Miss Findlay is leading Outdoor Learning this year and has some exciting opportunities ahead. Ivan Wildman is Forest Schools trained and will be working with the children every Thursday afternoon throughout the year. This is an amazing opportunity for the children to get outside and grow in self-confidence, independence and self-esteem by discovering and mastering many new skills, allowing them to appreciate and gain responsibility for the natural world.
The children will be going out in all weather, please provide suitable clothing on Forest School days. Please be aware clothes may get wet and muddy.
Each year group will also be taking part in workshops run by the R.S.P.B. throughout the year.
What is Outdoor Learning?
Children thoroughly enjoy learning in the outdoors. We want the children at Little Mead Primary Academy to have lots of opportunities to get outside and explore the world. Outdoor Learning is active learning. Children learn through what they do, through what they encounter and through what they discover. They learn about the outdoors, themselves and each other while also learning outdoor skills. Active learning readily develops the learning skills of enquiry, experiment, feedback and reflection. Outdoor Learning is real learning. It happens in the natural environments where participants can see, hear, touch and smell the real thing. It also happens in an arena where actions have real results and consequences. Outdoor Learning can help to bring many school subjects alive while also providing experiential opportunities for fulfilling the new National Curriculum.
Our Natural Learning Environment
Little Mead Primary Academy occupies a large green site. We have been working hard to develop our outdoor environment and we are keen to ensure that children have more opportunities to get out of the classroom and learn outside.
The Woodland Area
Over the last five years Mrs Sanday and the Foundation Stage team have created and used the school’s Woodland Area. We have two log circles which seat 30 children and small trails through the forest for children to explore. This is a secure area where children can discover the natural environment and learn how to safely explore it. We have a number of trees in the Woodland Area and have begun to create a tree map.
The Eco Team will be working closely with Miss Findlay and Mrs. Scott, as well as some amazing volunteers, to ensure that Eco School and Outdoor Learning are integrated into the curriculum across our school. Each year group will be given the opportunity to take part in Outdoor Learning workshops and will be kept updated about and involved in our Green initiatives. Mrs. Scott, the Eco Team and I will every Monday after school, by the end of the year we hope to have achieve a Green Flag for Little Mead. My personal pledge is to ride my bike to school more often this year and to recycle even more than we already do in my classroom!
The School Field
The School has a fantastic field and the children enjoy using during PE and lunchtime. During recent years we have planted a wide range of new trees including fruit trees, holly bushes and other small saplings including oak. A few years ago we open the school on a Saturday morning and a number of children, parents and volunteers from the MOD came along to plant trees on the East side of the field. We have again been given some more new trees which we will be planting in the autumn term to create a tree circle with a special story teller’s chair. We have developed a new adventure play area and canopy which can now be used all year round.
Friendship Garden and Gardening Club
We are lucky to have an enclosed garden which Mrs Scott and the gardening team tend. The Friendship Garden has a number of raised beds for growing vegetables and a pond to attract local pond life. Mrs Scott worked incredibly hard with the gardening team last year and they have been rewarded for their hard work.
Looking After Animals
When you walk past the Friendship Garden you will also spot our chickens enclosure. We have recently had up to six chickens, which laid delicious eggs that Mr Lewis-White and the Chicken Club sold to our parents on a Thursday afternoon. Unfortunately, after a long and happy free-range life our chickens passed away naturally during the 2016-17 academic year. We hope very much to get some more chickens soon.
The Nursery children also look after two resident guinae pigs called Peony and Coffee. They are very tame and enjoy being stroked. You might spot them in the nursery garden as they love being outside in their run too.
Occasionally other animals come to visit the children. In the second week of September two pet rats called Ruby and Roxy visited the school and lived in their cage in the library for a week.
If you are a keen gardener or love learning in the outdoor and would like to volunteers in school please get in touch and share your knowledge with our pupils and staff.