The Russell School

Outdoor Learning

In 2018 we opened our 'Nature Lodge' which was built by Mr Bailey.   

Our curriculum has been redesigned to build in links to outdoor learning across all areas of the curriculum.  All classes take part in at least one full morning of outdoor learning and several other shorter sessions each half term which provides the children with opportunities for discovery, for physical challenges, for dramatic play, team building and creative problem solving. Opportunities for art and craft, environmental games or learning through storytelling and song are also woven into the curriculum. 

The Bug Hotel was designed by members of the Eco Squad and provides a safe hideaway for wildlife in the school grounds.

 

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 The Benefits of Outdoor Learning

Children grow, learn and thrive better when connected with the natural world. They are biologically designed to be in it.

  • The pace of learning is important. Creating time to think and reflect through a sense of ‘slowliness’ can be very powerful.
  • Learning through adventure and experience is ‘hard wired’ into children and should be strongly nurtured. It tends to be adult attitudes and curriculum pressures that are often the barrier!
  • Learning outdoors and in a less structured environment can be more relaxing for many learners. 
  • We can use outdoor learning to create a ‘growth mindset’ in our young people – attitudes of ‘I can do it’ and ‘let’s try again’. 
  • Curiosity, creativity and imagination can be easily catered for outdoors. As can resilience and collaboration (we don’t need to over structure or over manage the experiences).
  • We must allow for failure, setback and adversity in our learning. Also that ambiguity and even a little ‘chaos’ can be a positive thing!
  • Risk is an intelligent behaviour – we must allow for risk taking (within limits) and learn from it. There will be bumps and scrapes and the occasional accident.
  • When it comes to learning outside the classroom we must think ‘and’ not ‘or’. It’s not either indoor or outdoor learning but combining the two. Outdoor learning can help to provide context and meaning.
  • Mindsets and behaviours can easily shift from ‘me’ to ‘we’ to allow for greater collaboration