This outdoor learning blog has been created for you, whether you are a pupil, parent, governor, teacher, or member of the local community interested to join in and share your thoughts, ideas, and responses to the wonderful learning happening at Therfield First School . This summer term we are introducing outdoor learning across the key stages, not as an ‘add-on’ to the curriculum, but as learning that starts from real-life experiences and situations that require meaningful responses that develop into cross-curricular learning.
Our aims include:
Deepening children’s knowledge and understanding of how the natural environment, and in particular, how plant life contributes to human life
Connecting children to their local area to inspire authentic learning experiences and responses to the environment about them
Providing opportunity for all to inform the curriculum content and environment outside the classroom
Becoming skilful and reflective in problem solving, developing key countryside citizenship skills
Developing further our knowledge of teaching and learning with the environment, further defining our role as educators in the outdoors.
In achieving these aims, we are fortunate to have on our doorstep Greys Farm, home to 500 acres of meadow, and listed as a charity called redlist revival, which is committed to ensuring the survival of ‘red listed’ species identified by the UK Government. We share in the ideal that children and their educators should become informed of approaches to outdoor school that sustain active community involvement, and approaches to living, benefitting the local natural environment, and improving our attitudes towards the world we live in.
The views that are expressed in this blog are those of individuals, and myself as a teacher at Therfield First School, and in no way express the views of my employer.
You are all welcome to engage in this summer term’s learning journey of discovery.
Making willow stars brought natural materials into the Christmas frenzy for decorations…but a star can be an angel too I’m told!
This is my last blog for Therfield Outdoor School. I hope you have enjoyed being part of it as much as I have enjoyed delving into children’s ideas and nurturing a greater appreciation for our shared environment. The importance of this strand of work will continue as I will be developing new projects to embed the natural world into curriculum.
Thank you for your interest and all the best for this festive season.
‘A child’s world is fresh new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement’ – Rachel Carson.
Making a stick into a person is a very ordinary thing for a young explorer. But a surf board, holly inspired bow tie, feathered hair, sun-faces, wobble arms, wings and more… were some of the items included last Friday.
And yes, every created stick person who could be held had a go on the surf board! We all need moments like this – to let go and create and have fun as a group.
Duckpuddle created a nature wall outdoors – as we roamed for the Lost Words we added nature items and picture to the wall. Others explored the spellings and meanings of the 100 words which were later developed into demo posters.
Rooksnests worked on a splendid display of the The Lost Words which read ‘Free the words – Let them Fly’ and included nature collage portraits of the class.
An opportunity to play with those Lost Words which were kept behind police tape!
Honeypot children painted big pictures of those Lost Words.
A lot of discussion was had by all the classes and many more activities occured throughtout the Re-Wilding Nature Words Week. Importantly, while we recognise that new words must enter the dictionary, we disagree that these new words (which include celebrity, chatroom, and creep) should be included at the expense of common nature words. We need nature words because we USE them and can recognise these items outdoors.
As educators we believe that the natural world offers more to young children in terms of learning and well-being than any virtual world can ever offer. If children are not using these nature words then it is our responsibility to include these in their everyday activities – because we cannot love and care for a world that is ignored particulary in the knowledge that we live in a time of a rapidly changing ecological landscape that will affect our lives. Being a countryside citizen means we take responsibility for our actions and we know that we can make small changes that affect our natural world positively.
Did you know that ‘poppy’ is a DELETED nature word from the Oxford Junior Dictionary? Exploring our school field in the space of five minutes we found a POPPY in BLOOM not far from a WILLOW next to a HOLLY bush. Four words all DELETED! The photo above was taken by children who spotted it on the edge of our field.
‘But they exist!’ we all chanted.
‘And we have a GOLDFISH indoors!’ added someone else.
You can’t DELETE what exists and you can’t ignore that we love these words because they are as much part of our landscape as we are. A nature hunt started our search for the DELETED words both Lost and Found.
The final gardening club met last Friday to plant the selection of bulbs purchased through the sale of bird cakes. We cleared the weeds from the pots in the main playground and added tulips (in a variety of colours) and daffodils, and finally potted hyacinths – one for each member of the club to take home and enjoy as it grows over the next few months.
Well done gardeners! Your work has been useful, informative, and fun.