Learning outside of the classroom is integral to life at Mount Pleasant for our children. Our grounds are a resource which are a key asset of our school, which impacts so positively on our curriculum. The Wild Passport scheme of learning has been organised to develop a coherent route through knowledge and skill acquisition in 5 key aspects of outdoor education:
In turn providing an excellent bedrock for the personal development of our children. The reception statements are not part of the Wild Passport programme, but are important learning points in preparation for ‘Beginner’ level.
The journey through education for a child at Mount Pleasant 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.
Our outdoor environment offers space and therefore is particularly important to those children who learn best through active movement. Very young children learn predominately through their sensory and physical experiences which supports brain development and the creation of neural networks:
Learning outside the classroom supports the development of healthy and active lifestyles by offering children opportunities for physical activity, freedom and movement, and promoting a sense of well-being.
Learning outside the classroom gives children contact with the natural world and offers them experiences that are unique to outdoors, such as direct contact with the weather and the seasons.
Playing and learning outside helps children to understand and respect nature, the environment and the interdependence of humans, animals, plants, and lifecycles.
Outdoor play also supports children’s problem-solving skills and nurtures their creativity, as well as providing rich opportunities for their developing imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness.
Children need an outdoor environment that can provide them with space, both upwards and outwards, and places to explore, experiment, discover, be active and healthy, and to develop their physical capabilities.
How Our Children Learn Outdoors
Little Learners use their gross motor skills when exploring natural materials in the garden. Providing things which interest them, such as, diggers and buckets extends their play as they fill, transport, push and tip. This also provides opportunity for the children to be imaginative and interactive in their play.
In nursery the children work daily in the outdoor area. They enjoy discovering mini beast using all of their senses, develop speaking and listening skills and learn about our world. Nursery children are taught to respect the natural world and to be gentle with all living creatures. Nursery enjoy looking under bark, rocks and digging in the soil to discover the creatures that share our Nursery outdoor area. We use magnifying glasses and observation tanks to get a closer look.
Water play allows the children to find out about forces, how water moves and also to develop strength and co-ordination as large containers of water are filled and emptied. Here, the children worked together to find a way to get a small boat to move down a sequence of guttering. They had great fun and went on to teach their friends about how to set it up and how to make the boat go really quick!
The children in year 1 started their outdoor learning session by collecting sticks to create a fire. The children were taught how to use a flint safely to create a spark that could be used to make a fire. We used the sticks we collected to help the fire grow and learnt about how to be safe around it. Finally we used the fire to toast our own bread to make jam on toast.
In English 2D were working on expanded noun phrases for their writing on Hansel and Gretel. We went outside on to the school grounds to get inspiration.
2D had a fantastic time outside with Tim who taught the children how to use a steel to create sparks. They went on to lighting a piece of cotton wool and had to be careful to make sure it didn't blow away in the wind. Having collected lots of twigs, the children built a fire and then toasted bread on a stick. It was really fun and some of the children said it was just like camping.
When Tim came in to work with Year 4, he first taught the children how to safely build and light a small fire. We then had to investigate and construct a way of holding a small kettle above the fire in order to boil water to make hot chocolate. Finally we toasted bread over the fire and enjoyed it with butter and jam.
The children prepared different vegetables to make some soup. They then collected firewood and using a flint started a fire to enable the children to cook the soup. The children agreed it tasted delicious!
In Maths we were investigating angles. We used chalk to draw different angles and estimate their sizes. In the playground the children had to find obtuse and acute angles in real life objects.
We try and take our learning outdoors as much as possible. Here we are creating artwork inspired by Monet. We learnt that Monet was an impressionist painter. To be an impressionist painter you had to comply to 7 different rules, one of these was working in natural light. Here you can see us sketching outside, using light as our medium. We also have been using the outdoors to help us with our measuring skills in maths, timeline making in Ancient Egypt and living like a Stone Age person.
We have received some exciting lessons for our outdoor learning delivered by Tim from the forest school. We have regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem, through hands on learning experiences in a local woodland or natural environment with trees. We have taken part in team building activities such as fire lighting, cooking on open fires and shelter building.