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Outdoor Learning

Submitted by headteacher on Monday, November 11, 2019 - 00:49

Thursday 7th November was National Outdoor Classroom Day and it was a delight to watch all the children have the opportunity to take their learning outside. A recent article in the Guardian makes an interesting read and confirms that our commitment to Forest School, Creative Play and Outdoor Learning is key to improving our children's wellbeing.

Children should spend an hour a day in wild, says Wildlife Trusts

Government urged to create spaces where young people can connect with natural world

Primary schoolchildren should spend at least one hour a day learning and playing in wild places to help improve their wellbeing and confidence, a leading conservation organisation has said.

The Wildlife Trusts, which represents 46 local organisations and 2,300 nature reserves in the UK, has called on the next government to create a network of wild spaces where young people are free to climb trees, learn about wildlife and connect with the natural world while at school.

'It's given the children a love of wildlife': the schools letting nature in

Outdoor teaching in the UK should be used to help children develop a personal connection with nature and pursue their own passions, whether it be searching for frog spawn, building dens or climbing trees, according the the organisation.

 

The recommendations follow a study for the trust by the Institute of Education, part of University College London (UCL), which found strong positive benefits for the self-worth and confidence of primary schoolchildren after taking part in activities in wild places.

The conservation organisation said an hour a day outdoors for all British children aged four to 11 would help re-establish the connection between young people and nature in the UK.

In 2015, a YouGov survey for the trust found less than one in 10 British children have access to natural areas compared to 40% of adults when they were younger. Only half of children said their school had an outdoor nature area, 37% had never seen a hedgehog and most children surveyed had never found frog spawn in a pond.

 

For the study, UCL researchers found the overwhelming majority of children surveyed had learned something about the natural world, felt more confident and had better relationships with their classmates after spending time outdoors.

The academics surveyed 451 children in 12 areas across England before and after participating in activities ran by a wildlife trust like identifying plants and trees, also interviewing teachers and Wildlife Trust educators.

Of the children interviewed, 79% said the experience could help their school work, 84% felt they were capable of doing new things and 79% reported feeling more confident.

 

Nigel Doar, the Wildlife Trusts’ director of strategy, said: “This research shows that children experience profound and diverse benefits through regular contact with nature. Contact with the wild improves children’s wellbeing, motivation and confidence. The data also highlights how children’s experiences in and around the natural world led to better relationships with their teachers and classmates.

“The Wildlife Trusts believe everyone should have the opportunity to experience the joy of wildlife in daily life and we’re calling on government to recognise the multiple benefits of nature for children – and ensure that at least one hour per school day is spent outdoors learning and playing in wild places.”

Prof Michael Reiss, Institute of Education, UCL, said: “Each generation seems to have less contact with the outdoors than the preceding one. We owe it to all young people to reverse this trend – for their sakes, for our sakes and for nature’s sake.”

Our Amazing School

Submitted by headteacher on Thursday, July 18, 2019 - 23:28
Wow! What another very busy and successful school year we have had and last Friday was a shining example of the day in the life of our wonderful school. It started at about 6.30am with parents and staff together setting up for sportsday! Mr & Mrs Stanford even arrived with bacon sandwiches which were appreciated very much. Indeed it was a fabulous morning enjoyed by everyone. Well done to all the children but particularly those in Scotney who won both the KS1 and KS2 sports cup. Thank you to Mrs Mileham for organising the event, which as ever ran very smoothly. Thank you to the PTFA for providing refreshments and of course to you the parents, families and friends for all your support.

Following a picnic lunch, the school then opened its' classroom doors and parents were warmly invited to experience an afternoon in the life of Goudhurst & Kilndown pupil. There was a real buzz throughout the school and lots of parents commented on how it had been a wonderful day, just perfect!

Hungry Crocodiles and Pond Dipping

Submitted by tawnyowl on Saturday, June 8, 2019 - 17:41

Year One enjoyed a day at school, playing a team building game and pond dipping. They learned so much while having fun!

Each group began with a time of reflection - considering how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place. Each thinking about something for which they are grateful.

Have a look at the video; the rest of the photos are on the class gallery. 

Sorry - the video is taking a while to upload; I will try again tomorrow.

Year 2 in the Sunshine

Submitted by tawnyowl on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - 16:16

Year 2 in the Sunshine

Year 2 enjoyed their first session in the woods today. Spring has well and truly joined us – the birds were singing and the bluebells are beautiful. There is a crop of young trees growing in the fire circle – we think they are Ash but we are going to plant some up into pots and grow them on to see how they grow.

The willow which was planted by Years 3 and 4 in the Autumn Term is growing well now and hopefully will provide a good screen for the Treebog in the not too distant future.

There are Great Tits nesting in one of the boxes made by the Magpie Group and Year 5 and some Blue-tits nesting in the YR ‘Silver Birch’ nest box. We are also aware of several other nests which are appearing up in the trees.

The weather was generally better than we had expected.

Hornbeam Group spent the morning exploring the area and enjoyed picking nettles and drinking nettle tea. Alder Group were less enthusiastic about nettle tea.

Both groups found lots of minibeasts out and about. They found millipedes, woodlice, beetles, centipedes, shield bug, a beetle larva, a stripy snail and a particularly special green caterpillar which was like the Inchworm measuring one of the children’s shoulder! We also saw several butterflies: Orange Tips, and various Whites. Tawny Owl has also included a photo of a Bee Fly she spotted during the holiday in the woods.

Alder group were helpful in cutting and storing wood for the woodshed.

Both groups enjoyed Silent Spot – we heard Wrens, Chiff-Chaff, and Blue-tits.

Tawny Owl spotted a Marsh Tit while she was in the woods on her own early in the day.

Tawny Owl set up a camera trap a few weeks ago - have a look at the little clips of night life in the woods.

 

 

Catch Up!

Submitted by tawnyowl on Monday, April 22, 2019 - 16:21

Tawny Owl has added the final videos for the Spring Term all in one go. There is a YR video and then some Y5 videos in this post.

 

Harvesting and Cooking our Vegetables

Submitted by tawnyowl on Monday, April 22, 2019 - 15:34

Tawny Owl managed to get a little behind on the blog recently but as you can see from the following photos, we spent a valuable day harvesting our vegetables, cooking them in the new kitchen in the Sunshine Room, as well as eating them. We also helped out with a number of other gardening jobs around our Outdoor Classroom.

A Celebration of Sawdust!

Submitted by tawnyowl on Thursday, March 28, 2019 - 19:10

Year R enjoyed a warm, sunny day in the woods today. We had two photographers on hand for the morning session, so there are some lovely photos of Beech Group. However. Tawny Owl became so engrossed in observing the children after lunch, she forgot to pick up her camera, so there are no photos for the Oak Group today.

As you can see from the lovely photos, the children enjoyed playing with a pile of sawdust, and each child also had the opportunity to begin their Forest School journey in use of tools - they used a vegetable peeler and sharp vegetable knife to begin to learn about using sharp tools safely. Next week, we will progress to using scout knives to peel the bark off hazel to use as cooking sticks. We were really proud of how focussed the children were. They all enjoyed eating the carrots too!

During the afternoon, Oak group also enjoyed the tree cookies (and were really helpful in putting them all away at the end), although there was little sawdust left. They also hunted for worms and found beetles as well.

Thank you Daffodil for the lovely photos!

Sunshine in the woods!

Submitted by tawnyowl on Monday, February 18, 2019 - 16:08

Hippos were pleased to be back in the woods today - Raven in particular had a huge smile on her face!

Have a look at the video for a taste of the children's learning.

Forest School at School

Submitted by tawnyowl on Monday, February 18, 2019 - 16:03

We remained in school today as we had a shortage of adults to support our session in the woods.

However, this did not mean a 'quiet' time!

Tawny Owl planned some exciting activities and the children achieved lots of learning.

Have a look at the video to get a taste of what they were up to.

 

A Snowy Day

Submitted by tawnyowl on Friday, February 1, 2019 - 16:13

Year R arrived well prepared for the winter conditions this week. We were blessed with a bright, sunny start even though it was very chilly.

Wren had kindly arrived in the woods early to set everything  up and when we arrived the fire was alight and the kettle was on.

The children were very respectful of the fire circle and kept themselves safe from the fire. They settled quickly to their learning and enjoyed bird watching, tree climbing, running around, playing with the snow, snowballs (after agreement about what would make a good game, and what might spoil it) building camps and even a dinosaur! The wood pile was popular again with some children.

One of the games they played involved catching snowflakes on their tongues, which was introduced by Mayfly.

Oak Group enjoyed the story of Beegu at the start of their session; the children were encouraged to think about how Beegu was feeling at different points in the story - encouraging empathy.

Beech Group began their afternoon in good spirits - they sang our Forest School Song with great gusto in the minibus on the way down to the woods, and some of them also sang it on the way back. They were very creative with their composition of lyrics.

 

The adults noticed this week that the children are becoming more independent, and they are becoming better at listening to and following instructions. There remain a few who still need more practise in doing up their own seat belts, but there are more children each week available to help others, which is fantastic.

 

Have a look at the video and photos to see the fun we had with our learning. 

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