At Lyonsdown we are advocates of Outdoor Learning however Outdoor Learning is so much more than simply taking children outdoors. We believe that learning is embedded and enhanced by any experience, that takes children beyond the classroom. We are determined to make the most of the space we have here within our grounds and take full advantage the wide variety of facilities and experiences we are able to tap into in our local environment. This enables us to offer our girls a wide range of learning experiences beyond the classroom.
Our outdoor space has been recently developed to include:
- An Early Years Forest School site
- Loose Parts Play for all ages
- An exciting new climbing area for all ages
- A natural Early Years Play Space
Forest School has been introduced to our Reception class with Miss Arlow, our qualified Forest School leader taking the girls out once a week to explore the area. Our introduction of a fire pit means that soon the girls will be able to experience the occasional real fire and cook some tasty treats on it. Year 6 have also been benefitting from the space as we take our wellbeing sessions outside, sitting in the fire circle to give us of a sense of calm for some mindfulness practice.
“The outdoor area is a great place to explore and learn about nature and little creatures who live in our greater environment”.
Loose Parts Play has primarily been introduced to enhance the play at break and lunch times although in the longer term this area may also be used to enhance parts of the curriculum as we look at uses for science and forces experiments, large-scale art projects and more. We have immediately seen the benefits in terms of developing soft skills in all our girls such as collaboration, negotiation and high levels of creativity.
The outdoor climbing area has been added to give the girls a wider variety of physical challenge in their break times. It is deliberately open ended so that the girls can use their imagination when playing and set their own level of challenge.
The Early Years Outdoor Learning Area is a creative, organic and enticing space where children can explore and develop skills independently. The space is zoned to including den building, loose parts, water channels and pumps, a mud kitchen and a creative area. The different materials on the ground mean that children have to balance, jump, hop from one place to another adding gross motor development whilst they play. Collaboration, creativity and resilience are all key skills children naturally develop when using this space under the guidance of our Early Years team.
Some examples of Beyond The Classroom events at Lyonsdown include:
A KS2 STEAM Day, which culminated in a rocket launch for the whole school in the playground.
Year 4 Science lesson in the playground looking at how the planets move around the Sun.
Year 3 and 4 Theatre Trips
Year 6 trip to Lincolnsfield WW2 outdoor museum
Reception Science trip to the local park, spotting signs of Autumn
Year 5 Residential to Bawdsey Manor
Year 1 trip to Epping Forest
and many more..