At Collaton St Mary, we are enthusiastic about outdoor learning. We believe that children benefit in many ways from the great outdoors, and there is a growing body of research to support this view.
We try to use the outdoor environment to support our learning across the curriculum. We are increasingly taking literacy and maths lessons outdoors, as well as using our beautiful school grounds for science, PE and lots of other activities. We even have our grounds covered by a wireless network, so that we can use our iPads outdoors.
In the foundation stage and key stage 1 all children have regular opportunities for a Forest School session. A Forest School is an innovative educational approach to outdoor play and learning. The philosophy of Forest Schools is to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through positive outdoor experiences. By participating in engaging, motivating and achievable tasks and activities in a woodland environment each participant has an opportunity to develop intrinsic motivation, sound emotional and social skills.
Year 1 enjoy Welly Wednesday in a variety of weathers and enjoy the varied activities across the seasons reflecting on their cross-curricular skills based learning. Our Foundation Stage class enjoy Forest Fun Friday and develop their reflective learning through opportunities linked to the Early Years Curriculum. This is encouraged through ensuring that these pre-planned achievable tasks engage and motivate our pupils and help them to connect with the outdoor environment.
In addition this this, we are keen gardeners and have a kitchen garden and sensory garden to hone our skills in. The children have regular opportunities to grow plants, and get mucky in the garden. From September 2013, we have signed up to develop our outdoor learning even more by taking part in the Natural Connections research being undertaken by the University of Plymouth. We have even been chosen to be in their launch video!