DISPLAYING ITEMS BY TAG: OUTDOOR LEARNING

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is calling all Primary schools to take part in an Easy Peasy Pea Challenge, part of the ongoing Plant2Plate campaign. This project aims to help pupils to learn about nature and healthy eating. Any child can have a go at 'sowing, growing and showing' homegrown green peas, either in a window box or small growing patch. Every school that registers for the challenge before the end of April will receive a free Easy Peasy Pea Seed Kit. The kit includes a pack of Sugar Ann pea seeds, a simple growing guide and a tasty pea recipe card from Alpro.

Curriculum-linked play environment leaders Playforce have launched a new reward and referral scheme designed to thank loyal customers and add value, even after the playground has been installed. All Playforce schools will now receive a discounted annual Twinkl school subscription, priority booking with Sports for Schools, 10% off Playforce Shop purchases and 5% off the Playforce Care one-year inspection package.

Playground equipment providers Playforce have launched a selection of new products specifically designed to help KS1 and KS2 children to develop mathematical skills outdoors. The range of equipment, which also helps pupils to develop physical skills through climbing activities, was developed in collaboration with the Wiltshire-based company’s partner schools. Playforce offer free consultations to schools looking to find innovative ways to improve learning and play opportunities in their playgrounds.

As far back as 2008, an Ofsted report concluded that: “The first-hand experiences of learning outside the classroom can help to make subjects more vivid and interesting for pupils and enhance their understanding. It can also contribute significantly to pupils’ personal, social and emotional development.” This report evaluated the impact of learning outside the classroom in 27 schools and colleges across England. It went on to say that “Learning outside the classroom was most successful when it was an integral element of long-term curriculum planning and closely linked to classroom activities.”

I recently took a group of my students on a field trip to our local zoo here in Bangkok. This formed part of our studies on animal behaviour, a topic in Year 12 Biology. Learning in informal settings outside of the classroom, for example at zoos, museums, and galleries, is considered to be a useful way to link educational content with issues that matter to learners in their everyday lives. In this post I will outline the pre- and post-field trip activities, as well as the activities undertaken during the trip itself. Technology tools were used where appropriate to enhance the activities and the trip itself, but as should always be the case when incorporating technology,these were used to support learning rather than being the focus.

In my experience once you’ve got children outdoors digging in the soil, pulling up worms, squidging slugs and generally losing themselves in the natural world……it’s difficult to get them back indoors!

Young children are innately curious about the natural world. At Primary level, the new focus on Plants and Animals in the local environment is long overdue, and for many children this connection begins with a Minibeast topic in Foundation Stage or Year 1.

 

Behaviour management is something that applies to the playground just as much as it does the classroom. By implementing the correct behaviour management techniques, playtimes and lunch breaks can run smoothly, leading to positive learning outcomes.

Pupils from a school in Camberwell, London have been taking part in an investigative activity that allows learners to be conservation scientists for the day. The WWT London Wetland Centre is trialling Conservation Explorers, which offers schoolchildren from Key Stages 2 and 3 the chance to to study endangered birds. Sacred Heart School’s budding conservationists have been measuring birds’ preening rates, using digital photography to help identify species on the wetlands and more.

With the weather growing warmer and summer most definitely imminent, students everywhere are starting to gaze out of windows and wish they were somewhere other than a hot, stuffy classroom. And when you think about it, they might have a good point. Taking learning outside the classroom can carry some very significant benefits...

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