Learning outside of the classroom is about raising young people’s achievement through an organised, powerful approach to learning in which direct experience is of prime importance.
This is not only about what we learn, but most importantly, how and where we learn. It is about improving young people’s understanding, skills, values, personal and social development and can act as a vehicle to develop young people’s capacity and motivation to learn.
Real-world learning brings the benefits of formal and informal education together and reinforces what good educationalists have always known: that the most meaningful learning occurs through acquiring knowledge and skills through real-life, practical or hands-on activities.
There is a wealth of evidence, which clearly demonstrates the benefits for young people’s learning and personal development outside the classroom. In summary, learning outside the classroom:
- tackles social mobility, giving children new and exciting experiences that inspire them to reach their true potential. These real world experiences raise aspirations, equipping young people with the skills they need to become active and responsible citizens and shape a fit and motivated workforce.
- addresses educational inequality, re-motivating children who do not thrive in the traditional classroom environment, such as those from disadvantaged backgrounds or with Special Educational Needs. Young people who experience learning outside the classroom as a regular part of their school life benefit from increased self esteem, and become more engaged in their education both inside and outside the classroom walls.
- Learning outside the classroom is known to contribute significantly to raising standards & improving pupils’ personal, social & emotional development.
Forest School gives our children things they cannot get in a classroom. It gives them time with their peers in a wild, natural place to think, to immerse themselves in nature, to learn about the natural world, to organise their own time, to learn to manage their own risk, to develop confidence and social skills, to overcome any fears of the natural world and to learn to use tools and fire safely.
All children in Key Stage 2 take part in a forest school programme once a week for 6 weeks each year. This is led by our long-standing teacher and qualified Forest School leader Kate Elander and a dedicated Forest School teaching assistant.
Safety is our highest priority at all times during Forest School.Children understand that their participation is conditional on maintaining safety rules and staying safe within the boundary .
Self directed time and time to play are crucial parts of FS. Tools and resources are provided and safety briefings for what we use are repeated each week. Once children demonstrate that they can use tools safely, the choice of outcome is theirs. This way, children’s imaginations expand and they have amazing ideas for projects and organised games that the adults would never have thought of in a million years of careful planning. Self-directed play, and project work which children choose to do, simply because they want to do it, give them the negotiating and planning skills they will need all their lives.
We use different sites for our Forest School outings. We can walk to Calthorpe Community Garden - https://www.calthorpecommunitygarden.org.uk/ - and to the secluded Barnsbury Woods, which we have to ourselves each week - https://livinglondonhistory.com/barnsbury-wood-londons-smallest-local-nature-reserve/ -
When we go to the woods at Parkland Walk nature Reserve, we get the 19 bus and walk through Finsbury Park
The Forest School programme at our school is run with the six national Forest School principles uppermost:
- The 6 Principles of Forest School
- 1. Forest School is a long-term process
- 2. Forest School takes place in a natural wooded environment
- 3. Forest School aims to promote holistic development
- 4. Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks
- 5. Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners
- 6. Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes
Hugh Myddelton School Farm
Our much-loved school farm was created in 2019. It is a space where pupils are able to explore our nature garden, grow vegetables, pond dip, learn in our outdoor classroom, or to visit and care for the school rabbits.
The school farm is used by pupils of all ages throughout the school, it is where weekly outdoor learning lessons take place for EYFS and Key Stage 1 pupils.