“Outdoors is unique and special. It offers children and young people the space to grow, be active, develop and embed skills and discover aptitudes. Outdoors, children have freedom to move, be creative, be risk-takers, build resilience and develop responsibility and independence.”
Learning outdoors in our wonderful grounds is an essential part of life for our children at New Milton Infant School and is integral to the development of the whole child. Learning outdoors underpins our vision and values to engage and inspire children through every subject area whilst developing develop self-esteem, cooperation and creativity whilst enjoyment of the outside world around them.
To maximize the positive impact that outdoor experiences have upon our children, they have access to frequent, continual and progressive experience of outdoor learning within a range of environments and weathers. Lessons are sequentially and regularly planned for so that they can be taken outside.
At New Milton Infant School, the children are given opportunities to enhance and deepen their knowledge in all curriculum areas, through outdoor learning opportunities. For example, linking science and habitats whilst collecting and identifying mini beasts and linking geography when mapping these habitats around the school.
Outdoor learning isn’t a subject or topic; it’s a way of teaching. Our exciting grounds are used daily to enhance teaching and learning right across the curriculum from Early Years Foundation Stage through to Year 2, promoting children’s social and emotional skills and their engagement with learning.
Every child has equal opportunities to learn outdoors and every effort is made toidentify and overcome barriers to participation as early as possible. These barriers will vary for different groups of individuals but includes communication difficulties or physical disabilities. Planning requires partnerships with parents, teaherss, subject leaders and children and seeking advice from outside agencies to ensure that all learners access the curriculum equally.
‘All aspects of the curriculum can be explored outside. The sights, sounds and smells of the outdoors, the closeness to nature, the excitement most children feel, the wonder and curiosity all serve to enhance and stimulate learning.’
At New Milton Infant School we offer many opportunities for learners to deepen and contextualise their understanding within curriculum areas and link learning across the curriculum in different contexts. Learning outdoors has a solid foundation within our school. The school grounds are often the first step in taking the children outdoors and younger children, in particular, can explore, and develop a sense of ownership of their school grounds in their own time on a daily basis.
Through implementing exciting and purposeful outdoor learning, our children become active and respectful learners, gaining increased motivation and enjoyment of learning. They build confidence in themselves and persevere when problem solving. The children will develop an awareness of themselves, their self belief and the environment.
Outdoor learning provides fresh settings for our children to demonstrate what they know and can do about themselves and their environment. Assessment of learning in different outdoor contexts provides opportunities to vary levels of challenge appropriate to individuals’ needs and abilities across a broad range of personal, interpersonal and practical skills, aspiring to be the best they can be. Diverse practical contexts and high-quality interactions, immediate and constructive feedback and time for reflection contribute to the breadth and depth of assessment processes.
Through pupil conferencing and questioning, we will confirm that the impact of our outdoor learning provision is resulting in:
- Children who have an increased motivation and enjoyment to learn
- Children who are respectful, persevere and have self belief
Careful thought and progressive planning is put in place for outdoor learning so our children receive a broad and balanced curriculum which increase outcomes in all subject areas, as we as emotional well being and mental health.