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Our Classroom Under The Sky

Coco Bear is our school's mascot for attendance for the reception children.

He had a wonderful holiday in Scotland with Mrs Kirkbride's dog, Eddie! and made lots of friends.

Having fun at John O Groats.

Can you build towers using pebbles?

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Can you build towers using pebbles? 2
Can you build towers using pebbles? 3
Can you build towers using pebbles? 4

We have come back to school with the exciting news that our nursery children are going to be exploring the Outside Classroom this year.

All the children have now been outside dressed in their 'firefighters' waterproofs and wellingtons.

They have splashed in the water, sailed boats down a river, been busy cooking in the mud kitchen and gardening in the garden area.

Some children have been construction workers wheeling barrows full of logs to a site where they made a spider a home.

Keep watching for the pictures.

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On the other side in the Key Stage 1 Outside Classroom there has been a lot of work done over the holidays.

The gazebo is now transformed into a classroom with windows over looking the canal. The children can now work in comfort on exciting projects whilst watching the bird life on and around the canal.

More transformations are going to be happening in the outside areas so that more subjects can come alive and the children will continued to be inspired to learn.

Again watch this space for photos and updates.

At Whitefield Infant School, we use the outdoors as our 'Classroom Under the Sky', which is roofed only by the clouds! It acts as an outdoor classroom where children can explore, investigate and discover the natural environment, alongside developing their language and gaining first-hand learning experiences. It provides a valuable teaching tool for teaching and learning in all curriculum areas.  Our 'Classroom Under the Sky' uses the Forest School Principles, interwoven with our own visions and values and beliefs about how our children learn.

 

What is a Forest School?

Key Features of Forest Schools:-

  • Allows every child to have a voice, especially those who find it difficult to communicate in the more conventional learning environment.
  • The use of a natural outdoor environment.
  • Child-led approach to children’s learning which is fun and unhurried.
  • A high adult to child ratio allows children to undertake new experiences and challenges whilst taking appropriate risks.
  • Long term programme that allows repetition where children come into contact with nature using all their senses.
  • Supports personalised learning.
  • Builds children’s confidence and self esteem as they are responsible for making their own decisions and are carefully supported to achieve.
  • Trained adults are facilitators and observers, rather than leaders and directors.

 

At Whitefield we take these features and weave them into our outside learning, linking them into the curriculum making it become more alive, exciting and real.

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Our Outside Learning is.....
  • Fun!
  • Regular and ongoing
  • A way of raising confidence and self-esteem
  • Safe, outdoor play and education
  • A way to learn how to manage risks
  • The chance to develop emotionally and physically
  • An opportunity to learn about the curriculum in a natural environment
  • Encourages the children to connect to nature and the great outdoors.
What children do in our Classrooms under the Sky .....
  • Build dens and shelters
  • Games and physical activity
  • Explore the environment
  • Music and lots of noise
  • Trails and Treasure hunts
  • Creativity and Art
  • Using tools safely to make natural items
  • Fires, cooking and healthy eating
  • Science and technology

 

and this year more subjects are going to come alive using the outdoors as a stimulus and a fun place to learn.

Can you build a house for a Smurf? We can.

Every half term we have a different topic which we base our learning on.

In the EYFS our topics have been:-

  • Exploration - what is outside? extended to look at the effects of Autumn on our trees and leaves. Throughout the year we will be looking at the effects of weather and seasons on both the plant and animal life.
  • British mammals and birds
  • Planting bulbs and building homes
  • Percy the Park Keeper and Friendship
  • Smurfs and using Ipads
  • Gardening

The children are able to explore and develop their own interests in the many areas there are, kitchen, garden, water, construction and music to name a few.

Some of the above are on going with small changes made to them following on from the children's own interest or reinforcing learning taking place in the classroom.

Strong links are made to literacy and the development of the children's language and understanding.

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In KS1 the Year 2 children will be using the outdoors to bring Geography to life next half term.

They will link geography to literacy - in this way they are more in tuned with the stories and it will help with their understanding and own pieces of writing.

 

We will be using the book The Great Explorer to begin our learning, looking at what equipment an explorer would need, the need for team work if you are to survive and achieve your mission and very simple map making. In the EYFS area they will create their own world of rivers, mountains, icebergs, lakes and oceans. They will have a base camp from which to start their adventures and to return to for refreshments at the end.

 

Our next book will take us into the land of The Lonely Beast. The children will work in teams to locate the beast and used Ipads to record their work. They will build upon their knowledge of geographical features to create their own maps using pictures of the Lonely Beast and write clues to his location.

 

Our third book will be The Queen's hat. The children will work in teams and apply their knowledge of the EYFS area where their learning has been based.  Each team will create their own story of the Queen's hat, draw maps and record it's adventures using Ipads. They will then test each other by handing over the necessary information for another team to locate pictures of their own hat and it's adventures.

 

Hopefully we will have a year group of children who will be mini explorers by the end of term. 

 

 

 

Last years explorers.

In all the age groups children are transformed when they go outside.

They find their voices, increase in confidence and develop social skills through actions.

They do not mind the weather, dressed in their waterproofs, well wrapped up and boots, they are off to see what is out there from an acorn, a snail, a leaf, painting, building, I could go on and on and on, enthusiasm is catching and our school has it in bundles.

Things we enjoy doing with our friends.

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