Overview

Intent

 

The ethos of OE is based on a respect for children and their capacity to initiative, investigate and maintain curiosity in the world around them. It believes in a child's right to play; the right to access the outdoors; the right to experience risk in a controlled way in the natural world along with the right to develop their emotional intelligence through social interaction, building a resilience to enable creative engagement with their peers and their potential.

 

OE is a process that offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a natural environment with trees. It is based on the process of learning - more on the 'how' than the 'what'. OE practice embraces collaborative unplanned, unexpected and ultimately unlimited learning. Children are encouraged to direct their own learning - this is often inspired by the leader either through stimulating play in the outdoors or through 'scaffolding' a child's learning, but mostly through simply observing how children are in the outdoors. The most important thing is to encourage the natural curiosity present in children and to enable them to open their eyes and experience the wonders of the world around them. The environment is central in supporting this approach to learning: the changing of the seasons, to the contemplation of an ancient tree; the dynamic nature of an outdoor environment - an infinite source of smells, textures, sounds and tastes and a range of visual stimuli all contribute to the OE learning experience.

Our OE sessions encourages children to:

Develop personal and social skills

Work through practical problems and challenges

Use tools to create, build or manage

Discover how they learn best

Pursue knowledge that interests them

Learn how to manage failures

Build confidence in decision making and evaluating risk

Develop practical skills

Understand the benefits of a balanced and healthy lifestyle

Explore connections between humans, wildlife and the earth

Regularly experience achievement and success

Reflect on learning and experiences

Develop their language and communication skills

Improve physical motor skills

Become more motivated

Improve their concentration skills

 

Implementation

Activities for OE are diverse and numerous, we are trying to create independent learners who are inspired to try out their own ideas, explore their own interests and to attempt new ideas.

Some activities might include:

Shelter building

Fire lighting and cooking on an open fire

Using a Kelly Kettle

Tool use

Studying wildlife

Playing team and group games

Sensory activities

Rope and string work, tying knots

Art and sculpture work

Woodland and traditional craft

Woodland management

Developing stories and drama, and meeting imaginary characters

Fire lighting/cooking

To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in the OE classroom, we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school. OE teaching follows a whole school long term plan which focuses on outdoor skills and links to learning in other subjects. At Milborne St Andrew First School, we ensure that OE has importance within the timetable. 


Impact

OE lessons should make learning more relevant to their lives in the community and wider world. We encourage children to be responsible for and respect the local community and environment giving them a sense of belonging and ownership of the place in which they live. We explore the uses of the local area, integrating subjects so that meaningful activities can be planned and delivered effectively and regularly.

We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:

Images and videos of the children’s practical learning.

Interviewing the pupils about their learning (pupil voice).