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, we have developed a wealth of varied outdoor learning facilities including the Outdoor Woodland Lodge (OWL), mud kitchen, bottle greenhouse and more.
The children gain an immense amount from outdoor learning. They have a hands on approach to activities, develop confidence, self awareness and life skills. They learn new facts, ideas and concepts about the environment and the world in which they live and become more independent, motivated and willing to learn, play, explore and investigate.
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.
All children in years 1 to 5 here at Long Crendon School get the opportunity to attend an outdoor learning Forest School session every other week, in half class size groups, all through the year. Forest School sessions are run by our resident Forest School Leader Mrs Simons, who liaises closely with all class teachers to ensure each Forest School/outdoor learning 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.
Year 6 Gardening Club
Although our year 6’s do not have bi-weekly Forest School sessions, Mrs Simons runs a weekly lunchtime Year 6 Gardening Club where children that are interested are supported to take ownership of parts of the school grounds. Looking after the pots and some flower beds, planning what they want to grow, working out what resources we need, checking we’re working in budget, and making positive changes to our environment that will be enjoyed by all at school.
The mud kitchen can be found in Foundation’s outdoor area. 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. Children get the chance to plan, prepare, sow, tend and harvest as the seasons change.
Our handmade bottle greenhouse has been available next to the Eco Garden for many years. It is currently going through a refurb, (sadly delayed by COVID lockdown restrictions) but should be ready for children to start using again during 2021. Children will soon be able to plant seeds and investigate optimal growing conditions needed, or germinate seedlings 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.