Term 3 February 2020
Winter and looking after our wildlife.
❄️Connecting with nature ❄️ Environmental awareness ❄️ Seasonal changes ❄️ Compassion for other creatures
We were a bit hampered by the weather this session as the tail end of Storm Ciara was still with us, so some of our activities had to be done inside. We still managed to have a winter scavenger hunt though and find deciduous and ever green trees and think about how winter impacts on some of the creature we share our world with. We discussed how we could help them during the winter months and set to making some fat balls and Cheerio garlands. The robin that lives in the wildlife area was very pleased with them, as was a hungry squirrel who ran off with one of them. Even our chicken enjoyed having a peck!
Term 2 Stickman
🍁connecting with nature 🍁observation skills 🍁 taking turns 🍁 patience 🍁 imagination 🍁 creativity 🍁 communication 🍁 developing fine and gross motor skills 🍁 discovering which materials float and sink
All hail Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler! What did we do before them?
Taking inspiration from the wonderful Stickman, we based our outdoor learning around all things ‘sticky’. The children were encouraged to find their own stick people, give them an identity, background story and personality and then to take them on an adventure.
On their journey we experimented with different natural materials that we found to see which would float - like Stickman - or sink. The children were interested to see that some did a bit of both!
The children had the opportunity to throw the stick characters but some didn’t think that this was a kind way to treat our sticky friends so decided not to. Others had real adventures as they were flying through the sky - some even reached as high as space and came across aliens!!
The children are going to write a story back in class about their adventures. I’m sure their tales will rival those Odysseus! Can’t wait to read them.
Term 1 October 2019
🍂Being independent 🍂Resilience 🍂 The seasons 🍂 Changes 🍂Focus 🍂Connecting with nature 🍂Increasing memory 🍂Animal behaviour 🍂Building a shelter 🍂 Competition and survival of the fittest! 🍂Creativity
Oo but it was wet for our outdoor learning day. The children who didn't already have some, put on waterproof trousers to keep them drier and warmer. It's quite a challenge to put extra layers on and negotiate wellies and wet floors, do everything in the correct order and maintain your balance!
We made a basic shelter using a tarpaulin and bungies and it protected us from the occasional downpour.
Before they went off to explore and do their nature scavenger hunt, we spoke about how to keep ourselves safe outside and about how things in the natural world change in Autumn. They were all given 5 conkers and pretended to be squirrels hiding their food to feed themselves over winter. At the end of the session they had to try and remember where they had hidden their conkers. Many found none and would have been very hungry squirrels. Some 'squirrels' not only found their own but came back with a stash of other squirrels dinner too! We discussed whether they thought squirrels would share their food, they thought probably not but when they stopped being squirrels and started being children again, some people were very kind and gave out their conkers.
The children had their photograph taken under the Ash tree, they knew that the leaves weren't always the beautiful yellow colour and that they change. They were astonished to see how tiny the Ash tree seeds are and could hardly believe that something so tall could grow from something so tiny. We spoke about why the tree produced so many seeds and the child's came up with some excellent suggestions from them falling onto concrete to being swept away do not finding good soil to set roots in. They noticed lots of fascinating things from beautifully coloured leaves, to mushrooms and other fungus. They enjoyed finding leaves of similar colours and tones and writing words with them.
Term 6 June 2019
Class 1 have been looking at the 5 senses and outdoors is the perfect place to explore these further.
During this session the children were learning about:
🌿 connecting with nature 🌿 biological science 🌿 plant identification 🌿 descriptive language 🌿 being still 🌿 being active 🌿 environmental science 🌿 recognising and managing risk
‘Toby Torso’ helped us to identify which areas of the body control which sense, the children enjoyed looking closely at his eye and brain and were able to match up the sense with the organ in the body. We spoke briefly about the different areas of the brain that actually control the different senses.
We put blind folds on and sat quietly in a solitary spot to help us focus on listening to the sounds around us. One child thought she heard a ladybird crawling across a leaf!
The children felt a variety of nature treasures, from teasles and pine cones to grasses and bark and a roe deers skull complete with horns and teeth. They came up with some very impressive range of adjectives to describe the sensations they felt; prickly, tingly, sharp, soft, smooth, crinkly, velvety.
There are so many beautiful things in our school grounds that sometimes we don’t notice because we are concentrating on other things. It was so lovely to see the children taking time to ‘gaze in wonder’ at the array of things we share our world with.
Lavender, rosemary, decomposing wood and orange were among some of the smells the children explored.
There are different flavours being added to the list but we concentrated on sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami.
There were different points of view - and reactions - to the tastes!
Term 5 April / May 2019
We have been looking at planet identification this half term paying particular attention to trees and categorising them into ‘evergreen’ and ‘deciduous’. Through this activity the children were developing:
🌿 an appreciation of the natural world 🌿species identification skills 🌿 using their senses
🌿 communication 🌿 being active 🌿 focus 🌿 observation skills 🌿 curiosity 🌿 their understanding of biodiversity.
The children labelled the different parts of a tree and looked closely at the leaves. They were encouraged to colour their leaves in realistically but sometimes imagination just takes over and you just have to run with it! One child ‘s leaf is to be found “on the tree at the end of the rainbow. When the rainbow ends and the next one comes, this tree will be fully grown.” Wow. Such a beautiful image.
Term 4 March 2019
It will be Keep Britain Tidy’s Big Clean Up this term, so we looked at the effect of rubbish on our world. We looked in particular at food waste and did a food waste hunt. The children also decided to pick up some litter they found in the playground and wildlife area. What fabulous Eco-Hero’s.
The bulbs the children planted have started to peep their heads out of the ground, some are in full bloom and look beautiful.
While we were outside, an enormous and very brazen squirrel came to see what we were doing. He wasn’t at all concerned by being so close to us.
Term 3 January 2019
Class 1 took inspiration from the RSPB's annual Big Bird Watch. Getting involved with events like this helps the children develop many things including :
🌿Connecting with nature 🌿 Using observation skills 🌿Patience 🌿Species recognition 🌿Environmental impact and responsibility.
The children also used the opportunity to make some props for this terms story book, The Three Little pigs. As they collected resources they found lots of litter, it seems to be an ever present problem, but thankfully we have lots of environmentally minded, community spirited people in our school to help pick it up. Thank you everyone.
For our outdoor sessions this half term, Class 1 had the task of planting the bulbs that we received from Bulbs4Kids. This is a company based in the Netherlands that provides bulbs, trowels and information booklets to children. Through this activity we were learning about:
- connecting with nature
- bulbs, their different parts and what they need to grow
- being active
- maths - measuring and estimating depth
- using tools safely
Term 1 September 2018
We had a very exciting time at our first outdoor learning session. We went over the rules that we need to keep us all safe outside, set up our ‘base camp’ in the woodland area complete with hand washing facilities. We practised our ‘freeze’ and ‘return to base’ signals and played ‘sticky feet’ so we could all get together in a circle with miminal fuss.
Outdoor learning focuses on the process of the learning rather than necessarily the outcome; there may not be an actual ‘thing’ to look at or mark at the end of the session, but the things the children experience develop so many skills that are necessary for life and more traditional classroom based learning.
Today we looked at what we share our school with. There are all sorts of mammals, birds and insects that visit our school including moles, hedgehogs and in the holiday Ms Shaw saw a baby mink!
The children went on a scavenger hunt to see what they could find.
Term 4 March 2018
We had planned to take part in National Waste Week but then the snow came! We hunted around for the Food Waste fact sheets and were very surprised to discover how much food we waste in the U.K.. We throw away 3 million cheese slices every year and each family throw away about £700 worth of food a year.
We played in the snow and started to build our own igloo. Fun times developing gross motor skills, problem solving, learning about environmental issues and creating snow day memories.
Term 3 Feb 2018
Class 1 took inspiration from the RSPB annual Big Bird Watch and looked at birds in our school grounds.
Term 2 Nov - Dec 2017
This week was Halloween and we were thinking about the festival of Samhain, a festival that has been celebrated for even longer than Halloween. It is at this time of the year, when the nights are getting longer and the days are getting shorter, that ancient people, and pagan's today, believe that the veil between our world and the magical, mystical world becomes thin so fairy folk and otherworldly beings can come and visit us. Historically people have dressed up like these beings and left treats for them so that they wouldn't be tricksy or mischievous when they are here. It is believed that this is where the tradition of dressing up and 'trick or treating' may have come from.
The children collected nature treasures and made houses, forts and castles that any visiting fairy folk could play in if they visit and some made masks.
We enjoyed our time outside being creative in the autumn sunshine.
Term 1 Sept - Oct 2017
The title of our session was, "What do we share our school with?"
We started with a time of quiet so we could listen carefully to what we could hear around us and take a moment to be grateful for the wonderful world we live in.
We played a game called "What's my animal." We had to think about how we could describe them and thought about how to classify different creatures; birds, mammals, fish, insects, spiders and reptiles. We had to think about what they eat, if they are awake in the day or night and where they live to help us guess them. This introduced words like herbivore and nocturnal, who knew playing games could be so educational!
We explored the site and shared interesting things we found.