At Forest Town Primary School we are very lucky to have extensive grounds including:
- two large playgrounds
- a garden area
- a large school field
- a trim trail
- a science garden
- a gazebo to use as an outdoor classroom
- a large Foundation Unit outdoor area
With all these wonderful spaces, we frequently use the outdoor environment to support our learning, providing children with hands on experiences and supporting them to make sense of the world around them by putting their learning into a meaningful context.
Recent studies have highlighted some benefits of outdoor learning for children:
- higher levels of conversational language
- greater independence
- improved health and sleeping patterns
- greater physical competence and agility
- improved time focus on activities and more concentration
- a greater understanding of nature and the environment
- improved social skills, involvement and initiative
Outdoor learning in Foundation
Children in Foundation have access to their large outdoor area during continuous provision. Alongside this free choice option, we also have specific outdoor learning sessions where the children explore the garden and the rest of the school grounds. Children in F1 have a session a week and children in F2 have a session a fortnight. Children go out whatever the weather in all weather suits provided by school. The activities the children take part in are led by their interests and really focus on develop communication and social skills. In F2, after the Outdoor Learning session children complete a piece of independent writing linked to a photograph/activity from their session.
KS1 and KS2
As the children leave Foundation their Outdoor Learning opportunities continue. The children have opportunities across our curriculum to experience learning outside the classroom. This can range from scientific experience, to purposeful maths to looking for inspiration for creative writing opportunities. These sessions put the children’s learning into context whilst still developing communication and social skills.