Our children love being outside and having fun exploring, some do not always have the access to outdoor spaces and children's lives are increasingly filled with indoor games and electronic devices. We give them the opportunity to engage with wildlife, enjoy investigating and play creatively in our outdoor spaces. This enables us to allow every child to be imaginative as well as physically active and healthy. As well as cross curricular activities that use our outdoor spaces, children from Reception through to year 6 have a dedicated outdoor learning curriculum written by ourselves that focuses on four key areas:
- Nature and Wildlife- Opportunities to look at the vast amount of wildlife and nature reserves in our area as well as contribute to conservation campaigns both locally and nationally.
within our local area, develop self help skills such as navigation, water safety and first aid.
- Self-help skills- The children will learn about water safety, have plenty of opportunities on hikes to hone their navigational skills and also begin to learn the basics of first aid.
- Basic living skills- This will include cooking in the outdoors, foraging, a progression in fire making as well as revisiting and increasing the complexity of shelter building.
- Experiences in the outdoors- There are opportunities to follow trails and go on hikes in every yar group. In year 3 and 5 the children will have camping opportunities and from Year 2, the children' will take part in at least one outdoor pursuit each year.
We strongly believe that climbing and outdoor pursuits are great ways of developing character, resilience and confidence that can then be translated back into the classroom. We have opportunities each year from year 2 for children to take part in activities such as kayaking and climbing. This is another opportunity to get the children's to not only appreciate and be a part of the Lake District but also take part in activities that the area is renowned for.
Below are the planned "pursuit" experiences for each year group this year.
Year 2- Eden Rock
Year 3- Canoe rafting at Derwent Water
Year 4- Canoeing at Derwent Water
Year 5- Camping at Ratlingate, Kayaking at Hawes End, Indoor climbing
Year 6- Paddle boarding and ghyll scrambling
There is strong evidence that when learning outdoors children:
- Attain higher levels of knowledge and skills
- Improve their physical health and increase their motor abilities
- Socialise and interact in new and different ways with their peers and adults
- Show improved attention and enhanced self concept, self esteem and mental health
- Change their environment behaviours and their values and attitudes
At Beaconside we feel it is important to enable children to use the outside environment as a context for learning throughout the year. To see seasons change and how these effect the wildlife and plants around them.
In the Early Years children will have a variety of different experiences in the outdoors. These will be a mixture of planned learning opportunities, opportunities to explore in the outdoors and also through continuous provision in our Early Years outdoor classroom. Experiences include makiing a weather station, going to Beacon woods, visiting our school pond and going on a Gruffalo trail at Whinlatter.
Key Stage 1
In Key Stage 1, children will have a series of outdoor lessons every term and will begin to build up their skills in shelter building. They will learn about water safety, continuwe to explore our local wildlife and also have talks from the Ernest Trust. They will also return to the Beacon as well as go on a trail around Thacka Beck. In the Summer term,. the children will have visits to Stockswood outdoor learning Centre (Year 1) and an overnight residential at Windermere (Year 2).
Key Stage 2
The learning has been designed in a way where it builds from the children Key Stage 1 experiences. Therefore the children will hone their shelter building skills which increase in complexity and will place more ownership on the children to source their own materials. Children will learn knots, how to make a campfire and also how to use flint to create a fire. The children will continue to go on hikes and navigate trails. Visits include a hike around Derwent Water, a visit to Swindale to learn about remeandering, a trip to Grasmere as well as two camping experiences (on site in Year 3 and Ratlingate in Year5)
Mrs Sarah Thomas - Outdoor Learning Leader - Visits, pursuits and outdoor experiences
Mrs Sarah Holmes- Outdoor Learning Leader- Planning the outdoor learning content for curriculum and staff development