Our children tell us regularly that they learn and remember best when they are outdoors and physically accessing learning. This is the case from reception to year 6. Our ethos is to aim to provide as many opportunities as possible for our pupils to engage in physical, outdoor learning to support the development of their knowledge and understanding across all aspects of the curriculum. We want children to live, breath and experience the curriculum at first hand. We believe that frequent participation in outdoor, adventurous activities has a positive impact not only upon children’s physical development and well-being but also on their progress across the curriculum. In particular, children have the opportunity to develop key skills such as team work and problem-solving and increase their confidence. This offer is central to our vision of providing a holistic educational experience for each and every child where elements of differing subjects are intertwined. Our experience in school shows that children know more and remember more when they learn through these physical experiences.
Across our federation a number of members of our teaching team have completed their forest school training or are Scout leaders. These members of staff provide expert support to their colleagues to ensure that lessons maximise the learning opportunities available when working outside. They are also able to facilitate activities requiring specific training e.g. lighting a fire. Learning outdoors is a regular feature of our curriculum provision. Teachers will often ‘take their lessons outside’ and use ‘working in the field’ to deliver high quality lessons that enable pupils to acquire and remember the skills, knowledge and understanding detailed in our curriculum plans.
At Wingham Primary we are fortunate to have extensive grounds that provide us with a range of differing outdoor environments to realise this aim. In addition we have access to a local wood.
Our offer is further enhanced by the wide range of educational visits that are an integral part of our unit plans. These are planned to focus on the children’s local environment to begin with and then enable them to explore further afield as they progress through the school culminating in a week long residential visit towards the end of year 6.