Outdoor Learning is an active, experimental approach to learning that involves being outdoors as central part of the experience. It seeks to use the outdoor environment as a vehicle for transforming the experience into knowledge, skills, attitudes and actions.
At Percy Main we believe that our outdoor learning environments have much to offer and value the importance of using the natural environment for the stimulation of learning and promotion of health and well being amongst our children. As a school we are committed to work hard to continue to develop these areas.
Through skilled teaching, interpretation and facilitation we believe outdoor experiences can provide access and freedom to a type of learning that is difficult to replicate indoors, allowing children to respond positively to new experiences, opportunities, challenges, enquiries and responsibilities. At Percy Main we feel it is important to enable children to use the outdoor environment as a context for learning throughout the year.
Despite huge local interest the National Trust are still insisting fairies do not exist. Yet they continue to publicly declare that ‘Due to high numbers of fairy doors being spotted’ that they are again bringing in fairy controls to Wayford Wood in Sommerset. Their concerns that the wood is becoming overcrowded with fairies and that many face eviction caught the attention of our Year 2 children who were horrified at the thought of fairies losing their homes and decided to come up with a solution to the problem and try to help them.
Nestled away in a hidden area of our school grounds we have our own forest garden and as our Year 2 classroom over looks this lush green forest area the children were quick to decide that the garden may be the perfect place for the fairies to move to. Their first task was therefore to explore the garden and come up with ideas of what the natural environment could offer the fairies.
The children responded to the plight of the homeless fairies by using their imagination and suggested that if the fairies lay on the grass at night time they would be able to look up at the stars. By the fire pit they could keep warm if they were cold and under the toadstools they would be able to find a perfect shelter. In the storytelling area they could share woodland tales together and by the miniature cherry blossom trees they could use fallen pink blossom to make beautiful fairy crowns. Each of the children’s suggestions were recorded on a laminated piece of paper which was then either hung on a tree or placed somewhere in the garden and left there overnight so that the fairies could read the children’s ideas.
Next morning on their arrival at school the children noticed how the garden looked different. Little boxes were appearing where none had been found before and on closer inspection inside the boxes were hidden an assortment of tiny miniature belongings. Even a beach had appeared! Had they been left as a gift for the children or were they signs of hope that the homeless fairies liked our garden so much that they wanted to move in? The children decided to leave the belonging where they had been placed as whoever had left them was certainly reading the helpful suggestion signs the children had left hanging in the garden.
The next day a message was found written in the smallest handwriting you could imagine. The message had been stuck on a small lolly stick and read “We love you Class 2. Love from the Fairies.”
The children upon their arrival at school were informed of the message that had been found and with heartfelt emotion they replied by writing their own.
Fairies are more than welcome in our Forest Garden.
At Percy Main, we fully supports the ethos of Learning Outside the Classroom and the LOtC principles are embedded into the way we teach ever subject. So Empty Classroom Day fits in to our curriculum perfectly!
Empty Classroom Day encourages schools to make sure that each class spends at least one lesson outdoors on the day. Learning outside the classroom makes learning fun, memorable and healthy.
This year Keep Britain Tidy will be running the day through the Eco-Schools England programme, in collaboration with Project Dirt and the Persil “Dirt is good” campaign.
This year, many classes took to the gardens and playground to take part in creative and engaging activities. Some made their own obstacle course. Others role played Grace Darling's rescue and then, in groups, drew the stormy sea rescue on the playground in chalk. Whilst others made Blobsters, wrote rainforest inspired poems and had a ‘Tree’ Party.
It was a damp, soggy day but we all had great fun!
Discussions were held around ways to further engage Key Stage Two with outdoor learning, development of school grounds to fully enhance LOtC experiences and the possibility of a whole day CPD event to support outdoor learning and Forest schools.
On Wednesday 15th June 2016 we met again. The session began by looking at creative ways that Maths can be taught outdoors using natural materials.
We then moved outside to underatke a Forest School session. Attendees were invited to create a Blobster out of clay and natural materials found in and around our Forest Garden. They were then asked to make a den for their new creature. We finished the session around the fire to reflect on the session and enjoy a fruit drink.
Our next meeting is planned for the beginning of Autumn details. Further details to follow.
She showed us how to start and manage a fire using our school fire pits; went through safety and first aid procedures and discussed possible uses and curriculum links that could be taught.
We all had a great time learning how to use fire steels and materials to start and maintain a fire and, on a more serious note, how to ensure the children's safety whilst still allowing the children to develop the skills of fire making, perseverance, resilience, resourcefulness and collaboration.
We also got to enjoy marshmallows toasted on the fire and bananas and chocolate cooked on an open flame...yummy!
Check out the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom for more details and voting details:
LOtC Mark (Gold) recognises exemplary LOtC provision in schools and indicates that a school is a leader in ensuring that all pupils have access to frequent, continuous and progressive learning outside the classroom.
We are now one of only 7 schools in the whole of the UK to have earned this presitage award.
Click on the link below to find out more about the award and our journey to achieving gold!
It is the use of places other than the classroom for teaching and learning to take place. This can be indoors or outdoors, using our school grounds, the local area, parks, galleries, museums, heritage sites or anywhere else inspirational!
At Percy Main we strive to use LOtC to provide a rich and diverse range of learning experiences for the children in our care.
For more information please visit: