There is so much research supporting the benefits of learning outdoors. You only have to talk to the children to know that they love any opportunity to be outside and often don't see activities done outdoors as 'work'.
Whether it is due to the fresh air and increased oxygen reaching their brains, the chance to be moving and freer, or the fact that outdoor learning is often very tactile and requires using their hands, we don't know for sure. But either way, all members of staff fully endorse the benefits this style of teaching can have on the children's learning.
At Terrace Road, we have more barriers to overcome to make outdoor learning possible, especially when you compare us to many other schools. Having a multi-level school, a sloped yard and very limited green space does make planning for outdoor learning more complicated. However, the staff at TRP are determined to incorporate as much of it into our curriculum as we can.
In Foundation Phase the children are regularly outside exploring their areas of learning and additional resources (waterproofs and wellies) purchased this year have made this more possible, even when the weather is poor. In Key Stage 2, members of staff try to take the children out whenever possible. This is often during maths revision sessions, science or D&T sessions and of course during Forest School sessions. We are all trying to plan in more opportunities for the children to learn in the great outdoors, both on our school site and during off site trips. For example we have made use of Bishops' Wood, Cwmdonkin Park and Swansea Bay to name but a few.
We were lucky enough to secure a grant with the Rotary Club this year who gifted us £600 to help resource our gardening efforts. We now have a storage unit tucked round from the junior yard which enables staff to more easily access our outdoor learning resources. They provided funding for things such as a wall mounted hose reel (allowing us to water our raised beds without walking up and down the stairs so much), gardening gloves and tools (to allow for groups to plant and tend for seedlings and vegetables) and watering cans for watering the seedlings on our windowsills before planting them out. We are very grateful for their support and will continue to seek further funding from different sources in the new school year.