The intent of outdoor learning Allithwaite C.E. School is to foster a deep connection and appreciation for nature while enhancing academic achievement, personal development, and well-being. By immersing our pupils in hands-on experiences within natural environments, we aim to:
Promote a love for nature: Giving children the opportunity to regularly spend time in forests and green spaces ensures a strong connection with the natural world. Through exploration, observation, and engagement with the environment, pupils will develop an intrinsic motivation to protect and care for nature.
Support holistic development: Outdoor learning provides a unique setting that promotes personal and social development, including teamwork, problem-solving, resilience, and self-confidence. It allows children to explore their own interests, take risks in a safe environment, and develop a sense of independence.
Enhance academic achievement: Outdoor learning provides a rich context for learning across the curriculum. By integrating core subjects such as Science, Geography, History, and English into forest activities, children can make meaningful connections and develop a deeper understanding of key concepts.
Promote health and well-being: Outdoor learning encourages physical activity, healthy lifestyles, and emotional well-being. The opportunity to be physically active, breathe fresh air, and engage in sensory experiences helps reduce stress, improve mental well-being, and foster a positive attitude towards living a healthy lifestyle.
To ensure the successful implementation of outdoor learning, we will:
1. Develop partnerships: Collaborate with local organisations, environmental experts, and forest schools to access expertise, resources, and guidance. Engaging parents and the wider community through volunteer opportunities and outdoor events will also enhance the success of the program.
2. Design a progressive curriculum: Establish a curriculum that integrates outdoor learning experiences into subject areas, ensuring alignment with the National Curriculum. Provide clear learning objectives and outcomes that facilitate the development of knowledge, skills, and attitudes in a progressive manner.
3. Regular outdoor sessions: Schedule dedicated outdoor sessions on a regular basis, aiming for at least once a week as a minimum. These sessions will be incorporated into the timetable to ensure adequate time for exploration, learning and reflection.
4. Qualified staff: Provide relevant professional development opportunities for staff to enhance their knowledge, skills, and confidence in delivering forest outdoor learning. Training in risk assessment, safeguarding, and outdoor first aid will also be provided to ensure children's safety at all times.
5. Resources and equipment: Allocate resources to purchase necessary equipment, such as waterproof clothing, nature observation tools, and nature identification guides. Provide first aid kits and emergency communication devices to ensure the safety of pupils and staff during outdoor sessions.
6. Assessment and monitoring: Implement a robust system of formative and summative assessment to evaluate children's progress and inform future planning. Assessment methods may include written reflections, presentations, and practical demonstrations of acquired knowledge and skills.
5. Inclusion and access: We plan for adaptations and modifications to enable all pupils to fully participate in forest outdoor learning.
The impact of our outdoor learning program will be measured through:
1. Improved academic progress: Regular engagement in outdoor learning will deepen children's understanding of curriculum subjects, leading to improved academic achievement across various areas of the National Curriculum.
2. Enhanced personal development: Through outdoor learning experiences, children will develop essential life skills, including problem-solving, teamwork, resilience, and creativity. This will have a positive impact on their personal and social development.
3. Increased enthusiasm for learning: By providing an inspirational and engaging learning environment, outdoor learning will ignite a passion for learning, resulting in improved motivation and attitudes towards education.
4. Positive well-being outcomes: Regular exposure to nature and physical activity will have a positive impact on children's mental health and overall well-being, reducing stress and promoting a healthy lifestyle.
5. Long-lasting appreciation for nature: outdoor learning will instil a deep-rooted appreciation for the natural world, creating environmentally conscious individuals who will actively contribute to the preservation of nature in the future.