It is widely understood that learning outdoors is motivating, memorable and meaningful for children. Increasingly it is also acknowledged that spending time outdoors is beneficial to our mental wellbeing. With these things in mind we have worked hard to develop our school grounds to make the most of what we can offer.
First to be developed was out Early Years outdoor shelter which provides a wide range of learning through play opportunities for our youngest children. Next followed our gardening area at the front of school and our playground is continually being improved and added to so as to ensure we gain maximum use of it – come rain or shine. We are also lucky to have close by a village green and a woodland planation that we make regular use of.
Our jewel in our Outdoor Learning Crown is our much loved Secret Garden – an area of land accessible from the school playground that we have developed to facilitate a range of Outdoor Learning experiences: campfires, tree climbing, outdoor cooking, pond dipping, den building, fungus and minibeast hunts, bird watching and lots more. It is equipped with a mud kitchen and a digging tyre which the children love playing with.
Each half term Mrs Davies, supported by other staff, works with one of our classes on our bespoke Outdoor Learning curriculum. This is designed to develop skills in the 7 Cs of Clifton – communication, collaboration, craftsmanship, curiosity, creativity, commitment and confidence alongside physical skills such as balance, stamina and co-ordination, bushcraft and woodcraft. The activities often incorporate learning in other curriculum areas such as maths and science and also encourage children to take responsibility for the personal safety of themselves and others in a safe environment.