“The best classroom and the only classroom is roofed only by the sky.”
Why outdoor learning?
At Ambler, we aim for children to develop a lifelong love of the outdoors alongside a lifelong love of learning. All outdoor learning is planned around the curriculum currently being studied, which gives depth, enrichment and an outdoor perspective for our children.
It particularly builds on skills developed from the Early Years curriculum; as much of this curriculum focuses on learning physically, we intend for outdoor learning to bring these skills into all ages groups within the school. Through outdoor learning pupils will become confident, resilient and determined learners. The children are exposed to natural environments enabling them to gain understanding and respect for the natural world and all that lives within it.
How do we teach Outdoor Learning and how does this look in practice?
At Ambler, We teach the National Curriculum, supported by a clear skills and knowledge progression. It is our intention that Outdoor Learning can be carried out within all of the curriculum subjects and can be incorporated, as much as possible, into our everyday lessons. Some Outdoor Learning sessions may be taught discretely initially to expose children as to what the key principles of outdoor learning are. Importantly, we want to teach and model to children how our DREAMS values can easily be incorporated into all outdoor learning activities.
The main principles of Outdoor Learning at Ambler are :
- Nature construction
- Geographical skills and navigation
- Exploration and play
- Using tools
- Science in the environment
- Physical development
We aim to provide children with a wide range of experiences in learning, including learning in a variety of environments. We recognise that many of our children do not get the equal opportunities outside school to experience the outdoors and nature and so want to provide them with as many of those experiences as we can, within school. At Ambler, we are lucky enough to have a woodland playground that children of all ages can enjoy and can be utilised for outdoor learning opportunities. We also have both Finsbury and Gillespie Parks just a quick walk away where children can be taken to learn more about the outdoors. Children also get the opportunity to go on a residential trip in Year 3 giving them a chance to learn in an unfamiliar environment.
What do we want children to do?
- Have enjoyed hands on experiences learning outdoors which will add to their understanding and learning of a wide variety of curriculum areas
- Have built upon prior learning, gaining confidence in their abilities and transference of skills
- Have developed imagination and creativity through exploration of the outdoors
- Have developed resilience through challenging activities and working in all weathers
- Be able to identify which DREAMS values can be used when learning outdoors
- Have developed co-operation skills through team work
- Have an understanding of nature, the world around us, growing plants and vegetables
- Have contributed to the development of our school grounds and looking after the world around
- Have experienced outdoor activities that someone within the city, might not have had the chance to (rolling down a hill, safety lighting a fire, climbing a tree).