Our school is very committed to regular outdoor learning sessions for every year group. We believe that it promotes the holistic development of the children and their relationship with the
natural world. These sessions also include tool use and risky play, embedding the ideas of responsibility and trust. Outdoor learning links closely to our school's vision statement, particularly
'Learning to explore diversity and the mysteries of God's world'.
Outdoor Learning at Beeford CE (VC) Primary School enhances our core value of Creation. Supporting our commitment to Learning to explore diversity and the mysteries of God’s World’ We believe that a connection to the natural world is an essential part of a child’s educational development, whilst also benefitting their mental health and physical well-being. In addition, it contributes to our desire for children to move on to the next step of their journey with a sense of responsibility for their local and global environment
The main aims of this curriculum are:
• To build self-esteem and confidence in children (particularly those who may
find academic subjects challenging)
• To build resilient, determined and independent learners
• To develop children’s personal, social and emotional development
• To develop and encourage children’s creativity
• To experience a sense of awe and wonder and explore the meanings of
• To encourage collaboration and teamwork
• To introduce and develop the ideas of risk management and risk benefit
• To contribute to children’s life skills and experiences
• To foster a respect for the natural environment and wildlife
• To transfer negative behaviours into positive ones
• To allow children of all ages to benefit from a play-based approach to learning
• To offer children the time and space to experience the physical and mental
benefits of being immersed in the natural environment
The school employs a qualified Forest School Leader to deliver Forest School and Outdoor Learning Sessions throughout the school from Nursery to Year 6 as an integral part of the school’s timetable. In addition, lunchtime Gardening Club is accessible to all children on a “drop in” basis, allowing them to tend their own, individual allotment space and grow their choice of vegetables or flowers. These lunchtime sessions also allow children time to spend time with and care for our school chickens, from which we periodically incubate, hatch and rear chicks. (Following ethical guidelines, a member of staff is responsible for the care of the chickens during term time, weekends and holidays and chicks are retained or rehomed responsibly).
As a result of their outdoor experiences, children become more confident and resilient learners. Equally, they become more caring and supportive peers due to the emphasis on empathy and teamwork. The physical and mental space the sessions offer also benefits the children’s social, emotional and spiritual health. As children grow in confidence in their abilities in the outdoor environment, they will begin to understand, assess and manage their own risks and safety. This allows the children to become
more independent and demonstrates that risks and rewards are an integral part of life. Self- reflection and evaluation allow children to see that mistakes are not failures but part of learning. The children’s connection with and experiences within the natural world lead them to be concerned with environmental issues, both local and global.