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:

  • Year 6 Aztec Immersion
    Our Year 6 pupils have been exploring the Aztec civilisation as we start our first learning journey of the year. Drama, outdoor learning and story-telling have immersed us in this fascinating culture.
  • New to Year 3!
    Year 3 have a had a fantastic time in our new classes and took advantage of the sunny weather to take part in some team building activities. We had to work as a team to complete the challenges ensuring we listened to each other, cooperated well and were resilient when the task was tricky! The … Read more
  • Y4 End of Year D&T and Outdoor Learning
    To finish off an amazing year in Y4, we managed to squeeze in some activities that we had wanted to do in earlier learning journeys but didn’t manage to fit in. The first was thinking back to our ‘Legendary Legionary’ learning journey, then studying how the Romans developed the use of arches to create stable … Read more
  • Year 3 Summer Walk
    To celebrate the end of Year 3, we enjoyed a lovely walk together up to Blacka Moor (and back!). The children (and parent helpers) were brilliant enjoying the countryside and being together. We spotted some features of plants we had been leaning about (Mainly sticky seed dispersal techniques!) We also collected rocks for analysis the … Read more
  • Y5 Veg Patch – Harvest Time
    Y5 have been harvesting their produce and using it to create a tasty end of term meal. The children harvested, cleaned, peeled and chopped the variety of vegetables and herbs that we have grown this year and used these to cook a tasty meal of roast veg, couscous, salad leaves and feta cheese. The whole … Read more
  • FS2 Final outdoor learning with Miss Bradley – A camp fire cook up!
    What an amazing day we’ve had in Foundation today…everyone helped to pick, wash, chop and cook our vegetables that we planted back in Spring. The children even had a go at fire-lighting using the flint and steel. We added some rosemary to the potatoes and carrot and served them up – so warm and tasty … Read more
  • FS2 Archery
    This week in outdoor learning the children all had a go at Archery. We learnt about the equipment we were using and talked about the best technique. The children were amazing at taking turns, helping each other, and cheering each other on. We were impressed with their strength, coordination and balance.
  • FS2 Pirate Medallions
    This week in outdoor learning the children made their own pirate medallions. They moulded the clay with their hands and scavenged for small natural gems among the wildlife garden. They then decorated their medallions, taking their time, thinking about patterns, shapes and textures (building on last week’s learning). Once the medallions are dry, the children … Read more
  • Y4 Oakes Residential Day Two
    After EVERY child had a good night’s sleep, we’ve had another great day of action-packed activity at the Oakes. The photos tell their own story…
  • Year 4 Oakes Residential Day One
    Day One of our residential has so far been a tremendous success. As you can see from the photos below, it has been a non-stop day, with lots of fantastic activities on offer. Lunch and dinner have also gone down very well! As always, the Oakes leaders have been their usual caring, helpful and cheerful … Read more
  • FS2 Nature Treasure Chests
    What a magical time we have had this week in outdoor learning. Children had to hunt high and low for natures treasures on our school grounds and found some really interesting things. Off we went with our treasure chests (egg boxes) which we filled with: snail shells, baby conkers, apple babies, cherry babies, catkins, beech … Read more
  • Outdoor Art – Mandalas
    This wonderful outdoor art was created as part of the Year 3 ‘How does your garden grow?’ learning journey. We were partly inspired by the buddist monks who grind up rocks to make their mandalas over 60 hours. We just worked in TASC groups to construct art works using the natural resources from our lovely … Read more
  • FS2 Pirate nature flags
    This week in outdoor learning the children made their own pirate flags using natural resources. They chose various leaves and flowers, laid them on a piece of cotton, folded this in half and then bashed all the pigment out using a hammer. The children were safe and responsible with the tools and very creative with … Read more
  • Y1 Outdoor Learning
    Y1 used natural resources to make Father’s Day Cards.
  • FS2 Orienteering (outdoor learning)
    This week children in FS2 had the opportunity to try orienteering. We had to put our map reading skills to the test and communicate effectively for this task. Children hunted for coloured flags around the school grounds, using numbers on a map to help them. We were really impressed with their determination to complete the … Read more
  • Love your burial ground Year 3 plant survey
    As part of ‘Love your burial ground week’ and the start of our ‘How does your garden grow’ learning journey, Year 3 visited Dore Church to make a botanical survey of the plants growing there. We found all sorts of species of grass, flowers and trees in this unique habitat. We also made some sketches and … Read more
  • Y2 – Science (plants)
    In Y2 we have been learning about the parts of plants and what plants need to survive. We have planted beans in the classroom and seeds in our outdoor planters. Over the next few weeks we are going to observe and describe how they grow in different conditions.
  • FS2 Summer Nature Scavenger Hunt
    This week we welcomed the children back into Summer 2 with a scavenger hunt. Firstly we shared the poem ‘June’ by John Updike. We talked about long, warm summer days and adventures that we like to go on, games we like to play outside and being out and about in nature. We went outside to … Read more
  • Y2 Old Hay Brook
    In our outdoor learning, the children used junior-hacksaws and square lashing knots to create rafts. We then used our science learning of floating and sinking to test if they would float on the brook. The children all had a wonderful time (although some rafts were damaged in the process!). Thanks to the parents who were … Read more
  • Y4 English – Writing Immersion
    To support our writing sequence where children wrote a story about the Iceni tribe burning down London, Y4 enhanced their writing by generating vocabulary for their senses whilst experiencing a real open fire. Back in the classroom a carousel of learning and facts allowed children to collect information and generate ideas for what sort of … Read more