Our mission is to provide children and young people of all backgrounds with a safe and secure environment to experience the wonderful benefits outdoor education provides. We aim to develop confidence, skills and emotional well-being whilst encouraging an active, respectful and positive approach to life.
East Soar Farm is home to Schalk, Marijke their 3 children and Daisy dog. Both Schalk and Marijke are passionate about the benefits that outdoor education provides for children and young people. They have the academic and practical expertise to ensure the success of every visit.
Schalk (BAHon PGCE PGC in Physical Education) and Marijke (BAHon PGCE) have more than 18 years experience between them teaching in specialist primary and secondary schools and have personal family experience of ASD. Schalk also has many years experience in working with children and young people in the outdoors. He is a qualified forest school instructor and Duke of Edinburgh expedition leader and assessor. East Soar Outdoor Experience is also a member of the Forest School Association.
Programmes at East Soar Farm are suited for both Primary and Secondary aged children and vary in length from half-day visits to week long residential trips.
The whole experience is facilitated creating a unique 'family feel'. The activities are 'low risk' and designed to be accessible to children of all abilities, the emphasis is on building life skills. At its core every programme has the social, emotional, personal and physical development of the individual. Programmes are designed with the needs and desired outcomes of each group in mind, whether that may be to have an enjoyable day in the great outdoors or to successfully complete a Duke of Edinburgh's expedition. Several cross curricular links can be built into the programme and other awards and qualifications also obtained or supported (DofE, ASDAN, John Muir Award, National Navigation Award Scheme). As well as an extensive vegetable garden; pet sheep, chickens, pigs, pygmy goats, pony and donkeys provide children with the added opportunity to become involved and develop their own confidence. Pond dipping platforms enable children to explore our extensive pond area. Children leave the centre with a feeling of achievement and pride in newly gained skills.
Excellent links with other outdoor education providers have been established enabling schools to combine sailing (Salcombe Dinghy Sailing), surfing (Bantham Surfing Academy), Stand up paddle boarding and Kayaking (Sea Kayak Salcombe) within our specially designed programmes.
We welcome visits from schools and staff members to have a look around our wonderful and unique facilities.
We can provide training and assessment for the practice and assessed expeditions in the Bronze and Silver DofE awards.
The John Muir Award is an environmental award scheme focused on wild places. It encourages awareness and responsibility for the natural environment, in a spirit of fun, adventure and exploration. The Award is open to all, and is the educational initiative of the John Muir Trust. Four Challenges are at the heart of each John Muir Award; discover - explore -conserve - share. We can facilitate the award as part of a day-visit or residential programme. Certificates are available for achieving candidates. East Soar Outdoor Experience is a recognised John Muir Provider.
The focus of the Young Navigator awards is to encourage exploration and journeying in local areas using simple maps. There is a gradual learning progression via One Star (bronze), Two Star (silver) and Three Star (gold) levels with certificates and badges available for achieving candidates.We can facilitate the award as part of a day-visit or residential programme.
East Soar Outdoor Experience is a member of the Forest School Association. Schalk is a Forest School leader applying selected Forest School principles and activities within a broader Outdoor Educational approach.
East Soar Outdoor Experience is situated on seven and a half acres within the spectacular 600 acre East Soar Farm. The site comprises several stone barns, fields, paddocks and a small bit of woodland. As well as the Walkers’ Hut and purpose built ablution block the site offers accommodation in pre pitched bell tents and the Swallows’ nest. Sole use of the site ensures added safety and comfort of school groups. Boys and girls are separated and staff members are provided with their own sleeping accommodation. The Walkers’ Hut and other barns offer enough indoor space in the event of bad weather.
Meals are prepared freshly on site with produce sourced locally. All our beef and pork used for school meals are provided by our local butchers.
All dinner options come with a vegetarian alternative. It is the schools responsibility to make us aware of any specific dietary requirements students may have.
Both Schalk and Marijke have a Level 2 Food Hygiene Certificate. East Soar Outdoor Experience is registered with the South Hams District Council, adhere to food and hygiene regulations and is inspected by the council. Current scores on the doors is 5.
We pride ourselves on offering a safe environment for students and staff. All activities are done on site or the surrounding area. Marijke and Schalk are both CRB checked and first aid trained. East soar farm and all activities have been risk and fire assessed. All policies are available on request.
Daily itineraries are discussed with schools and provided before arrival. Schools decide what activities they would like to do and we work out a programme of events to suit the schools individual needs.
“Having taken a group of year 11 pupils to the East Soar Outdoor Experience I would recommend the trip to any school or group. The staff are highly professional while incredibly hospitable and made us all feel very welcome. The activities provided were ideal for a group of pupils from London who wanted to spend some time enjoying all the pleasures the English countryside has to offer. The pupils and staff on the trip thoroughly enjoyed the experience and we will be visiting East Soar Outdoor Experience again this year."
Ben Walsh - Secondary Curriculum Coordinator
“A fantastic trip was had by all. Although it was the first time away from home for lots of pupils, everyone soon forgot their anxieties as they were given a friendly welcome by Schalk and his family, and a tour around the incredible grounds and facilities. There was no time to be homesick with the brilliant and varied range of activities and something to interest every pupil (and member of staff!) From crab-catching to dam building at the beach, to stories around the camp fire, the pupils had endless opportunities to work together, build their confidence and enjoy being outdoors. The food was healthy and delicious and very well earned after a hard day’s walking and playing games! The trip offered invaluable opportunities to develop independence and self-care skills in a safe and friendly environment and by the end of the three days, no one wanted to leave!"
Jeanne Milstein - Blossom House School
“East Soar Farm is an absolute must for any school looking for a safe, friendly and extremely well organised Duke of Edinburgh practical assessment provider. With a leader as experienced and accomplished as Schalk, every expedition is guaranteed to be a success. The environment that encompasses East Soar farm lends itself to a challenging but eye catching expedition walk, along the coastal paths and across rolling fields. All the children thoroughly enjoyed themselves and gained valuable social, emotional and independence skills. This was made possible by the supportive and nurturing environment offered by Schalk and his family, throughout our time at East Soar. We will definitely be back again next year"
Roger White - Head of PE