Outdoor Learning

The value of outdoor learning is well recognised at Dore Primary School and is seen as one of the key drivers in the delivery of our exceptional curriculum. Research evidence is overwhelmingly clear about the positive links made between outdoor learning and the progress of children in all aspects of learning and the development of core values.

The Dore Primary School outdoor learning programme aims to foster self-esteem, independence, resilience, co-operation, personal responsibility, autonomy and motivation, as well as a deeply personal knowledge, respect and care for our environment and the ability to assess risk. 

Our approach is learner-led, play-centred, holistic and experiential. When taking part in outdoor learning children are engaging with nature in wild spaces in an exploratory, sensory and physical way. We believe it’s important to create, where possible, a long-term relationship between a location and a group of participants – giving all participants a chance to get a feel for how an environment changes over time.  We believe everybody should have regular, long-term access to a woodland or natural environment which provides them with inspirational and challenging outdoor learning opportunities.

Children are encouraged to take constructive risks in order to develop skills, good judgement and to learn and develop through managing their own and others’ risks. In planning activities we consider not only the risks but also the potential benefits for the learner. 

Learning outside the classroom is highly motivating. Learning in the school grounds, the locality, visiting sites further afield and residential experiences all stimulate interest, curiosity and passion for ‘doing’. These activities broaden young people’s horizons, enable them to develop new skills and build relationships. They make young people more engaged with learning and therefore more likely to do well. We are supported with our delivery by being a full member of the Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) organisation.

Our teachers plan outdoor learning opportunities across the curriculum and utilise our extensive grounds and facilities in order to maximise the impact of these experiences. Our learning continues far past our gates and fences with regular trips offsite beginning in the Foundation Stage with walks into the local community. Experiences continue throughout the school and further afield across all year groups which both complement and add great value to the excellent teaching and learning in our classrooms.

Core Values and Outdoor Learning

Outdoor learning at Dore Primary School allows us the opportunity to develop our Core Values of Resilience, Kindness, Resourcefulness and Creativity. So many of our activities, trips and residentials naturally lend themselves to social and personal growth as outlined below:

In 2015, Ofsted announced that the new common inspection framework would include a judgement on ‘personal development, behaviour and welfare’. Learning outside the classroom can offer significant support to schools’ delivery of this area of the framework.

Forest School

We have further embedded our commitment to outdoor learning by developing the Forest School approach to learning across the whole-school. Four members of staff have undergone Level 3 Forest School Practitioner training, and back in school have shared their expertise with other staff members.

Our activities depend on the ability and experience of participants. Examples of Forest School activities include:

• Woodland management and nature exploration
• Building dens and other structures
• Fires and cooking
• Games and invitations for imaginative play
• Natural crafts
• Using tools, such as knives and saws
• Scavenger hunts and adventure
• Seasonal celebrations

Outdoor Learning News:

  • Y1 outdoor learning
    Y1 went into our outdoor area in KS2 today to learn all about fire with Mr Fletcher. The children thought about a ’fire triangle’ – naming the three things a fire needs – and then learnt about ways to stay safe when around fires. The children went to find suitable fuel for a fire too! […]
  • Colour Smash Run 2022
    To celebrate the 10 year anniveasary of the London Olympics and it’s legacy in the UK, we took 40 Year 3 and 4s to a Colour Smash Run event at the Olympic Park. The Pictures peak for themselves I think: Before After It was a lot of fun., The children really made the most of […]
  • Y1 Outdoor Learning, Using our Senses
    We were explorers this afternoon, using all of our senses to complete a treasure hunt during our outdoor learning. When thinking about taste, we found the elderflower tree and learned that we can use the flowers to make cordial. We found smooth, rough, cold, hard and soft things to feel; flowers and trees to smell […]
  • Outdoor Learning – Investigating Materials in Birds’ Nests
  • Out and About with Y5
    Y5 trekked out into the wilderness this week, on our Spring Walk. This adventurous hike into the wilds was supposed to conclude our “Out and About” learning journey, but our previous date had to be cancelled due to the weather becoming too extreme even for hardy Y5 pupils. The children followed a route around the […]
  • Year 2 and 3 Tree Planting
    Yesterday the Year2s and Year 3s teamed up to plant lots of trees in the school grounds. It was part of the Jubilee celebrations, a national project called the Queen’s Canopy. They have come from a charity called I Dig Trees. It was great to see all the children working as a team to do […]
  • Y1 Outdoor learning – bird spotting!
    Today, we learnt about common varieties of birds found in the U.K. We identified robins, blue tits, magpies, wood pigeons and goldfinches. We went outside to see if we could spot any, and used binoculars to get a closer look!
  • Tree Planting in Y1 and Y6
    We had a wonderful collaborative afternoon on Thursday, with the Y1s and Y6s working together to plant 120 new trees up on the junior field. The Y6s were fantastic role models, and showed such kindness and consideration towards the Y1s, helping them to dig the holes and place each tree in carefully. We’ve planted the […]
  • Foundation 2 Spring Update
    We’ve had an action packed and enjoyable Spring 2 half term. The children have definitely earned their break with all their hard work and super learning progress. This is a very full update but we will aim after the holidays to update you with more regular smaller posts. If you notice your child isn’t featured […]
  • Year 3 to Creswell Craggs
    It was so lovely to be able to take the Year 3 children on a trip out of school. The double decker took us quickly to Creswell Craggs. We really got to understand our Mists of Time learning in context: with hippos, bears and hyenas living along side homo sapiens right here in Britain. We […]
  • Y1 Woodland Spirits
    We learned about how lots of myths and legends talk about woodland spirits, and read a beautiful poem about the Green Man. The children then really enjoyed creating their own woodland spirits using natural materials in the wildlife garden.
  • Y1 – Maths – capacity!
    Today, the children enjoyed a hands on learning experience of capacity. They used different containers to estimate the capacity of each, using water. Some children guessed accurately, and even noticed that wider containers can have a larger capacity than taller ones!
  • Y1 – Outdoor Learning
    As part of British Science Week, we used our outdoor learning to observe and identify the four parts of a plant – can your child remember them all??
  • Y1 – Continuous Provision!
    Take a look at some of the things the children have created when they are not learning with their teachers… We are so proud of how self-directed the Y1 children are when accessing the provision in our classroom. They show us how kind, responsible, respectful and creative they are on a daily basis!
  • Y1 – British Science Week 2022 – Growth!
    This year, the theme of British Science Week is Growth! So the children in Y1 have planted Sunflower seeds, and together we’ll check their growth and have a competition to see who’s grows tallest!
  • Y4 Oakes Residential Day Three
    Day Two ended with campfire, with a sing-a-long and hot chocolate. Day Three began with FOUR birthday celebrations, then continued with several games and activities. As I write, children are on their final game, before they have some free time to finish off an amazing three days. Our thanks go to all the staff at […]
  • Y4 Oakes Residential Day Two
    Today has seen more endeavour from our amazing Y4s. As everyone had a great night’s sleep, we’ve seen full participation in all the activities again. Our RE learning today has been about finding out more about what Christians believe Jesus’ life was like. We’ve got campfire coming up soon, so will post the photos from […]
  • Y4 Oakes Residential Day One
    Our first day at the Oakes has been fantastic! The children have, of course been amazing and have given every single challenge and activity their very best efforts. The weather (and the food!) have been kind to us, and as always the Oakes team leaders have been exceptional. As part of our RE learning, children […]
  • Making Dens – Outdoor Learning
  • Y1 – Signs of spring
    During our outdoor learning today, we looked for signs of Spring. We spotted crocuses, daffodil shoots and some snowdrops! Shame the weather was so wet! We then sketched some of these early signs of Spring – don’t they look great!