Learning Outside the Classroom
Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) is an initiative that offers children experiences not easily achieved indoors, leads to greater levels of creativity, and allows children to develop skills, knowledge and understanding without the constraints of a classroom. The programme supports all aspects of the school’s curriculum and particularly strengthens children’s social, emotional and physical development.
At Long Crendon school we have extensive grounds rich in habitats, woodland environments and wildlife. Additionally, in the last two years we have developed a wealth of varied outdoor learning facilities including the Outdoor Woodland Lodge (OWL), mud kitchen, bottle greenhouse and more.
Outdoor Woodland Lodge (OWL)
The OWL was erected in 2014 and was funded by our fabulous PTA. The OWL is now the centre of our outdoor learning – providing both a storage and drying facility for outdoor learning equipment (such as waterproof clothing), and as a boot change and meeting place at the start and end of all outdoor learning lessons. Contrary to popular belief Mrs Berrell does not live in the OWL, but a family of rabbits do live beneath it.
All KS1 and KS2 children here at Long Crendon School get the opportunity to attend an outdoor learning Forest School session once a week, every week. Forest School sessions are run by our resident Forest School Leader Mrs Berrell, who liaises closely with all class teachers to ensure each Forest School session supports classroom learning and gives children a chance to explore curriculum topics and concepts to greater depth and at their own pace. During a year at Forest School the children can expect to learn: how to safely use real tools, all about fire safety, outdoor cooking skills, den building techniques, creative skills using natural resources, about our local animals and plants, how they adapt with the changing seasons and the habitats in which they live.
The mud kitchen can be found in Foundation’s outdoor area. Over the last couple of years, Mr Poote has created an amazing kitchen for children to use real kitchen equipment in the outdoors, learning how to work together and co-operate, communicate their ideas and to plan what they will be doing in that session. Go to Foundation’s class page for more on the kitchen and pictures.
The Eco Garden contains large raised beds in which the children can grow seasonal produce as they would in an allotment. The classes are assigned a bed and maintain it over the year.
The bottle greenhouse has been lovingly built by classes who gone through Year 3. Mrs Taylor painstakingly built it up with bottles that were donated by children over the years and we continue to maintain it throughout the seasons as part of our LOtC. At different times you can see plants growing or germinating ready to go in the Eco Garden.
The woodland walk forms the backbone of our Forest School site. It comprises of a swathe of different mature trees (oaks, birches, sycamore, field maple, ash, blackthorn, hawthorn, cherry, etc) approximately 80m long and 10m wide, running along the top end of our sports field. This is a fantastic resource that the children access regularly during outdoor learning and free play time, providing us with a diverse woodland habitat to study and explore.