In essence, the curriculum most be inclusive, be a stimulus for personal achievement and, through the broadening of pupils' experience of the world, be an encouragement towards informed and responsible citizenship. A Curriculum for Excellence.
Why Do We do Outdoor Learning?
- Outdoor learning develops knowledge and skills in ways that add value to learners' everyday experiences in the classroom.
- It has a positive impact on long-term memory.
- It fosters the development of specific academic skills, as well as improved engagement, achievement and stronger motivation to learn.
- Outdoor learning impacts positively on young people's attitudes, beliefs and self-perceptions. For example, independence, confidence, self-esteem, personal effectiveness and coping strategies.
- It yields benefits in the promotion of positive behaviour and improved physical fitness.
- Outdoor learning has a positive effect on social development and great community involvement.
- It raises learners' attainment, improves attitudes towards the environment, and creates more positive relationships with each other, with teachers and with the wider community.
- It renews learners' pride in their community and fosters a greater sense of belonging and responsibility.
- Outdoor learning impacts positively on young people's interpersonal and social skills, such as communication skills, group cohesion and team work.
How Do We Do It?
"Outdoor learning" in an umbrella term which covers a huge curriculum and all manner of learning styles be they teacher-planned or child-initiated, directed or independent, physical or contemplative, challenging or creative. There are many opportunities offered at St. Francis school.
- Whole class learning time (1 hour a week)
- Play-times (2 sessions a day with some adult involvement)
- PE lessons (2 sessions per week)
- Gardening club (optional 4 hours a week)
- Visits to our designated Forest School site (two KS2 year groups for 3 hours a week for 6 weeks)
- Visits to the school's immediate locality (organised as part of whole class learning)
Whole Class Learning
Whether on site or off site, the children's outdoor learning experiences will enhance their learning within the National Curriculum. Although the focus of each session is on a specific learning objective, it will be presented within the Forest School ethos. Planning will always be in place, but flexibility and versatility are essential in order to accommodate both the changes of weather and the developing interests of the children. If appropriate, activities will be linked to current class topics, but stand-alone topics are also of great value. Many topics fit into many different areas, just like experiences in real life.