to touch and see everything they were learning about means they'll remember it."

M. Kelly, Principal, Co. Cork.

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"You wouldn't expect what you find here. I never knew there were lizards in Ireland."

Claire, 6th Class Pupil

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FAQ about Ballyhoura Outdoor Classrooms

Who'll guide my group?

All programmes are led by one of our trained educators. Our educators will facilitate all the activities on the day and guide the teachers in where they can have lunch and use the facilities.

For teachers who prefer to take a lead role and guide their own fieldtrip, every assistance and support will be provided. At Griston Bog, we can provide sample lesson plans and equipment to teachers who would like to self guide.

How many leaders are needed?

This depends on the size of your class. It is recommended that groups bring one leader per 10 children. Note that it is the school’s responsibility to ensure an adequate adult:child ratio is maintained.

Do we have to be a DPSM registered school to visit or follow the Discover Science and Maths Programmes?

No, all schools have the option of following the Discover Science and Maths programmes. However to gain DPSM Award certification the school must register and follow the award guidelines, see here for more information.

Will there be other schools or people at the Outdoor Classroom at the same time as us?

These sites are also public amenities and remain open to walkers and visitors. Children should therefore be managed as they would in a museum or other public space.

I’m worried about the safety of the children.

Each Ballyhoura Outdoor Classroom has been designed with child safety in mind and has had a Health and Safety assessment.

We recommend that you take the usual precautions that would apply to visiting any public place with your class e.g. a museum, combined with those for being outdoors e.g. in the school yard.
The following guidelines will also help ensure the safety of the children

  • Before your fieldtrip, prepare the class by discussing risks and their management. The rules and conservation guidelines download document may help.
  • Organise a class buddy system.
  • Ensure appropriate footwear and clothing.
  • On your fieldtrip, ensure an adequate ratio of adults to children, with everyone clearly briefed and confident in their role and responsibilities. Make sure that the children know which adults are with you.
  • Ensure the geographical limits within which children may explore for each activity are clear.
  • Practice caution with plants, insects and other animals that may sting or bite.
  • Cover all cuts and grazes with plasters if pond-dipping.
  • Make sure hands are washed before eating.
    • How much does it cost to bring a class to a Ballyhoura Outdoor Classroom?

      The fee for 2015 is €6 per child with a supplement of €2 if pond-dipping is required at Lough Gur.

      How do we pay?

      The Outdoor Classroom that you choose to visit will issue you with an invoice. Payment, direct to that centre, can be by cheque, credit card or even cash on the day.

      How much time do I need for my school visit?

      Our programmes are made up of a series of educational activities and take approximately 2 hours in total. Longer and shorter visits are possible too.

      Are there toilets?

      Yes, all Ballyhoura Outdoor Classrooms have at least a disabled access toilet.

      What if it’s raining?

      Assume it will be raining! Site facilities and activities have been designed to work in the rain.
      Make sure that you and the children are dressed for the rain, wind and cold. Schools are advised to bring appropriate rain jackets and trousers, plus adequate footwear and spare clothes.

      In the case of severe inclement weather there is a shelter and activities that can accommodate school groups. Your fieldtrip can still be just as much fun in the rain if the children are dressed appropriately.

      What preparation is needed with my class before the visit?

      We recommend that you review the rules and conservation guidelines. Make sure that everyone is prepared with regards to clothing and what to expect. It will also be useful for your class to be familiar with the theme that you have chosen for study.

      What about equipment?

      You will be welcomed on arrival at the Outdoor Classrooms by a Ranger/ Guide who will provide you with the equipment you need. You may be asked to bring something easily found such as plastic bottles or toilet rolls depending on the programme requested.

      Is there enough parking space for a large coach?

      Yes, there is sufficient parking and it will be reserved for your group. Check the parking arrangements specific to the site you are visiting so that you can direct the bus driver.

      Aren’t we harming wildlife by picking plants and catching insects?

      Large-scale and random collecting would certainly harm wildlife. To avoid this, we have designed our activities to steer the children towards plants and insects that are common and away from rarer species. Only small fragments of plants are ever collected and the lesson plans for activity specify amounts.

      All animals must be returned to their homes.

      We also recommend that you familiarise your class with the rules and conservation guidelines for the Outdoor Classroom that you are visiting.

      Age suitability?

      Each Ballyhoura Outdoor Classroom has been designed to be safe and appropriate for all ages.

      Size of group possible?

      Each Ballyhoura Outdoor Classroom has its own capacity (between 40-60 children) so check in the description of each site how many children can be accommodated.

      I’ve still got more questions!

      Phone Annette on 063 91300 or email We’re here to help

"Because you're leading the kids in the activities it's very real for you as the teacher. When the kids are talking about the visit the next day in school you can really appreciate what they say because you did the activities with them. There's a great satisfaction in leading the group yourself. "

Mr. O'Sullivan, 5th Class Teacher, Co. Cork.

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"The children are really engaged all the time. It's 'painless learning', they don't realise they're at it"

Ms. Murphy, Principal, Co. Limerick.

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"Having visited the site with my class and lead the activities myself, I think the self-guiding aspect works really well"

Mr. Breen, 5th Class Teacher, Co. Cork.

Ballyhoura Outdoor Classroom is designed by Grey Heron Media & Environment
& managed by Ballyhoura Heritage & Environment Ltd, Main St, Kilfinane, Co. Limerick.

The project is supported by

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