Inner city children and the Great Outdoors
Forest Schools is a fast growing and popular movement nationwide. In times when many children are spending more and more time in front of computers and playing computer games, Forest Schools recognises the need that children have to connect with the outdoors and to nature. They have found, together with many other educators and adults that sessions in the woods enable children to become: self-aware, self-regulated, self-motivated, empathetic and finally to progress significantly in their social skills.
Rod Sugden, one of our Teachers, has been trained in the “Forest Schools” ethos and he brings these skills to the Dallington children.
Currently, Year two children enjoy a Forest Schools programme at Hampstead Heath. The children do fun and exciting outdoor activities like building shelters, nature art, using tools, building camp fires and identifying trees and birds.
The Outdoor Classroom
We are working with a parent whose specialism is horticulture, to develop and introduce The Dallington Outdoor Classroom.
What is the Outdoor Classroom?
The Dallington Outdoor Classroom is an exciting, multi dimensional educational “space” which imparts nature based information and curriculum to all the children at Dallington. It has it its foundation in growing, observing, interaction with plants, and eating as the core components.
It is primarily set in the school playground as a regular, busy all-weather learning environment which can expand beyond the curriculum yet feeds back into the indoor classroom, taking into consideration age and developmental level. Planning within and across subjects (maths, science, English, and termly topics - geography/biology) leads to a cohesive and ongoing ‘class’, which enhances core curriculum objectives.
It makes the best use of the grounds we have, and the local area. It also stretches further afield (day trips/forest trips etc) and continually forges relationships with local providers (field study and environmental centres/farms/museums/sacred spaces/historical medicinal gardens).
As an example, an introductory term topic could begin with growing strawberries in our beds at the playground (developing ideas around propagation/planting/nurturing/eating), detailing this process
in a poster, or 3D sculpture for display in the school, followed with a trip to the closest pick-your--own-farm (learning about food production since industrialisation/remove from /food waste),followed by a make-to-sell jam making session in the playground.