Eco And Outdoor Learning
All things are possible for one who believes – Mark 9:23
During their time at school, a Waverley Abbey student will develop awareness of global environmental issues, and of how they can play their part in protecting our planet. Through our evolving outdoor curriculum, children are able to develop their practical skills, as well as their well-being and resilience. They should leave us with and understanding of and love for the natural environment, with the knowledge and passion required to make eco-friendly choices and develop positive life-long habits.
"It’s surely our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home, not just for us, but for all life on earth.”
– David Attenborough
Build and develop knowledge of nature and develop new skills to support mental well-being, boosting confidence, resilience and team work. Children to be more engaged, enthusiastic about a curriculum subject through the use of Outdoor Learning. To ensure all learning styles are supported across the curriculum, enabling and improving progress across a range of subjects.
Taking learning outdoors has become increasingly important at Waverley Abbey and we now have an ‘Outdoor Curriculum’ in place for all year groups. Every class has access to a different outdoor learning space, following a half-termly rotation to ensure broad and balanced learning opportunities for each year group. We have linked our outdoor learning sessions with each year group’s topics, so that any subject can be taken outside in order to provide enriching and engaging sessions, which will broaden our children’s understanding of the natural world.
Forest Schools is a Scandinavian initiative designed to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through an innovative, long term, educational approach to outdoor play and learning in a woodland environment. As a school we are very fortunate in having our own Wild area and a teacher trained to deliver the Forest Schools programme.
Forest Schools is offered to our Year 3 children, sessions are designed around the needs of the group to ensure that they are learner-led. Sessions occur once a month throughout the school term. Many areas of the National Curriculum are intrinsically covered. Teamwork skills are developed through games and activities. Individual skills and self-esteem are heightened throughout activities such as shelter building, tool skills, lighting fires or environmental art, the list is endless. Each activity develops intra and inter-personal skills as well as practical and intellectual skills.
We are an Eco school and value the benefits of outdoor learning. Children are stimulated by the outdoors where they can undertake a range of practical activities to support and enhance learning across the curriculum. Opportunities are built into the curriculum for children to continue learning beyond the classroom including undertaking fieldwork and enquiry based-work in the local area.
Learning Outside the Classroom
* To develop LOtC as an entitlement for all young people.
* To ensure high-quality provision through LOtC experiences.
* To deliver a wide range of progressive and frequent LOtC activities for all year groups.
* To provide young people with LOtC experiences and challenges that promote personal development, independence and well-being.
* To broaden horizons and raise aspirations; believing they can achieve in all areas of their life.
* To learn how to love and respect all things and to be inspired; marveling at the awe and wonder of God's creation.
We have received national recognition for our commitment to taking learning outside the classroom (LOtC) and have been awarded the LOtC Mark (Bronze) by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.
Rebecca Marshall, Head at Waverley Abbey said: “Being awarded LOtC Mark (Bronze) is a real coup for all the staff here as it shows that we are really making strides in providing our pupils with potentially life-changing opportunities. We're thrilled to get official recognition for our efforts, and we look forward to building on this award to help more children achieve their potential.”
LOtC Mark is awarded by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, the national voice for learning outside the classroom. LOtC is known to contribute significantly to raising standards and improving pupils’ personal, social & emotional development. It also contributes to the quality and depth of learning (OFSTED, Learning Outside the Classroom - How far should you go? 2008).
Dr Anne Hunt, Chief Executive of CLOtC said: “Learning outside the classroom has many proven educational benefits as well as providing some of the most memorable experiences in a child’s school life. Achieving LOtC Mark (Bronze) demonstrates that Waverley Abbey School is committed to developing and delivering genuinely valuable learning outside the classroom experiences for their children and young people and I congratulate them on achieving this award.”
The Eco Team consists of a group of representatives from different year groups. They hold meetings to talk about environmental issues which affect the school, the local and global community, and to plan activities for the whole school to take part in. As part of our ongoing effort to reduce plastic waste as a school, we are part of the ‘Terracycle’ scheme, through which we are able to collect and recycle crisp packets, rather than sending them to landfill. We also encourage taking part in ‘Plastic-Free Day’ each year, where every child who brings a packed lunch to school does so without including single-use plastic – this inspires many to make small tweaks to their lunches, which then become permanent changes.
At Waverley Abbey, we work hard to promote Eco values and are proud to be involved in various Eco schemes. The children love taking part in ‘green’ activities and appreciate how lucky we are that our school is set in such lovely natural surroundings. We feel it is important that the children establish a sound knowledge and pro-active attitude when it comes to environmental issues and how to ‘do our bit’.
‘Bio’ means ‘life’ and ‘Blitz’ means ‘to do something quickly and intensively’. Together they make ‘BioBlitz’, a collaborative race against the clock to discover as many species of plants, animals and fungi as possible, within a set location, over a defined time period.’