Learning outside the classroom (LOtC) is not a subject as such, rather an approach to teaching and learning through a variety of activities and experiences in the outdoors. It offers children experiences not easily achieved indoors, leads to greater levels of creativity, and allows children to develop skills, knowledge and understanding without the constraints of a classroom. LOtC can be integrated throughout all aspects of the curriculum and particularly strengthens children’s social, emotional and physical development.
At Great Kimble school we are privileged to be in an area of outstanding natural beauty with the Chiltern Hills on our doorstep. While our school does not have extensive grounds, the children can make maximum use of them school by using the aspects of the outside with frequent and progressive activities relating to broader learning that links to classroom work and beyond. The common thread of:
Love, Live, Learn
focuses on learning that supports growth mindset ideas and help the children in their personal and social development.
The children gain an immense amount from outdoor learning. They have a hands on approach to activities, develop confidence, self awareness and life skills. They learn new facts, ideas and concepts about the environment and the world in which they live and become more independent, motivated and willing to learn, play, explore and investigate.
In 2017 we were accredited with a Bronze level award for Learning Outside the Classroom in recognition of the range and quality of the outdoor experiences we offer all our children.
We are very proud of the outdoor learning opportunities we provide at Great Kimble and the children benefit from visiting our outdoor classroom (Smokey Row) every week. Smokey Row is a piece of meadow land close to the school. During this time teachers skilfully plan for creative ways in which curriculum subjects can be enriched from learning outside. Our children love these afternoons spent off the school site and work co-operatively together, problem solving and developing their awe and wonder for the world around them.
This year (2017-18) Year Two pupils mostly visit on Tuesday afternoons, Reception on Thursday afternoons and Year One on Wednesday afternoons. The walk to Smokey Row is used for mental maths work, speaking and listening skills and also to support the children’s understanding of the Earth’s movement in space, observing changes across the four seasons, observing the apparent movement of the Sun during the day and also observing the weather associated with the seasons. At Smokey Row, the children look after the land, shape the willow tunnel and take care of the hedge that was professionally planted. This is doing incredibly well: all sorts of berries and different coloured leaves are on view for the pupils to observe.
Our pupils learn to cross the railway line safely: they are aware of the importance of being quiet so you can hear the noise of the train, not only the whistle but also the rumbling in the tracks. .
With the new focus of the Science Curriculum from 2014 we are truly blessed to have been gifted this wonderful piece of land.