We encourage pupils to lead their own learning, and Outdoor Learning provides pupils the opportunity to do this outside their usual environment each week. Spending time outdoors enhances mental health and well being, it helps to develop self-awareness, confidence and self-esteem. At GSSC we have long recognised that many of our pupils thrive outdoors and love to explore their natural environment. Listening to pupil voice from feedback received as part of the Annual Review preparation, we widened participation by making it part of the weekly timetable rather than the term of Forest Experience in KS3. Outdoor Learning allows opportunities for cross curricular experiences, and for the transference of skills from the classroom to other settings.
Every pupil in KS3 spends Fridays doing Outdoor Learning. We have space outside of most classrooms that is used, as well as the wider school grounds. Neighbouring Lings Wood provides woodland and a range of further habitats to explore, and even more varied experiences.
Each year our Harvest Extravaganza is a celebration of the outdoors, with hands on activities including finding the pumpkin in the haystack, apple bobbing, crushing grapes to make juice and even spinning wool.
Pupils at KS4 are able to choose horticulture as an option and extend their Outdoor Learning experience through learning to grow and care for plants. The group this year created a beautiful garden that won an award in Northampton in Bloom, and impressed the judges.
In KS5 pupils experience the outdoors through their voluntary work for their Duke of Edinburgh Award, as well as through the Expedition element. The litter picking in Lings Wood is a job that keeps pupils busy as it always needs doing, and they take great pride in seeing the difference that they have made to the local environment.
Outdoor Learning helps to transfer skills taught in the classroom to a different environment, as well as provide opportunities for self led learning and making new discoveries. Pupils widen their experiences of the local community and their environment through Outdoor Learning. It enables pupils to be investigators, and to show curiosity in the natural world, from exploring autumn leaves, seeing what things will float, to bug hunting, and experiencing the rain.