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Outdoor Learning

2017 - 2018

Outdoor Learning at Meadlands

Here at Meadlands we love to learn outdoors and believe it brings many added benefits to our learning in the classroom. There are many reasons why we love the outdoors:
1. We believe it is our social and moral responsibility to care for our environment and to pass on these skills of nurture and maintenance to our children.
2. We believe we have a local and global responsibility to educate our young people about the importance of the natural world to human existence e.g medicine and food.
3. We believe it is essential to educate our children about the current threat to Earth’s natural resources e.g de-forestation.
4. We believe that it is essential for children to understand how the food they eat is produced in order that they can live a healthy, active life.
5. We believe that children learn best through play and first-hand experience and that fresh air has a positive impact on both learning and wellbeing.


Head Gardener and Groundsman
Roger Howard was a parent at Meadlands more than twenty years ago and had a vision for the vastly underused outdoor space here.  With an illustrious career in all things plants, culminating in many years at the Royal Botanic Gardens – Kew; Roger was the perfect person to design and create our wonderful outdoor learning environment.  Modelled on indigenous British woodland and boasting some rare species of trees. Over the last two decades Roger has worked tirelessly for Meadlands on a voluntary basis; nurturing and planting trees, coppicing woodland and coming up with new and exciting ways to use the natural world to help educate the children.  Roger’s passion has inspired countless children and staff over the years and he is a real asset to our school.

 

Our Outdoor Curriculum and Forest School
Forest School is an exciting and innovative approach to outdoor learning. Children participate in a range of achievable activities, which allow them to explore, and to learn to appreciate the outdoor environment. The activities encourage children to develop confidence, independence skills, self-esteem and awareness and knowledge of the natural environment. Children are supported to take risks within boundaries and initiate learning themselves. The children will learn to abide by the rules and sets of behaviour, work cooperatively in groups and respect each other. At Meadlands our vision is to first use forest school in the early years to help children fully develop with a main focus on speech and language development, with a hope to extend this opportunity to the rest of the school in the near future.


For many years now ‘School Grounds Day’ has been a highlight of the school calendar at Meadlands. Now happening once a term, SGD is a special enrichment day where all the children are off timetable to have lessons outside or with an environmental focus, and to care for and maintain our grounds. With a strong link to the seasons, we kick off the day with a special assembly about what is happening outside at that time of year (Autumn – hibernation, less light, growth slows down). Following the assembly, the children go back to classes and enjoy a mixture of activities throughout the day such as making leaf piles for hedgehogs, observing different habitats or planting bulbs. We like every child in the school to plant something each SGD. The day ends with a fun, outdoor-focused Golden Time, in Autumn this could be a game of conkers, in Summer a water-fight! School Grounds Day is about immersing ourselves in the outdoors, learning from, looking after and enjoying our grounds.
However, here at Meadlands, we don’t rest on our laurels and we are passionate about weaving even more outdoor learning through our creative curriculum and topic work. We’ve set all the teachers the challenge of leading at least one lesson outside each week from September 2015. This could be observational drawing in Art, plant classification in Science or even performance poetry in the Story-telling Circle.
Our Grounds and Habitats

 

  • Large sports field

  • Multi Use Games Area (MUGA)

  • Large, paved playground

  • Library Garden

  • Quiet Garden

  • Outdoor Classroom with electrical access

  • Willow dens

  • Dell

  • Hedgerow

  • Story-telling throne and circle

  • Orchard

  • Meadow

  • Bug Hotels Pond

  • Wooded Wildlife area with stag beetles, badgers and foxes

  • Market Garden with 8 raised beds

  • Chicken coop with four feathered friends

  • Tree house / bird hide

  • Zipwire

Examples of work
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Celebrating our Outdoors!
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Caring for our chickens and chicken risk assessment.
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Award Winning Grounds

London Flower Society

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Richmond in Bloom
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Forest Schools

Nursery Class

We have made boundary flags and are now placing them so we know where we can go and explore.

 

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We are practising our independence skills whilst getting changed from our outdoor clothing.
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We are going on a Bear Hunt.
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We are the Kings and Queens of the forest and have made crowns.
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Reception Class

We are going on a Bear Hunt and are learning about positional language.

 

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We are exploring for mini beasts and recording our findings.
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Years 3 & 4

We are boiling water in the Kelly Kettle so that we can make hot chocolate.

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Year 5 & 6

We are making stick families and their habitat along with sawing, drilling and pokey outey for making our own medal.  We have learned so much at Forest School

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We were delighted to welcome visitors from the Environment Trust and Marble Hill House who helped us to begin planting up our raised beds.  Parents and children worked in teams with out special guests to plant potatoes, cabbages and strawberries - we are now waiting patiently to watch them grow.

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basic skills agency quality mark 4 healthy schools london bronze award eco-schools award sainsbury's school games gold 2015/16 Primary Science Quality Mark Silver
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