Not all learning or all children are best suited to a classroom. In many ways a classroom is very constraining and artificial – even at odds with our intentions. The outdoors offers a huge range of resources, experiences and contexts that are not possible to replicate inside, that can form the basis of learning. It can be our ‘third teacher’ (Reggio di Emilia).
*With emphasis on risk management; cooperation and collaboration; emotional intelligence; intrinsic motivation and a love of learning; the building of self-value, value of others and value of the natural world; opportunities for reflection and analysis; problem finding and problem solving.
The forest and grounds
Ham wood is next to the school site and we have exclusive access and children experience nature first hand especially as we have helped cultivate a range of habitats and so biodiversity.The front field has been planted with new trees and areas have been left to create wild borders. This variety of habitats has a direct impact on children’s understanding of the natural world around them and helps create new ways for them to interact with it.
Key to all of these positive outdoor learning will be regular observation and reappraisal of changing effects and consequences of natural worlds, including where necessary ecological surveys in which pupils can be heavily involved.
Our vision and aim is that both the diversity of species and total biomass of plants and invertebrates will steadily increase overtime through careful management and the childrens positive interactions.
The grow-it area
All children have an experience of growing plants that we can then harvest and eat. Not only does this form a key part of NC objectives this is a fundamentally important set of life skills and knowledge. A key aim will be that children’s expertise steadily grows in this area and that they take on more and more independent care of the area. Some key infrastructure is also needed to make more ecologically friendly compost (rather than buying it in) and to have all weather paths so as to end the issue of mud that is not only messy when children go into school but can be dangerously slippery. Expertise and interest is also clearly present among staff and parents adn how to engage this will be a key aim as we develop this part of the school.