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:

  • Y5 Castleton Residential – Wednesday
    Wednesday was walk day. The air was cooler, but the skies were still clear. As you can see from the photos, the views from Mam Tor were amazing. The walk also took in Peveril Castle, as part of our ‘Who Do We Think We Are? The Normans’ learning journey.
  • Y5 Castleton Residential – Tuesday
    On Tuesday morning, while some children went for a stroll and a paddle down Miller’s Dale, others completed the High Ropes challenges and obstacle course on site. In the afternoon some groups went caving, while others did the High Ropes then had a dip in the pond! Tuesday finished off with a toasted marshmallow around […]
  • Y4 Raft Building (and Floating!)
    As an end of term celebration, which we had to postpone from Easter because of rain (seems a long time ago now!), Y4 utilised some of their Outdoor Learning knowledge to lash sticks together to create rafts. We then took them down to Old Hay Brook and Totley Brook to test them out. As you […]
  • Y5 Castleton Residential – Monday
    Although it has been a hot couple of days (!), Y5 have spent their time in the relative calm, and slightly cooler air of Castleton and the surrounding area. The dorms have been lovely and cool, and activities have been adapted and amended to ensure that everyone has had a good supply of water, whilst […]
  • Y2 KJG Shirebrook Trip
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  • Y1 Water Relay
    We worked on our team building skills this afternoon, whilst cooling off at the same time! The children had to transfer water from one receptacle to another, without spilling too much on the way. They did a great job supporting each other, and utilised their measuring skills to judge the winners of each race.
  • Y1 – Trip to Shirebrook Valley
    Today, we visited Shirebrook Valley and met rangers Nell and James! They taught us all about creatures that live in ponds and woods. We then tried pond dipping and identified lots of different insects and living things! We also enjoyed making habitats for woodland animals as well as art work made from natural materials. A […]
  • Year 3 Summer Walk and Outdoor Art
    Year 3 had a super day with a walk to Blacka Moor in the morning and creating outdoor art in the afternoon. It allowed us to put into practice some of the learning from our ‘How does your garden grow?’ learning journey; we gathered natural materils for both the art and future science lessons. It […]
  • Y1 – Outdoor Learning – making a fire
    The year 1 children had the pleasure of Mr Fletcher showing them how to start a fire today! They thought about ways to stay safe and practised starting a fire. Some children were able to make sparks and a few even managed to start a fire! We toasted marshmallows too and listened to a story […]
  • 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 […]
  • Y4 Legendary Legionary Day
    As a culmination of our learning about the impact of the Roman Empire on Britain, we held ‘Legendary Legionary’ day. Dressing and acting as legionaries (Roman soldiers), our ‘cohorts’ of troops rotated around a series of activities to help them prepare to invade Britannia. Children experienced military training – archery and javelin practice, shield designs […]
  • Sports Day 2022 – The Platinum Jubilee Games
    To tie in with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, our Sports Day this year was themed around the Queen. Events included tea party relays, corgi racing, street parties, races to the thrones, blindfold Everest climb, and many more. Gemini Dance provided our fantastic closing ceremony dance to ‘Dancing Queen’, which children had learned in one […]
  • Y4 Roman Roads
    To support our understanding of Roman technologies in our ‘Legendary Legionaries’ learning journey, we researched Roman Roads in Britain. We found out that many of the roads we use today have been built on top of the original Roman Roads, and that the Romans developed the road system to help transport goods, and soldiers, across […]
  • 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!