Outdoor Learning

Our Outdoor Provision

Our intention is to be a learning community working in a holistic way, by integrating spiritual, moral, aesthetic, physical, social, emotional and intellectual strands in our everyday practice. Our outdoor environment will be of a quality to match all that is going on inside the school, and will provide a rich and complementary educational resource. We offer a stream of first-hand experiences which anchor education in the real world and which supports an authentic curriculum for the 21st century.

 

Mrs Potter

Look what we have been growing!

Mrs Potter is our Outdoor Learning Teacher and she works tirelessly to ensure our children are given the very best opportunity to learn about the natural world. Mrs Potter teaches outdoor geometry to all pupils in our school for 30 minutes each week, in addition to outdoor science for KS2 and foraging activities for KS1. A crucial aspect of Mrs Potter’s role is to work with the school leadership and governors to help plan the development of outdoor learning spaces and habitats and make our vision a reality. We also have Mr Dowling who helps to keep our outdoor environment looking great and not to mention the hard working pupils (and parents) who attend gardening club every week.

 

 

Our Outdoor Learning Classrooms

building the outdoor classroom

We put up our polytunnel in 2012 following generous funding from Mrs Mabel Calthorpe. We use the polytunnel throughout the year with our science curriculum all tailored in to outdoor learning. Playground Produce – our school cooperative – also use the space for their enterprise work.

 

 

 

In 2015 we built our first outdoor classroom and then in 2017 we built our slightly larger second outdoor classroom. These rooms are utilised most mornings for small group work including Maths (specifically geometry), Science and English. In the afternoons, they offer a quiet space where individuals and small groups can complete their work, whilst enjoying the view of the outdoor environment.

All children have an entitlement to outdoor education whilst at St Margaret’s. Each and every class has an allotted time working outside with our outdoor learning teacher each week; that could, for example, involve identifying trees, planting vegetables or discovering the natural world – recent visitors to our school grounds include Muntjac deer, Red Kite, Hobby and Pink-footed Geese, while we have Tree Sparrows nesting in our specially designed bird boxes. More recently, all pupils have been having outdoor geometry lessons each week. Data from the Year 6 SATs results in 2018 showed that the school achieved 93% compared to 71% nationally and 80% compared to 62% nationally for position and direction and properties of shapes (respectively).

The work which takes place outside is very practical and delivered in a small group situation so that understanding can be monitored immediately and misconceptions dealt with. Mrs Potter works closely with our Class Teachers to deliver objectives linked to the National Curriculum.

muddywatering

An intensive, scientific, practical and environmental understanding will be built as your child moves through school and will offer a very firmly established appreciation of the amazing world in which we live. The work our children are engaged in outside the classroom at St Margaret’s is well-planned with built in continuity and progression.

We have linked our Outdoor learning to working with the community and parents help out each week in our gardens during gardening club. We also offer other schools, who are aiming to develop the use of the outdoor spaces in their own schools, to visit and explore our outdoor environment and provision.

Key Aspects of our Provision

  1. Innovative and creative approach to teaching and learning.
  2. Imaginative teaching of the Primary Curriculum to meet full National Curriculum requirements.
  3. On-going monitoring, assessment and analysis of teaching and learning.
  4. High involvement of and with parents, the local community and partners within our community.
  5. A proactive approach and commitment to national initiatives.
  6. An on-going commitment to the professional development needs of staff, the local, national and international communities.
  7. Development and use of the outdoor environment as a teaching and learning resource and a spiritual reminder of the awe and wonder of creation.

The garden in Spring 2012…

gardeninggardening

…and again in Spring 2014

 …and again in Spring 2019

 

Young Environmentalist Award

The Lincolnshire Young Environmentalist Award 2018 was presented to St Margaret’s C.E. Primary School on 3rd May, in a ceremony held at Whisby Nature Park in Lincoln. St Margaret’s was one of the seven finalists who were in the running for the award, in recognition of our on-going environmental work, outdoor learning and wildlife habitats. The judges were particularly impressed with our school’s commitment to outdoor learning and our environmental work beyond the school boundaries. Every member of the school community is responsible for surveying the local woodlands, fields and water ways, and contributing environmental data which is fed into national surveys. We hope that winning this award will encourage the children and staff at St Margaret’s to continue their successful environmental work and appreciate their unique outdoor learning opportunities.