Learning Outside the Classroom
At St. Paul's we value the importance of learning outside the classroom. We have amazing grounds here at our school and we regularly take learning outside and engage in activities linked to a whole range of subjects across the curriculum, such as:
Maths - Looking for and describing shapes in the outdoor environment; chalking part-whole models and number sentences on the playground; making two-digit numbers from Tens and Ones using sticks and stones; measuring natural objects and the length of different areas outside.
English - Collecting vocabulary; role playing stories; using the outdoors as inspiration for story writing; treasure hunt phonics activities; listening to stories.
Science - Exploring plants and habitats; a specific Forest school unit.
RE - Following prayer trails; reflecting on Creation by looking at the natural world around us.
PE - using the playgrounds and cricket fields for different areas of PE learning.
Geography - Using compass skills to get to a location; exploring the local area outside school; traffic surveys; exploring the layout of the school grounds to create 3D maps and messy maps; journey sticks.
History - Re-enacting historical events.
Music - Using the sound garden instruments; making music with natural objects.
ICT - Creating ipad art of the landscape around us inspired by David Hockney.
Learning outdoors has so many benefits, it helps us to learn to be responsible and interact positively with the outdoor environment. It supports the development of social skills, independence, exploration, risk taking and problem solving. Have a look on the class and subject pages, where they will have photographs of activities where the children have been learning outside.
“An inspirational process that offers children, young people and adults regular opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a local woodland environment.” Forest School Association.
At St Paul’s we are lucky enough to have a natural woodland area to offer the children an insight into the Forest School ethos. This approach to outdoor learning Forest School began in Scandinavia and arrived in the UK in 1993. It has grown from strength to strength and is a long-term venture that supports play, exploration and supported risk taking.
Forest School develops children’s self-confidence, communication skills, independence and self-esteem through child-centred, hands-on experiences. It encourages children to become independent, use their imagination, take appropriate risks within boundaries and initiate learning for themselves. Using the outdoors provides our learners with a vibrant and inspirational learning environment which promotes curiosity, creativity and involvement helping children to become resilient, confident, independent and creative learners. It enables them to flourish and develop their God-given potential. Forest School is a holistic approach to learning, incorporating children’s individuality and develops their skills for lifelong learning. It can cover all areas of learning, including the emotional and spiritual aspects of learning where self-esteem and self-confidence can grow and positive relationships with peers can be formed. It helps learners to develop socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically and intellectually.
Forest School explores the outdoors and the natural environment with practical, useful activities all year round. On a Friday different classes head outside for Forest Friday time. Through this and our Forest School/Outdoor learning theme days they get a chance to explore activities such as den building, investigating birds, trees and plants, using map skills and cooking popcorn over a fire pit. Children develop the ability to work as a team and learn some woodland skills. As well as learning about the natural environment they learn how to assess and handle risks and most importantly to use their own initiative to solve problems and co-operate with others.
We also regularly participate in Global Outdoor Classroom Day which inspires and celebrates outdoor play and learning.
Don't forget to get outside as much as you can, rain or shine! Look at nature and take time to appreciate the sights, smells and sounds all around you.