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Outdoor Learning

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Friday 16th September 2016

We're putting the final touches to our Outdoor Learning area, ready for sessions to start next week. Cross your fingers for a bit more sunshine! 

Our first week of Outdoor Learning

We had a lot of fun in our first week of Outdoor Learning. We worked together to solve lots of problems, hunted for bugs, made a feast fit for a king in the mud kitchen, used the spades for digging and made muddy sand castles. Our sessions were finished off with snack time around the log circle as well as stories and reflections about our exploring and learning. We're really looking forward to finding out what this week will bring. 

Week beginning 26th September 2016

The leaves have started to turn, the air is getting cooler; Autumn is on it’s way. Last week, the groups really started to settle into Outdoor Learning.  They have been testing their knowledge of all things natural and creating hypothesis to investigate. Our 'Woodland Explorers' after school club started this week with a group who were very keen to get stuck in to creating and exploring. Amongst other things, we made the 'Stickman' using a clove hitch knot and square lashing.

Week beginning 3rd October 2016

We were all busy bees last week. We have been exploring the natural world around us and using all the loose parts in our play and exploring. We have been solving problems and designing and creating. The children have been really interested in using the different types of soil and mud around to is up different coloured paint. We have then had some fascinating discussions about how to reach up to paint the top of the pole in the middle of our Outdoor Learning area. 

Week beginning 10th October 2016

Week beginning 17.10.16

This week we have been inspired by Darren who has been building a fen behind our outdoor learning area. The children have been BUILDING! The structures have varied between small birds nests through to a whole village of teepees. It has been great to see the progression in the children's thinking skills and physical abilities as they have been manouvering the sticks into the form they were after. 

The children in Reception have been learning about Diwali so we made patterns from leaves in beautiful Autumnal colours. We also got to try out our new emergency shelter.  

Happy half term and Happy Diwali for next week, see you for more adventures after the holidays :) 

Week beginning 31.10.16

The children have settled well after a week off for half term. It was Halloween on Monday, we carved pumpkins and some of the children made magic wands. There was lots of Abracadbras being shouted as we all turned into frogs and snails! We started the mammoth task of spreading the wood chip mountain over the new half of the area; the children thoroughly enjoyed helping Mr Pearce fill up the wheelbarrow and take it in turns to empty it. 

 

It has started to cool down this week, time for the woolly hats and gloves to come out! 

Outdoor learning week beginning 7.11.16

The weather cooled down this week but thanks to our fleeces, waterproof suit and gloves we were able to carry on exploring without getting cold. The children were able to carry on activities they had started in previous weeks and collected the resources they needed from around the site. They are still enjoying making magic wands and turning each other into frogs alongside a host of other activities that they decide on. The freedom of Outdoor Learning with us is that their learning is largely completely child initiated. We have ideas up our sleeves if they need them but they're rarely needed. The children are getting very used to developing their own ideas and thinking and we can see their confidence building as a result. 

We finally finished moving the woodchip mountain this week so now our Outdoor Learning area resembles a forest floor. The work doesn't stop there though as we have just received 60 tree saplings donated to us by the Woodland Trust. We started planting them but it's tough going as the ground is very claylike but we have planted 20 so far so we're doing well. At the same time as these jobs are getting done, other children have been embarking on the serious business of play; broadening their confidence and social skill. The children are choosing to work and play together more since the beginning of term and are experimenting with lots of different activities. 

The children have done a great job at proving that there's no such thing as the wrong weather, just the wrong clothing. They have been having lots of fun in the rain and cold while fully kitted out in warm and waterproof clothing. 

Week beginning 21.11.16

The beginning of this week was WET! The rain created lots of squidgy muddy puddles that the children thoroughly enjoyed jumping in. Lots of other activities continued as normal like cooking in the mud kitchen and if anything, was enhanced by the extra water provided by the sky. The children have been broadening their imaginative play and we have had lots of pirates on treasure hunts and making treasure maps. The trees are nearly all planted now, we only have a couple left, now to watch them grow. The children remain fascinated by them and it has been fantastic to give them the experience of starting a young tree's life. With only 3 weeks left of the term before Christmas, we are starting the festive fun this week. We had a great discussion with children from Reception about the water cycle and how rain and clouds are formed. The children were really interested and showed some really good thinking skills.

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This quote sums up nicely how we manage risks during our Outdoor Learning sessions. We carefully consider the risks involved in activities we carry out but we also consider the benefits to the children's learning and development. We can then put in suitable support and resources to ensure that activities are within a suitably safe range. 

Week beginning 28.11.16

Brrrr... Jack Frost arrived last week, bringing some fascinating new changes to our Outdoor Learning area. The children asked lots of questions and did some great thinking and exploring with the frost. We talked about how the birds find it hard to find food in Winter and we used our fine motor skills to make bird feeders with Cheerios and pipe cleaners and hung them in the trees. Some of them have been eaten already. We also started making tree decorations to take home, we will be finishing them off this week. Some of the children enjoyed collecting litter from around school using the litter pickers but we were all surprised at the amount of rubbish we found. 

Week beginning 9.1.17

We had a great first week back. The children used their time to find their feet again. We had a few new children join our groups and they have settled in well too. The birds have been well fed with cheerio bird feeders which the children enjoy making but are also great for their fine motor development. The groups have tested our new story tent which has been well used; our favourite is 'We're going on a bear hunt!' There has been lots of climbing and balancing, which for some children has needed perseverance and has built their confidence. There's also been bug hunting, pretend campfires, treasure hunting and litter picking.

A busy first week back! Lets see what adventures this week brings.

Week beginning 16.1.17

We had lots of problem solving going on this week. Some of the KS2 children constructed a drain pipe system to pour the water down. They had to keep adjusting the height and angle of the pipes to ensure the water didn't splash out of the pipes on the way down. The children in year 1 engaged in a problem solving mission to stand up the old Christmas tree once they had moved it from one end of the area to the other. The learning, problem solving and communication between the children was really exciting to watch. 

Week beginning 23.1.17

We're going on a bear hunt. We're going to catch a big one. We're not scared! Some of the children this week were really getting involved in acting out this story in their play and were considering the bear's feeling at the end, showing great empathy skills. We have had some more fantastic problem solving and children showing resilience and self-motivation as they took on the challenge of balancing across the scaffolding boards. It's really exciting to watch how the children have developed over their time out with us. 

Week beginning 13/2/17

The week before half term was the children's last Outdoor Learning session of the year. We invited the parents and carers to come and join us to celebrate their learning. We had a great turn out, thankyou to all those who came. The parents got really involved with their children and enjoyed themselves too!

Week beginning 27/2/17

After half term, we started with a whole new group of children. We had a LOT of rain for our first week back and the children had great fun splashing in the puddles that formed. They all had a good go at the different activities that are available and were able to share what they had been doing back in class. We made bird feeders and hung them in the trees, the birds were very grateful!

Week beginning 6/3/17

Spring is on it's way! Buds are appearing on the trees and flowers are poking up. The children have been finding signs of life under the wood chip floor. We have been busy planting more saplings given to us by the woodland trust. The children have been really interested in bird spotting as they create their nests. 

Week beginning 13/3/17

The children are settling well into their Outdoor Learning, we've had some lovely weather this week and are looking ahead to the summer. We have been testing our comfort zones by finding mini beasts and climbing and jumping from the mud kitchen boards. The children are learning to manage their own risks and can choose whether to jump off or climb down. 

Week beginning 20/3/17

We have enjoyed experiencing the weather this week. We had windy days, soggy days and lovely warm, sunny days! The rain brings exciting muddy puddles to splash in, we talked about the effects of the wind and played with the scarves and ribbons. The children are getting increasingly settled; some are using the continuous provision to return to activities they started before, whereas others are venturing to new activities and trying out things they were unsure of before.

Week beginning 27/3/17

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Week beginning 3/4/17

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Week beginning 24/4/17

We had a fun first week back after the Easter holidays. Lots of different types of weather including a flurry of snow! It was very exciting as the wind whipped up and the snow started falling and blowing around. We stood trying to catch it in our hands. The children have been learning the names for the different minibeasts we find and enjoy going on a bug hunt, even if some of them don't want to touch them; it's fascinating to watch them scurry around. It was amazing to see the greenery that has grown over the holidays, the children have enjoyed noticing the changes around them.

Week beginning 1/5/17