Intent and Overview
Learning outdoors is becoming a big part of Stanford life! The children are exposed to a range of rewarding outdoor sessions, often based around our very own woodland area. There are rich opportunities to observe, collect and record the wide variety of trees, birds, frogs, toads and resident foxes – all within the grounds of the school. When the pupils leave Stanford, they will have witnessed many seasonal changes including the ripening of our fruit trees and the development of the frogs in our pond. The woodland area is visited frequently by all classes, from Nursery to Year 6, and provides an excellent backdrop for sketching in Art, collecting for nature tables, creating art in nature, conducting scientific investigations and even reading Shakespeare!
Most notably, our children thrive when we support their wellbeing, and all sessions outside improve their focus, benefit their health and encourage creative minds to flourish.
Teaching outdoors is not simply PE and observing nature, but all subjects get their turn. This has included gathering evidence on ancient Greek vases; Spanish conversation; hidden trails/clues to follow; drama; drawing world maps; building life size Inuit sculptures; and plenty of science investigations.
In April 2021, we began to increase our wellbeing activities outside, in order to collect points towards our Green Tree Schools Award, as presented by the Woodland Trust. We are well on target towards Silver, but would rather aim for Platinum over the coming year! The inspiring project enabled us to showcase many of the activities we were already involved in. There were Spring hunts in EYFS and Year 1, as well as growing various plants; tree dressing with messages of hope from Year 3; Art in nature in Year 5; and collecting rubbish from the woodland area and designing ‘Tree Champions’ in Year 6. It coincided well with the Eco-brick project, linked with Nepal, where several classes had a go at building bricks using plastic bottles and unrecyclable plastic wrappers.
To continue enthusing the pupils about the importance of just ‘being’ outdoors, we are reinstating our Woodland Explorers Club, so that the adventures can continue after school!