At St. George's we put a high emphasis on outdoor learning, particularly in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. Every child has continuous provision within designated outdoor areas, including two Forest Schools.
Outdoor Learning can provide a dramatic contrast to the indoor classroom. Direct experience outdoors is more motivating and has more impact and credibility. Through skilled teaching, outdoor experiences readily become a stimulating source of fascination, personal growth and breakthroughs in learning.
Outdoor Learning is active learning in the outdoors
In Outdoor Learning our children learn through what they do, through what they encounter and through what they discover. Young children learn about the outdoors, themselves and each other, while also learning outdoor skills. Active learning readily develops the learning skills of enquiry, experiment, feedback, reflection, review and cooperative learning.
Outdoor Learning is real learning
Outdoor Learning can help to bring many school subjects alive while also providing experiential opportunities for fulfilling the National Curriculum aim "to enable pupils to respond positively to opportunities, challenges and responsibilities, to manage risk and to cope with change and adversity." They are able to see, touch, taste, hear and smell the world around them.
Outdoor Learning broadens horizons and stimulates new interests
There is no limit to the experiences and curiosities that outdoor environments and activities can arouse. Children frequently discover potential, abilities and interests that surprise themselves and others. Safety codes and daily risk assessments provide clear boundaries and learning goals give clear direction.
During the summer term year 1 and 2 are going on an educational visit to Sundown Adventure Land as part of our topic Knights and Castles. We will explore the fairytale village to inspire our writing. In addition to this we have been building castles in our forest area using our den building equipment and we have made sure to include the features of castles. In our story telling area we have been role playing lots of different traditional tales, acting out the stories to help us with our writing. Earlier in the year we planted lots of beautiful flowers and we are sharing the responsibility to care for them. Each day we measure the rain water before pouring it over our plants.
This academic year has included a whole school visit to the seaside town of Bridlington on the east coast. In the summer term, Years 3 and 4 are going on a residential visit to Sherwood Forest where they will be taking part in orienteering, den building and lots of tree climbing! Years 5 and 6 are going to Harworth on their residential. This will involve lots of exploring of caves and hill climbing.
Our KS2 children also have access to the KS1 Forest Schools and are often seen taking their learning outdoors. Plans are also being developed to create a fifth permanent Outdoor Learning area for our Y3 children in 2016. Quite recently our Y6 children were busy designing and building the Canadian phenomenon "Innukuks". Learning often takes place within our outdoor classroom, the fairy tale huts (great for narrative writing), our allotment and garden. We are very lucky to have all these spaces to bring learning alive!