Our Schools Team was honoured to be invited to Lostwithiel Primary School’s Outdoor Celebration day the other week.
The story started last on a dark November evening when we met with the staff and devised a partnership to encourage outdoor learning in their wonderful grounds.
Over a course of six outdoor sessions, our Schools Team set out to develop the students’ literacy. All sorts of activities were specially created to encourage them to use nature as inspiration for language.
For example, a blindfolded session invited the class to draw on other senses apart from sight, adding depth and texture to the familiar world of their own playground and inspiring them to use vocabulary in new ways. Another activity focussed on making puppets from found natural materials.
We also worked with the school’s mealtime assistants and staff to find ways to transform their grounds into a place where pupils can let their hair down during their free time and really play.
Transforming schools through outdoor learning
So it was a great pleasure to return to the school at the end of May and see how the character of the school grounds has completely changed; there are slides worn in the grass bank, dens hidden behind buses and evidence of all sorts of outdoor science experiments having taken place.
On an individual level staff have revealed all sorts of hidden talents and passion in taking classes outside to enjoy some creative, humorous – and downright clever – lessons.
Headteacher Carolyn Huxley says that their ‘attitudes to teaching outside have metamorphosed over the year. They are now committed to delivering the curriculum outside wherever possible, working outside with their class for maths, science, art, literacy and topic work and design technology. In fact, no area of the curriculum is out of bounds.’
Not only have the pupils and the staff enjoyed their learning experiences, but the school says it has made a noticeable difference to the depth and progression of learning – showing, once again, that this outdoor learning business really does work.
If you’d like to get your school involved in outdoor learning, check out what the Eden Project Schools Team can offer – from staff development packages in your own school through to a one-day training course at the Eden Project in September.