At Meadow Green Primary School, we believe that children will become effective, lifelong learners if they possess the skills that will help them have a growth mindset and an ability to keep going even if they find things difficult.
As part of our vision, we have decided to expand and enhance the breadth of our curriculum by incorporating a designated outdoor learning curriculum that will become part of our weekly routine. It is our aim that this new LOtC (Learning outside the Classroom) will uphold the high standards and expectations that our school sets for its pupils and serve as a cornerstone to increasing their life skills and experiences throughout their primary school education.
The primary aims of this curriculum will be:
*To build self-esteem and confidence in children.
*To build resilient, determined and independent learners
*To develop children’s personal, social and emotional development.
*To develop and encourage creativity
*To encourage collaboration.
*To develop and build the ideas of risk management and risk benefit
*To improve children’s life skills and experiences
*To enable children to gain a respect for the natural environment and wildlife.
*To transfer negative behaviours into positive ones.
These aims will be covered with a variety of outdoor learning teachings and strategies that not only seek to aid the children in their learning but also be provided in a positive, enjoyable, creative and inspiring manner that will allow them to transfer the skills and knowledge from the LOtC lessons into the classroom and life outside of school.
Outdoor Learning at Meadow Green is delivered through a range of experiences which include weekly LOtC sessions for each class from EYFS through to Year 6. Opportunities for outdoor learning are embedded within curriculum planning across all subjects with Early years enjoying unrestricted access to their own outdoor area as an extension to their classroom. It is recognised that Outdoor learning provides pupils with a wide range of skills and opportunities, which focus on social development. LOtC engages children in a manner that is hard to imitate in the classroom. This creates new opportunities for learning and development that might not be accessed during regular day-to-day schooling.
As we know, every child is different, as are their learning styles, something that we recognise, encourage and utilise here at Meadow Green. We are blessed with a beautiful outdoor learning environment here at Meadow Green, which consists of two large playing fields, a wooded area as well as a permanent outdoor classroom. It is here the majority of the learning will take place but it is our aim to also expand our outdoor learning area to incorporate a mud kitchen and fire pit. We would also like to incorporate LOtC into the wider community and environment to give the children a wider range of experience and allow them to become more familiar with the world surrounding them. This may include walks to local areas/parks as well as off-site residentials.
At Meadow Green, children will become better-rounded, prepared learners and individuals through the opportunities of outdoor learning. They will not only be more confident and resilient learners but will also grow in confidence in their abilities in the outdoor environment. This will enable children to begin to understand, assess and manage their own risk and safety. School staff had noticed this was something which was lacking, particularly as the lockdowns hit. More children were finding some aspects of school more difficult than before. There were higher levels of anxiety, and children showed less resilience in their learning.
With the implementation of Outdoor learning throughout the school children will be able to become more independent and show them that life comes with not only risk but also rewards. It also teaches them what their own limits are and that they can push through them to become confident lifelong learners. They will see that sometimes we don’t always get the desired result the first time but that doesn’t make us a failure, it helps us to grow, forcing us to try again in a different way. It encourages problem solving, logical thinking, team work, self-reflection and evaluation but most of all the pupils will see that mistakes aren’t failures; they are a part of learning, that they are, ultimately, human!