Wallace Environmental Learning Laboratory (WELL)
Singapore’s first and only learning laboratory in the forest, Wallace Environmental Learning Laboratory (WELL) originated as a simple reforestation project. The vision and efforts of a group of educationists from Raffles Girls’ School, the Singapore American School, Corporation Primary School, Jun Yuan Secondary School, and the National Institute of Singapore brought about the project’s evolution into a nature learning camp and now into an advanced forest laboratory.
WELL was established by RGS and NParks with sponsorship from GlaxoSmithKline and the support of the Economic Development Board. It was officially opened by the Minister for National Development, Mr Mah Bow Tan, on 5 September 2009. Converted from an old cowshed in Dairy Farm Nature Park, a natural environment rich in biodiversity, history and geographical features, WELL transports students from textbooks, pictures and websites to a real ecological world, giving them a learning experience that classrooms and computers can never simulate. WELL is developed with the objective of promoting environmental education through fieldwork; in parallel with environmental education, many other interdisciplinary learning opportunities are also afforded through WELL, which is a one-stop learning centre for scientific research, national education, community service, teacher training and international exchange.
PARTNERSHIP WITH SCHOOLS AND INSTITUTIONS
WELL is available for partner participating schools to run their own programmes. This will provide more opportunities for RGS and partner schools to work closer together on programmes, community service or other research projects.
WELL also provide professional development to equip educators with competency in fieldwork, equipment handling and care for the environment. Formal programme and on-site curriculum development training is needed to equip educators in the proper delivery of field studies and research programmes.
In May 2010, the WELL Community of Teachers (WELLCoT) was officially launched. This is a community of interested educators drawn from different primary and secondary schools, MOE HQ and NIE for the purpose of meeting the outcome to ensure WELL can fulfill its objective on a sustainable basis. Members come together to design for students a range of programmes for an authentic learning experience that only WELL’s location and facilities can offer. At present, 53 organisations are members of WELLCoT with a total of 104 members. The team comprises educators both from the local and international schools in various disciplines: Geography, History, Biology, Outdoor Education, Art, Lower Secondary Science and Primary Science.
Teachers and students from all schools in Singapore will be able to take learning to real, new heights in the Wallace Environmental Learning Laboratory (WELL).