Forest School and Outdoor Learning
“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”
- John Muir
Learning need not take place solely within educational buildings. Outdoor time often provides the most memorable learning experiences and helps children to make sense of the world around them by putting their learning into a meaningful context.
We believe that every child should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development and that is why we have made this one of our Key Priorities at Whitefield. The outdoor environment has massive potential for providing learning opportunities. We are extremely fortunate to be set in large grounds and surrounded by an environment rich in opportunities and we make full use of our local area, including the forest, to enhance our educational provision.
The outdoor environment offers motivating, exciting, different, relevant and easily accessible activities from Foundation through to Year 6. Our outdoor learning experiences are delivered through a combination of school-based outdoor learning, visits to other places and residential programmes.
The journey through education for a child at Whitefield Community Primary School will include a series of planned, quality outdoor learning experiences. Learning outdoors is part of our wide range of practical approaches to developing skills. Opportunities for outdoor learning exist within and across all curriculum areas and help to develop personal and social skills, communication, problem solving, thinking skills and teamwork, as well as English, Mathematics and all other curriculum areas.
Outdoor learning experiences are often remembered for a lifetime. Integrating learning and outdoor experiences, whether through play in the immediate grounds or adventures further afield, provides relevance and depth to the curriculum in ways that are difficult to achieve indoors. Learning outdoors can be enjoyable, creative, challenging and adventurous and helps children learn by experience and grow as confident and responsible citizens who value and appreciate the natural environment.
An afternoon at Forest School might look like this...
Outdoor Learning and Active Citizen Projects
Example of one of our Living History Curriculum links
Year 3 spent some of their Forest School sessions learning what it would have been like to live through the Stone Age. They thought about why we need shelter to protect us from the elements. We started by finding natural shelter and then progressed to building shelters using natural materials such as sticks and rocks. This was then further developed to using other materials like tarps and ropes including various designs; tents and tipis.
We looked at how early people would forage for edible plants and used fire to cook. We discussed how the fire was made using friction and flint and had a go at building our own fires. The children learnt how to cook bread incorporating any seasonal foraged ingredients they could find such as wild garlic. This led on to us discussing how farming was started to produce flour from wheat.
Year 3 also thought about the problems early people had of catching animals to eat. We looked at the development of weapons from rocks and sticks to bow and arrows. We made simple weapons from natural materials and practiced aiming at targets.
Map Reading - Geography
Year 1 and 2 have been busy learning how to read maps and identify key symbols. We used compass points and the iPads to support our learning.
Woodland Trust Award
As part of our Forest School sessions, we have been been taking part in the Woodland Trust activities and have now received our Silver Award. We are so proud of the work that the children have done and can't wait to get started on the GOLD!
Forest School and Outdoor Learning - Progression of skills
Activities and ideas for home learning...