Learning Outside The Classroom
Here at Meadows we like to take advantage of our amazing school grounds and outside spaces and give all children the opportunity to explore their learning outside. By getting active and taking learning out into the great outdoors, our children can explore new ways to enhance their learning and explore topics and skills in a much more practical way.
Our children enter Early Years provision and are always provided with opportunities to explore their learning outside and all too often we can lose these opportunities as the children develop through the school. We are dedicated to providing all children in all year groups the opportunity to develop their learning and enhance their learning experiences through outdoor exploration, taking lessons that span our whole curriculum out of the classroom and into the great outdoors.
In late September, the whole school donned their coats and shut their classroom doors to take part in an empty classroom day. Children enjoyed a whole variety of activities and experiences ranging from cooking on a campfire to using natural materials to create some stunning artwork. Classes also took their normal curriculum lessons outside for the day and enjoyed learning their writing and maths away from their desks.
But our learning outside of the classroom doesn’t just happen for one day only. Here at Meadows we are always looking to enrich our children’s learning experiences with outdoor activities and exploration to help them tackle their learning in new and exciting ways which we believe makes the learning more memorable for our students.
Here is a brief overview of some of the many fascinating things our children have been up to in the great outdoors so far their year…
In Year 1, we have been using the outdoors to help us develop our story ideas. We have used the bridge and pond near the Forest School site to bring ‘The 3 Billy Goats’ to life!
We also enjoy taking our Maths outside. The bigger outdoor spaces came in handy when we were measuring with metre sticks! Year 1 put on their investigating caps and worked together to find out which playground was the longest. It turns out that the year 3 and 4 playground is almost twice as long as year 1’s!
Year 2 have been using the outdoors to explore Science. Planting daffodil bulbs in our very own flower beds gave our young scientists a real hands-on experience which they will continue to observe and explore throughout the year.
Year 2 have even managed to take Computing outside! Exploring how computers perform tasks through algorithms by using instructional language, as they guide their friends around objects and obstacles.
Year 3 have been sharpening their Maths skills outside by creating a giant clock using hoops and sticks to help them with their work on time. Using a variety of natural and man-made materials, the children worked together to combine problem solving with their knowledge of time on analogue clocks.
Year 3 have also been exploring Maths outside to help them with conversion and exploring the link between centimetres and metres. Our mathematicians braved the winter weather to measure large distances using both metre sticks and rulers. Outside of the classroom, the children were given the opportunities to become much more creative with their measuring and were given problems to solve as a team such as: How many rulers will fit exactly over 3 metre sticks?
Year 4 entered the exciting world of inventing with their Science lessons, creating their very own phones! Our Year 4’s constructed their own paper cup phones and took them for the ultimate test outside to see how well they worked. It turned out the signal was very clear!
Our Year 4’s have also been doing some amazing Maths outside of the classroom. They combined learning about decimals with a high-energy interactive game that really helped the learning stick in their heads! Who knew learning decimals could be so much fun?
We are also very passionate about sharing our amazing opportunities and experiences with other schools in our locality; drawing on the expertise of our staff and out students to encourage others to take to the great outdoors.
Year 4 recently hosted children from Lickey Hills Primary School to teach them how to make compost in our very own allotment area.
The Best kind of Classroom" (Ian Macmillan)
At Meadows First School we firmly believe that children need to spend time outside. We plan for enrichment opportunities within the curriculum that embraces learning outside the classroom.
This includes Educational visits, off site opportunities and visitors to the school for embedding learning opportunities within the curriculum. For example, the children are given opportunites to create art outside, explore maths and science as well as weekly visits to Forest School in the early years as well as in Key Stage 1. Years 3 and 4 have opportunities to use the outside area within their planning - such as during Saxon Day, as well as visiting the allotment to grow plants and vegetables for selling at the summer fayre. All year groups arrange for special visitors to come into school, in addition to educational trips and experiences. Click here for an overview (subject to change as the curriculum adapts to meet the needs of the children)
The children also have the opportunity to learn with other schools. Click here to see the kinds of things we do.
Most years the school participates in the Malvern Gardening show, where the children plan, design and build a garden from scratch at the Malvern Show ground (with a little help from parents too!).
All year groups have opportunities to learn outside the classroom through going on educational visits to enrich the curriculum.
Sometimes visitors come into school to help the children with their understanding of certain themes. For example, on Diwali day, the whole school experienced dancing; Year 2 had a visit from ASDA to help prepare sandwiches and Years R,1 and 4 experienced animals from the Rainforest with their special visitor;
Every year we hold an 'empty classroom day', where the whole school spends a full day learning in the school grounds.
On Friday the whole school spent the day outside, learning and exploring outside the classroom. We visited the allotment, the orchard, the playgrounds, the field and Forest School.
The weather was lovely and we had a great time in the fresh air.
To celebrate our Eco Ambassador Award, the whole school spent the day outside in the environment. We all spent time singing and storytelling round a fire, exploring the Forest School areas, working in the allotment and doing our lessons outside, including music, art, English and Maths. We also enjoyed a picnic lunch. The day culminated in a ceremony where all the children watched the Eco Ambassador flag being raised.