Weaverham Forest Primary School has a thriving Outdoor Learning programme, which was introduced as part of the mainstream curriculum to provide additional opportunities to "take learning outside." Our Learning environment is on the school premises and is used weekly by all Key Stage 1 and 2 year groups who take part in activities throughout the year.
Nursery and reception classes use our generous space and ample resources at frequent periods throughout the year also. Examples include Mini Forresters and Teddy Bears Picnics. The site is valued, respected and enjoyed by everyone in the school community.
What do we do at Outdoor Learning?
Individual year groups link our outdoor space and its resources to project work in areas such as georgraphy, science, PE and even maths. This could include exploring our dedicated garden for the habitats of bugs, or completing a fieldwork assessment of the number of plants within a metre squared quadrant.
During the weekly visits, safety is discussed and becomes embedded in the learning. Children learn to recognise risk, why rules apply and how to be safe in an outdoor environment. Over time the children risk assess their own situations enabling them to explore, discover, problem solve and learn using the seasons, nature and the outdoor environment. Elements of the curriculum are delivered outside and therefore sessions are part directed and part child led. Manners are encouraged at all times. When appropriate the children will learn safe tool use, bushcraft skills, seasonal nature based activities and outdoor cooking. All activities are small achievable tasks that encourage the children to succeed.
Why is Outdoor Learning important?
It is an important and valuable dimension to the children's school experience at Weaverham Forest Primary School. It enables children to connect with nature and it fosters a sense of respect and ownership with the outdoor environment. The activities are designed to develop self confidence and self esteem through hands on learning experiences using natural materials. The children learn how to be safe, keep their friends safe and treat the site with respect. It offers all children wider opportunities to thrive and celebrate skills that they wouldn't have the chance to share in the classroom.
We have recently installed a comprehensive (9-point KS1 and 15-pint KS2) orienteering course within the school grounds that doubles up as an Outdoor Learning resource. All classes have utilised this additional opportunity to take learning outside and be at one with our fabulous school environment.