Outdoor Learning

Outdoor Learning at Willowbrook Mead

We are very lucky to have a large area of outdoor space:

The Warren

Named after a long standing employee of the school, Elaine Warren, our outdoor classroom, The Warren, was completely renovated in the Summer of 2021.

The Forest

Our Key Stage 2 outdoor area includes “the forest” area which has some hidden activities, such as a xylophone.  It is also home to our new pond thanks to our project with “Learning Through Landscapes” .

Eco Schools is an international education programme which supports young people of all ages and abilities to work together to plan, deliver, monitor, and evaluate environmental actions in their school.

  • Engages young people in important environmental issues.
  • Demonstrates to pupils that environmental actions can be enjoyable, social, and rewarding.
  • Teaches responsibility and generates a sense of community.
  • Develops the skills and knowledge young people need to play an active role in protecting our environment now and throughout their lifetimes.
  • Empowers students with the belief that they can have a positive impact on our planet.
  • Enables schools to green their entire curriculum.

Willowbrook gained its first Green Flag in September 2019.  Here is our application document Eco School Application this shows the work our Eco Warriors put in to earn their Green Flag

This year we are applying for our second Green Flag award.  Our Eco Warriors, who lead this, consist of 1 pupil from each class in Years 1-6.  The three topics our Warriors have chosen to work on this year are:

Biodiversity (Maintaining a high level of plant, insect and animal life locally and globally.

Year 5 and 6 will lead this project by completing the following:

  • Year 5 are involved in Polli:Gen in partnership with Leicester City Council and The Wildlife Gardening Forum.  Pollination for the Nect Generation (Polli:Gen) is being delivered by expert Project Officers in 24 schools across Leicester, with the aim of making Leicester the most pollinator friendly city in England.
  • Create wildlife spaces in the school grounds.
  • Work with local volunteers to create more wildlife in community areas.
  • Help educate people and pupils about the diversity of wildlife and hot to protect it.
  • Create a nature trail in school grounds.
Litter (Reducing litter, which harms wildlife and costs millions to clear every year)

Year 1 and 2 will lead this project by completing the following:

  • Warriors will take care of our school environment with regular litter picks.
  • Pupils will work alongside local litter picking groups to help improve the environment of their local area.
  • They will take part in Litter Less Campaign.
  • Pupils will help to educate others of the problems of litter and the affect it can have on the environment and wildlife.
Healthy Living (Addressing your, and our planet’s health.  These two issues are intrinsically linked!)

Year 3 and 4 will lead this project by completing the following:

  • Growing fruit and vegetables, which will then be used to create food parcels for the community.
  • Developing this project to get parents working alongside them in our allotment so we can further involve the local community.

What is a Forest School?

Forest school is a child centred experiential education approach to outdoor learning. It takes a holistic approach to learning developing emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual skills through a connection with nature.

Risk benefit is central to Forest School as children learn through exploration and curiosity, building resilience and confidence through problem solving and facing challenges.

Six Principles of Forest School

  1. Forest School is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than one-off or infrequent visits; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session.
  2. Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a lifelong relationship between the learner and the natural world.
  3. Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning.
  4. Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
  5. Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
  6. Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners, who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.

At Willowbrook Mead we are at the start of developing our Forest School provision and plan to offer it to all children eventually.

Outdoor Curriculum

Taking the curriculum outdoors can have a beneficial impact on the learning and development of pupils. This includes enhancing problems solving skills to communication and resilience, outdoor learning provides endless opportunities for exploration, experimentation, and contextual learning.

Our school grounds are used to enrich all subjects in the curriculum and help teaching to be broad and relevant.  Our school grounds have a variety of environments to use, and all children have regular lessons outside.

           

Subject Policies/Plans

Outdoor Learning Subject Intent

Subject Leader/s

Mrs S Wakeling

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