New outdoor learning opportunities at St George’s Junior School

Boys and girls aged 3-4 at St George’s Junior School, Weybridge spent the morning of Tuesday 9 June exploring their new outdoor learning space as part of a new range of activities called ‘Forest School’.

Reception classes enjoyed a morning of orientation around the woodland area, which is situated at the north end of the school. The boys and girls investigated an array of ‘wild’ animals hidden in the undergrowth before sitting down underneath a canopy for an outdoor snack.

With the advent of Forest School, pupils will experience an innovative approach to outdoor learning, and will be encouraged and inspired through positive outdoor adventures. The programme aims to build an appreciation of our local environment whilst allowing children to develop self-awareness, independence, empathy and confidence.

The initiative will primary be for the Lower Years, but children in Years 4, 5 and 6 will also be given taster sessions so that they may profit from the new outdoor learning spaces. Staff will also attend ‘Forest School Training’ organised by the Surrey Wildlife Trust, helping to ensure that outdoor learning time is used as effectively as possible.

This specialised learning approach sits within the wider context of outdoor and woodland education, and is rooted in Scandinavian traditions of outdoor learning which seek to reconnect children with nature. Through the initiative, children will learn how to handle risks whilst problem solving and co-operating with others, and will be given opportunities to use tools and to learn boundaries of behaviour whilst navigating through natural terrain. As a result they will grow in confidence, gain self-esteem and become self-motivated.

These fantastic new opportunities come as the result of the School having recently been able to expand by an additional 40 acres to the existing 12.5 acre site, allowing for the responsible use of even more surrounding woodland. As well as the Forest School, the new land will provide space for several new sports pitches and an easily accessible ‘kiss and drop’ area for parents which will alleviate traffic congestion in the surrounding area.

 

30 June 2015

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