Mrs Lyons-Smith has declared the new outdoor classroom open! Set near the junior school building, amongst trees and alongside open fields, the classroom is a covered area for children to explore outside and learn new things in the fresh air.
The junior school spent the day outside for "outside classroom day". Activities included toasting pancakes on the campfire, tree bark rubbings, blindfolded walks in the woods, searching for different leaves and trees around the grounds and making clay faces, as well as plenty of running around outside in the fresh air.
The classroom is part of a wider outdoor learning initiative championed by staff across the junior school. Since the new junior school building opened in 2015, the pupils and staff have wanted to expand on the natural and light feeling of the new classrooms; it is hoped that the new outdoor classroom will pave the way for the beginnings of the school’s own forest school onsite, with two teachers undertaking forest school teacher training later this year; there are future plans for an outdoor playground, dens and trails to bring the woodland area to life to make the most of the school’s rural setting.
On INSET days teachers have received training in outdoor teaching skills, equipping them with the skills and confidence to teach outdoors. The curriculum will be delivered outside in an interesting and new way; recently, children learnt about co-ordinates by interactively using a giant tarpaulin map grid outside.
Mrs Jude Heinrich, nursery teacher at St Swithun’s Junior School commented “The new classroom brings a wonderful outdoor learning dimension to the education we offer children at St Swithun’s Junior School. The children can explore wide open spaces, learn about outdoor living, and acquire new skills. The children have the freedom to investigate and explore whilst learning respect for the environment. Children learn to take risks whilst less adventurous children explore and respond very well to outdoor experiences. Investing in this resource will be so beneficial to everyone, not just children but staff, carers and parents too”
The staff and children are delighted with the new classroom.
Year 3 girls said “The classroom is so nice. It’s educational but it’s also outside in the fresh air. It makes us feel very happy and it keeps us healthy and active”.