Our curriculum intent for outdoor learning opportunities
Outdoor Learning is a right of every pupil in our school. At Offham Primary School we aim to use school grounds and local areas to enhance teaching and learning right across the curriculum. We know that these opportunities deliver a wide range of associated benefits, including promoting children’s social and emotional skills and their engagement with learning.
Outdoor learning is ‘active learning outside of the classroom’ and aims to encourage and inspire children through positive outdoor experiences. Much research has been done on the impact of Outdoor Learning across the curriculum and on pupil’s personal, health, social and emotional wellbeing. There are considered to be five main benefits:
Increasing knowledge and understanding,
Changing attitudes and behaviours,
Health and well-being benefits,
Benefits to schools, teachers and the wider community.
We are extremely lucky and proud to have an amazing woodland school base just a short walk away from the school across the farmer’s field (opposite our school site). This area gives the children the space and opportunity to explore their natural environment throughout the year and take part in lots of woodland based activities. Children at Offham learn skills such as den building, fire-lighting, whittling, climbing and plant identification. During out woodland session the children also learn to appreciate and look after the natural environment and discuss observations they make.
How Outdoor learning is implemented at Offham School
We plan activities to fit the seasons and topics of learning within the school, with each class taking their learning outside at least once a week – reception take their learning outside daily. Along with this outdoor learning taking place in curriculum areas every child across the school will get to take part in outdoor sessions in our local woodland area, completing activities appropriate to their age and building upon the skills they already have. Children will develop skills in: building, problem solving, teamwork, cooking, tool work, art in nature and science.
The outdoor environment is an effective and stimulating place to learn. Regular outdoor learning encourages children to engage with nature and brings a host of benefits in terms of health, self-esteem, self-confidence and motivation. The outdoors also provides excellent opportunities to use a wide range of skills and abilities not always relevant in the classroom. These can be presented as building on existing outdoor play, transferring activities normally carried out indoors, school garden projects, environmental exploration and developing skills in the woodland area the school has access to. During outdoor learning sessions children are given positive opportunities for active learning, the outside environment can promote skills of enquiry, problem solving, communication, co-operation, creativity and evaluation.
Woodland school lessons have been developed from the skills progression document and children will be aiming to build upon their skills each year.