Our Nature School Lead is Mrs Wendy Fordham.
Nature School is delivered on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons located in the specially built undercover base camp within the school grounds led by Mrs Fordham. The structure incorporates a living bug wall that runs along the whole length of the building. Base camp is lit in the darker days by our own Nature School solar panel lighting, enabling a break from the elements outside. Nature School incorporates many areas of the national curriculum such as; Maths, Science and Design & Technology to name just a few!
Photos of Nature School
Parents will be notified by ParentPay at the beginning of the week that it’s their child’s turn. When your child is scheduled to take part in Nature School we ask that they bring in clothes and footwear which is suitable for the weather. Waterproof trousers, coats and wellies are recommended in the winter as the site becomes very muddy and sun cream and hats in hot weather along with a drink of water. Lessons will always take place unless the pre lesson weather risk assessment is deemed as extreme.
Nature school is all about creating a canvass for learning outdoors focusing on developing personal and social life skills through nature based learning empowering children in the natural environment and increasing cooperation with peers.
Summary of Activities
Physical challenges such as building dens which incorporates learning knots and the understanding of suitable sites if you were making a shelter in the wild. Animal and other cultures habitats are talked about to widen the understanding of shelters used in the natural world.
We have also made emergency stretchers from branches and rope, again incorporating knots as a skill. The children test the stretchers by carrying each other. This activity promotes great team work and of course the fun of making something to carry their peers on safely!
Natural discoveries, there are bird boxes and a bird viewing area looking out to a bird feeding tree that the children make bird food for. Dormouse tubes and houses are located in the trees. Children have made a small pond and watched tadpoles develop and made a hedgehog house ready for a visitor this winter. Children have also made and look after a bird and bee bath which attracts lots of insect wildlife. The bug mat is lifted and examined each session to see what insects have taken up residence.
This year has seen the sensory garden project in progress from start to finish and children have enjoyed tasting, feeling, smelling, listening to sounds and looking at bright coloured plants. Mrs Fordham has recently undergone a foraging course to enhance awareness of plant uses in the natural world.
We have a fire pit which is used to educate fire safety along with tasting new food cooked by the children. Fairy fires are lit prior to the camp fire using a fire steel so children have the challenge and thrill of lighting their own mini fire!
Creative activities developing fine motor skills and concentration making stick picture frames bound together by square lashing with natural leaf rubbing pictures, journey sticks, clay models and tree faces, conker animals, leaf sewing, the opportunities are endless.
Science is explored through checking the weather taking temperature readings in both Fahrenheit and Celsius and rain gauges checked for rainfall. These readings along with visual observations are updated on the weather board outside base camp for other pupil’s information.
Competitive challenges playing strategic games usually end the sessions which to name a few are bat and moth, forest fire and prey predator.
We look forward to welcoming children for their turn at Nature School’s unique learning experience in the great outdoors!