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Outdoor Learning

At Sandown, to embed Outdoor Learning within our curriculum we focus on:

  • Creating links within the national curriculum and teaching in a variety of different locations across our fantastic outdoor spaces.
  • Learning about, in and through the environment.
  • Creating autonomous teachers who feel confident taking learning outdoors where possible.
  • Creating a school that is mindful about the environment and is taking steps to become a more eco-friendly school. For example, our ‘Earth Heroes’ are a pupil-led group who undertake activities such as litter-picking in the school grounds.

Alongside this ethos, in Reception, KS1 and KS2, classes have one term during the school year in which they have dedicated time each week with our outdoor learning practitioner.

In Reception, children learn about food and farming and explore themes including where food comes from, what plants and animals need to grow and survive and what constitutes a healthy lifestyle. They plant vegetable seeds, which then grow in their outside area. Aside from their term with our outdoor learning practitioner, they also have a weekly outdoor learning slot on their timetables. This includes activities such as exploring the woods independently and going on animal trails looking for animals or signs of animals such as tracks and holes.

In Year 1, pupils learn about the purpose of shelters and their materials. They name and describe shelters and design and make shelter prototypes. Children then design and build a play den as a group in our woodland and evaluate their completed product.

In Year 2, children are taught about the growth of plants from seeds and bulbs. They observe the growth of plants first-hand in our garden and allotment, recording changes over time and identifying what plants need to grow and stay healthy.

In Year 3, children learn about the requirements of plants for growth and survival. They use plants grown in our outdoor areas to describe the parts of flowering plants and relate structure to function, including the roots and stem for transporting water, leaves for making food and the flower for reproduction.

In Year 4, pupils link their learning to their Art unit ‘Warp and Weft’. The children find natural materials to create their very own loom and explore weaving on a larger scale. Alongside this, the children also link their outdoor adventures to their DT project of ‘Good Food Fresh Food’ and explore how different fruit and vegetables are grown.

In Year 5, the pupils visit our allotment, grow vegetables, which are used to make soup, and study various plants within our grounds to further understand plant reproduction. They also learn about Land Art and create their own artworks using materials from our environment.

In Year 6, pupils learn all about how to plant, prune, weed and maintain plants and flowers within our Legacy Garden. This is an area that holds great sentimental value to all Year 6 pupils: past, present and future. It is a wonderful time for the children to reflect on their Sandown journey and share this with their families.

In Term 5 and 6, our outdoor learning practitioner also runs Gardening Club during lunchtimes.