During the Inset training days before the start of term, teachers shared ideas and worked together to develop their skills in utilising the great outdoors in all subject areas. With a maths focus we were challenged to estimate then measure angles in a range of objects in our natural world, but first of all we had to review our knowledge of angles by making angles with our bodies – I will not embarrass the staff by sharing the photographs but they were unique and most interesting! My particular favourite was Mrs. Duffy looking very ‘cute’ as she demonstrated her ‘a cute’ angle!
Each week Upper School staff have the opportunity to visit the Lower School where outdoor learning really is at its best with the numerous experiences we give the children outside of the classroom as part of the Early Years framework. The younger children use the outdoors as an extended classroom as they explore and discover with awe the wonders of the world developing in all areas of the curriculum through both planned and non-directed learning.
The benefits of outdoor learning are well researched and what better way to engage our young learners than to use our local environment to stimulate their curiosity and creativity, to develop and enrich their learning and understanding in all subjects.
Our weekly staff meetings have regular collaborative workshops for the staff to share ideas, extending our skill set and experience the joy of learning in a different environment from the traditional classroom. All of this is done to develop and enrich learning opportunities for your children. Many staff have also found a new found love in teaching elements of their subject in an alternative manner.
As you all know, learning does not stop at school! I would therefore encourage you all to engage with the National Trust’s list of 50 things to do before you are 11 ¾ (link below). Sharing these experiences with your children, or enabling them to experience these things individually or with siblings, family and friends, will enrich their lives and their development in so many ways.
Do ask your children about their outdoor learning experiences and allow them to reflect on how they have applied and developed their knowledge and skills in the great outdoors, both at school and at home.
The golden rule of outdoor learning is that there is no such thing as bad weather! So as the winter approaches we will continue to embrace the elements to extend the wonderful learning opportunities for the children – outdoors as well as in!