At Rhodes Avenue we believe that children benefit from being outdoors, whatever the weather, to get hands-on experience in the natural environment. Each year group has regular timetabled Forest School/Outdoor Learning either in a half term block or on a rotational basis with other classes in the same year group. Sessions are planned to allow children the chance to learn, explore, challenge, observe, create, build, imagine and play.
Each year children will also participate in whole school outdoor learning events such as Den Week. We also organise for specialists, such as TCV – The Conservation Volunteers, to visit and work with the children to develop their knowledge and skills.
Outdoor learning ties in with many areas of the National Curriculum, perhaps most obviously to science(e.g. studying mini beasts, plants, trees and wild life) but also to geography (e.g. seasons and weather) design and technology (building, woodcraft) maths (e.g. measuring, estimating) art (e.g. bark rubbings, woodland faces) and literacy (e.g. sessions links to stories like Stick Man or The Billy Goats Gruff).
- Understanding the natural environment: study of flora and fauna – for example learning about a variety of mini beasts, building bug hotels or identifying trees, studying lichen or fungi. Developing an understanding the woodland ecosystem and importance of biodiversity for example through the study of worms and other decomposers.
- Practical skills: using tools, whittling, building shelters, lighting fires, tying knots, campfire cooking.
- Creative development: using the natural environment to inspire and develop creative and imaginative thinking and through natural art, stories and music.
- Personal Social Health and Emotional: allowing opportunities to evaluate and take appropriate risks, challenge and conquer fears/anxieties about the natural world (e.g. dirt, spiders!) work successfully in groups, negotiate, problem solve, work independently and self-direct learning and development according to interests.
- Keeping safe: learning to identify and act appropriately in response to hazards, both natural (e.g stings, nettles) and man- made (fire, tools).
Outdoor Learning takes place in all weathers with the exception of high winds for safety reasons. Some of the best fun has been had in rain and snow!
“It’s more of an adventure when it’s raining!” Year 4 pupil.
Children should come to sessions dressed appropriately for the weather so that they can fully enjoy their time outdoors. Waterproof trousers and jackets are available in school, but all children should have wellies/boots or a change of shoes/trainers.