Outdoor Learning in the pre-prep
At St Edmund’s we love to be outdoors exploring our beautiful school site. We find that it is a great way to develop understanding of our environment, reinforce every area of the curriculum, develop problem solving skills, provide time for creativity, keep healthy in body and mind, as well as having fun.
We have had many recent changes in our provision. In Junior School we have further developed the Outdoor Learning provision by digging out the large pond creating an island with a bridge across to it, building an area for pond dipping, cutting back weeds to allow for a more open site, created a wild flower meadow and reinstated a canopy over the fire pit. The Pre-Prep area has been revamped with the building of recycled tables, seesaws, stepping stones, balancing walkway, den and a mud kitchen. It has also gained more light by some of the clearing of the Junior School site. The Senior school have built a giant tepee on the meadow towards the University Road. This is an amazing addition to our Outdoor learning and we can’t wait to see how the site around the tepee is developed over the coming months.
The great advantage to being on one site is that the Pre-Prep children from Nursery to Year 2 can use all these facilities.
Thursday 5th November was National Outdoor Learning Day and all classes in the Pre-Prep took part.
Nursery, Ladybirds class, explored the old part of the school looking for a cellar so they could imagine where Guy Fawkes would have put his gunpowder! Not many knew what a cellar was and were excited to go under the school. They also looked closely at the differences between the old and new parts of the school. In the afternoon we went to the giant Teepee and met Mr Kincaid, Head of Outdoor Learning in the Senior School. The children explored outside and then inside the tepee then settled down to watch the fire being lit. They were impatient for the fire to get going so we could toast marshmallow, cook some popcorn and have our hot chocolate. We had a wonderful time and will be back very soon.
The Reception class, Honey Bees, visited the Pre-Prep Forest School site several times during the week and had great fun as they explored the new resources that had been placed at the site over half term such as a log see saw, new den and a natural balancing walkway. They also lit their first fire at the fire pit. This was incredibly exciting for the children as they have spent weeks building up their fire safety knowledge in order to get to this point. They watched the fire ‘take hold’ and were even more fascinated to watch and hear the water boiling in the Kelly kettle which was used to make some hot chocolate. In the afternoon they went on a seed collection hunt to gather sprouting acorns ready to plant. We really hope that we might be able to grow some oak and horse chestnut saplings that can be planted at school for future generations.
The Year 1 class, Crickets, used the outside environment to support their maths work on positional language.
The year 2 class, Dragonflies, were learning about the Gunpowder Plot and had a wonderful Science Workshop with Dr Horn and Mr Wright from the Senior School. First, he showed the class how to make fireworks different colours using chemicals – they really loved it when he squirted copper on the flames and turned the flames green! The iron, magnesium and zinc created very exciting sparkles and flashes. Then, the children were all given their own sparkler – and lots of them immediately recognised the sparklers contained magnesium – super scientists! Finally, Mr Wright set off some very exciting rockets – and the children watched the fireworks fly into the sky, the class shouting out the chemicals used to make the exciting colours. We drew quite a crowd and everyone was very impressed with the clever Dragonflies.
Mrs Exley, Head of Nursery & Pre-Prep