Outdoor Learning and Forest Schools
What is taught through outdoor learning?
At Poppleton Road Primary school we believe that all children have the right to be taught and experience the unique and special nature of being outdoors. We further believe that it is important to enable children to use the outside environment as a context for learning. This learning can be anything! From maths, to art, the outdoors provides a great environment for all children to learn key skills relating to a whole host of different subjects. We make sure the children's outdoor learning is linked to key curriculum objectives that are taught in a unique way outdoors.
When are specific skills and knowledge taught?
We try and ensure the children have regular contact outdoors over a significant period of time (e.g. all year round, in all weathers). At the moment regular is at least every fortnight for Key stage 2 children and weekly for key stage 1. This is coupled with a clear set of safety routines and boundaries that allow children to develop a responsible attitude to risk whilst becoming familiar and confident enough to explore and interact with an ever changing natural environment.
How do we teach forest schools and other areas through the outdoor environment?
During Forest Schools and in our outdoor learning, we adopt a variety of teaching styles to reflect and respond to the individual learning styles of our children. Our principal aim in outdoor learning is to develop children’s knowledge, skills and understanding. Adopting a range of teaching styles and techniques reflects our aim to make the learning of outdoor learning enjoyable and creative. Children are taught and encouraged to develop their innate curiosity and motivation to learn. This is particularly important for those who find it difficult to assimilate knowledge in a strictly ‘classroom’ environment.
Why do we teach through the outdoor environment?
Outdoor learning can provide a dramatic contrast to the indoor classroom. There is strong evidence that good quality learning outside the classroom adds value to classroom learning. It leads to a deeper understanding of traditional subjects which can be difficult to teach effectively using classroom methods alone.
Direct experience outdoors is powerful, motivating and has impact and credibility. The results from outdoor learning can be instantaneous as well as active and therefore impacts on behaviour as well as tapping into the learning styles of the more kinaesthetic learner.