Vision and Intent – Why we deliver outdoor learning:
At Castle, we believe it is important for all children to have opportunities to learn outside the classroom. Our vision is to provide every child regular opportunities to learn about and in nature. This vision is driven by the belief that:• Outdoor Learning (OL) provides opportunities to enhance and enrich children’s school experience and promote the love of outdoors.• Being outdoors can have positive social, emotional and mental health benefits, whilst also supporting academic success. This is supported by a wealth of research showing the benefits of regular time spent in nature.• Regular time spent outside encourages active and healthy lifestyles.• OL provides opportunities to enhance the curriculum by connecting what is learnt in the classroom with real life experiences, for example changing seasons.
This vision directly supports our school values:
Value Learning – OL can enrich the existing curriculum across a wide variety of subjects supporting children’s engagement in their learning. Furthermore, it helps children to develop knowledge and understanding about the natural world, develop outdoor skills, whilst also enabling children to learn about important environmental issues (e.g. climate change).
Value others – By connecting children to the natural world, we can inspire then to act on behalf of nature; to proactively care for our planet, and its inhabitants, for future generations.
Valuing ourselves – Research shows that learning in nature supports children to develop active and healthy lifestyles (both physically and mentally). Furthermore, by aiming to make OL an integral part of the curriculum, we aim to proactivity promote a love of nature and the outdoors and help children to develop an understanding of the impact they can have.
Implementation – How we teach Outdoor Learning:
We aim for OL to become an integral part of the curriculum. This will support our school vision by ensuring all children can benefit from having regular opportunities to learn about and in nature. This has begun in EYFS and KS1, with children having weekly or fortnightly opportunities to engage in outdoor learning activities. Furthermore all year groups have participated in whole school outdoor learning days.
Going forward we want to enable all year groups to have regular OL sessions. These may be in the form of whole school dedicated OL days, trips and visits off site, as well as sessions at school. As mentioned, we see OL as an opportunity to enrich many areas of the curriculum, thus sessions may be inspired by seasons, national curriculum links or local/national events and initiatives.
We are fortunate at Castle Primary that our grounds provide capacity for a range of outdoor learning activities, and we are continuing to develop these to provide inspiring places for the children to experience OL. There is also a dedicated OL classroom under development, which will provide a space for all year groups to plan a range of OL activities.
By the time children leave Castle Primary they will:• Have had positive outdoor experiences, which will support their physical and mental health.• Have a greater appreciation of the natural world by respecting nature and understanding their role in caring for it.• Understand their role in reducing their impact on the natural world, caring for our planet and the impact of climate change