Children learning in nature has been at the heart of our practice for 20+ years. This work has improved year on year to make learning in nature the very best for children.
Each family group spends a whole week based at our School Allotment, around the corner from school, exploring nature with their key person and Vicky, our Nature Atelierista. In addition to the Allotment, we also have The Lab; a space to reflect, research and represent nature together. The educators seize opportunities to provoke lines of enquiry and often return to the Lab to trigger research and creative possibilities.
These sessions are very relaxed and child-led, where together we explore and experience the elements, seasons, weather conditions and look closely at nature throughout the year. Children are given opportunities to become real explorers of nature, finding out about our local community and its wild spaces, as well as learning new skills, techniques and a whole new language about nature, including being able to identify trees, plants, insects, wildlife etc. There is a cabin on the allotment with a camping kitchen and log burning stove, to provide warmth and shelter on the coldest of days. We also have a very posh ‘loo shed’ with a flushable camping toilet!
Not so long ago, we acquired the neighbouring allotment and have managed to create even more opportunities for learning. The bigger space now means we have also got:
- a large patch of mud
- a joinery shop
- a builders yard
- a wildlife corner with pond
- a hill and dry riverbed
- and 2 hens
Prior to the nature days starting, parents/carers are invited to a workshop, where we discuss the rationale for why we venture into nature with children, exploring together both the risks and benefits of this brilliant outdoor opportunity. Parents are reassured that our school takes very seriously its responsibilities for keeping children safe and adheres to Durham County Council policy and guidelines on all aspects of health and safety, including rigorous risk assessments of all areas we venture to and the amazing experiences we offer children outdoors.
Once parents become aware of their nature day, they will take their child straight to the allotment dressed ready to be outdoors all session/day. Parents and grandparents are welcome to join a Nature Support Group and become involved in this fantastic learning opportunity, alongside staff and children.
- warm and waterproof snowsuit
- base layer
- cosy hat
- boots with a warm lining
- waterproof gloves