At Burpham Primary School, we believe passionately that all children should have access to high quality Outdoor Learning. We know that learning need not take place solely within the classroom. 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 are fortunate to have a large outside space that has a wildlife area, a pond, a hard play area (MUGA), raised beds and a campfire circle. This means that not only are we able to frequently teach and learn outside but our children are able to take part in outdoor activities throughout the year.
Benefits of Outdoor Learning:
Brings learning alive
Supports children’s physical and mental development
Increases confidence and self-esteem
Supports creativity and problem-solving
Increases attention and concentration
Increases pupil engagement in learning
Improves academic performance
Increases motivation and resilience
Adds depth to the curriculum
At Burpham we teach outdoors for the following reasons:
- To give children the opportunity to be able to explore and learn outside throughout the year, experiencing the different seasons and changing nature around them.
- To provide opportunities for curriculum enrichment through hands –on learning.
- To give children the opportunity to exercise and interact with the outdoor environment and to encourage healthy living and confidence.
- To provide children with opportunities to learn beyond the classroom in settings outside school.
- To show care and respect for all living things.
- To support creativity and problem solving.
- To build self-esteem and confidence in children.
- To encourage collaboration.
- To build resilient, determined and independent learners.
- To develop children’s personal, social and emotional development.
- To develop and build the ideas of risk management and risk benefit.
- To improve children’s life skills and experiences.
- To enable children to gain a respect for the natural environment and wildlife.
- To transfer negative behaviours into positive ones.
- To let children be children; we recognise that some of our children do not get the equal opportunities outside school to experience the outdoors and nature.
We achieve this in the following ways:
- Outdoor learning is planned to enrich and enhance the children’s experience of the curriculum, with all class teachers taking learning outside in at least four different subjects each term.
- We have a Forest School Leader in the school and a LSA who also has Forest School experience. EYFS have Forest School sessions throughout the year, whilst all other year groups have weekly sessions for half the academic year. These sessions either link to the curriculum or help children with specific outdoor skills such as using flint and steel to light fires which teaches them about fire safety.
- Forest School is also offered as a weekly after school activity.
- Whole school assemblies on Outdoor Learning take part at the start of year and on various occasions throughout the year where rules of wildlife area are discussed.
- Residential trips to High Ashurst are planned for Year 6 in 2023 and to Henley Fort for Year 4. Both these trips expose the children to wide ranging outdoor learning opportunities.
- Gardening has a high profile in the school. EYFS took part in Guildford in Bloom and won gold medal 2019. Infants all took part in 2021 and won another medal! In 2023, we are hoping the whole school will enter the competition.
- We are now working towards becoming an Eco-School, with a newly elected committee beginning to put forward ideas to implement within the next year.
By the time children leave Burpham they will:
- have enjoyed hands-on experiences learning outdoors which will have added to their understanding and learning of a wide variety of curriculum areas.
- have developed their imagination and creativity through exploration of the outdoors.
- choose to play outside more often and will be healthier both physically and mentally as a result.
- have developed co-operation and teamwork skills.
- be happier to approach a challenge.
- want to continue putting something back into the community.
- be more knowledgeable and enthusiastic about nature and the environment.
These photos show how inspiring our children find the season our Autumn. Year 6 have been creating 'tree spirits' during their Forest School sessions, while Year 2 have been getting creative with natural materials, extending their English work by designing their own 'Plop' the owls. Meanwhile, Year 1 have taken some of their Science work outside by making faces and bodies in a memorable lesson in our Wildlife Area.
Summer 2022 -2022
Did you know that thousands of seeds were planted around The Tower of London to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee. There were also schools up and down the country growing beautiful flowers to help attract bees as part of the Jubilee Superbloom project and we feel very proud and excited to have been a part of it! Our strong Year 1s set up our special Jubilee project! In the summer, every class in the school had a blue, white or red tyre, which forms part of the number 70. Everyone had a chance to plant some seeds to celebrate 70 years of the queen's reign. They continued looking fantastic right into the Autumn term.
Winter 2021 - 2022
Even in the coldest months, we love learning outdoors. In these photos you can see Year 1 exploring the seasons, Year 2 exploring their design skills and Year 5 working as a team and even toasting marshmallows over the fire!
We have put together a selection of websites and ideas to support you in getting children out and about
In the press
Great article in the Guardian with 32 super ideas!