Outdoor Learning and Creative Afternoons
The colder months of the new year seemed like the perfect time to develop our fire making skills and learn how to keep ourselves safe around camp fires. The children have helped feed the flames of our kelly kettle to make hot chocolate and have toasted marshmallows on sticks they have whittled themselves. The older children have also been taught to kindle a fire using a flint and steel and cotton wool.
The children have also developed their woodcaft skills and have measured and cut willow sticks for Harry Potter wand making and outdoor mathematical problem solving games for when the weather warms up.
With spring in the air and Valentine’s Day around the corner we made further use of our plentiful supply of willow by working together to make some willow hearts.
This is a new venture for Clifton School this summer but one we will definitely continue with in the future. We have benefited from working with Forest Schools expert Dave Corrie this summer but as all staff also attended a training session with him we will be able to run our own sessions in the future.
Reception, Year 1 and 2 were first to try out the Forest Schools experience as part of their sleepover. During the day they worked together to make four wooden benches which we sat on around the campfire. During the evening they made their own wood fired pizzas and wooden beads that they branded with their initial.
Learning new skills with a range of tools whilst also learning how to keep ourselves safe was a great challenge for the children which they all loved.
As Y3/4 did not have a residential experience this year they were offered half a day Forest Schools activities and worked in their school teams. They made stools, mallets, egg cups, coasters and whistles, branded some of these items and learned how to use a kelly kettle safely.
Year 6 were offered a Forest School day as their leavers treat and spent the day with Dave cooking pizza parcels and drop scones, learning how to use a kelly kettle and making stools, mallets and whistles with wood and a range of tools. It was a hugely enjoyable day and a lovely way to end their time in primary school.
We have a long established programme of residentials at our school. We start early with an annual sleepover for all KS1 children ( Reception – Year 2) which is a highlight for children and staff alike.
In Year 3 and 4 children venture further afield with a two night trip to an outdoor activity centre. Here, the children enjoy a wide range of activities which enhance team work and problem solving skills.
The Year 5 and 6 children have a longer visit to London alternate years, you can see some of the photos we took in our 2012 visit to York and 2014 visit to London here:
It is widely understood that learning outdoors is motivating, memorable and meaningful for children. With our school grounds now benefiting from a revamped playground area and school garden we are making more of our outdoor spaces for learning.
Every Friday afternoon the classes take turns to work with Mrs Davies and their class teacher on outdoor team building and problem solving activities. These are designed to develop skills in communication, collaboration and resilience alongside physical skills such as balance, stamina and co-ordination. The activities often incorporate learning in other curriculum areas such as maths and science and all this whilst having great fun with friends!
The challenges are levelled to match the age and skills of the children involved.
Class 1 working together to transport a cup of water around the adventure playground. Can they fill the jug?
Class 1 helped each other to remember the route across the coloured grid.
Class 2 worked in pairs to guide a blindfolded partner into the sheepfold and then had to work together to travel on the wooden skis to a target area. They got a lot further than the grown ups when they practised the day before! They even developed their own way of giving instructions for the children who did not know left and right yet.
Later in the term we are going to do map work and some orienteering.