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Our Classroom Under The Sky

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.



July 2019: Building and sliding down waterslides, climbing trees, making and playing with stickmen, investigating light and shade and preparing and sewing our wildflower mini-meadow for the new school year.

June 2019: Summer's here! Exploring plant growth (and plant decay through composting), discovering minibeasts and habitats, moss painting, playing with boats in the water and further improving our setting with child-built outdoor bookshelves and bird feeding tables.

May 2019: A Royal baby, planting watermelons for summer and pumpkins for autumn, installing a new canopy for shade, playing in the sun with water, looking after our spring planting and ... THE PEG GAME!!!

April 2019: Stickplay, forest school games, planting and building our own frames and greenhouses using forest school materials

March 2019: Muddy March! Polishing pennies (and painting some red for red nose day!), making a wishing penny tree trunk, muddy play and embracing the rain!

February 2019: The 'Big Freeze' followed by the 'Big Thaw', building bird feeders and feeding the birds!

January 2019 - Winter Wonderland: feeding the birds, playing in the snow, making ice decorations with natural materials and building winter vocabulary

December 2018: Christmas is coming! Popping popcorn, decorating our trees and keeping warm!

November 2018: rolling pumpkins, drilling pumpkins, hammering pumpkins, sawing pumpkins, carving pumpkins, pumpkin soup, pumpkin racing, pumpkin birdfeeders ALL THINGS PUMPKIN ! ! !

October 2018 - 'Bonkers for Conkers II' learning and working together to roll conkers down our dry waterfall

September 2018 - Going 'Bonkers for Conkers' finding and shelling these wonderful types of nut! We even made patterns using conker nuts and their shells.

Our KS1 Outdoor Clasroom

Independent tasks. As well as our planned activities, children are free to explore and interact with our wonderful setting. Children are free to make use of our climbing ropes, waterfall, planting areas, mud kitchen as well as free-choice activities such as pattern making, going on a colour hunt, stacking the stones, building with sticks, mud and stones, playing with fairies, investigating outdoor creaures and plants and having lots of fun into the bargain.

Why learn outdoors?

Key Features of our outdoor classroom:-

  • 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



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 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.

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