Welcome to our new Outdoor Learning area!
Here you will find out all about out outdoor learning opportunities. At Diamond Wood we are passionate about using the outdoors to encourage our children to talk more about their experiences and develop their speech and language.
Click here to read our Outdoor Learning Action Plan.
We will provide children with new outdoor learning experiences and a creative curriculum to support their language developing through the outdoors
Outdoor learning is an extremely important part of our curriculum and plays a key part with regard to the spiritual, social, emotional and personal development of our children.
Outdoor learning is something we have wanted to set up for many years but did not have the opportunity or funds to do so. However, through fundraising and adding it to our school development plan, we have now been able to start creating the space and opportunities we have been aiming for.
Our ethos of outdoor learning is based on respect for our children to investigate and demonstrate curiosity in the world around them. We believe in children's right to play; to access the outdoors (and in particular a woodland environment); and the right to experience a healthy range of emotions, through social interaction and build a resilience that will enable continued creativity with their peers and their potential.
Outdoor learning offers learning experiences for our children that go beyond the factual; excitement, fascination, joy, awe and wonder, beauty, revelation, inspiration and inquisitiveness of the world we live in. It encourages them to develop a deep awareness and appreciation of all things, a respect for themselves and a respect for others.
Our outdoor learning programme is run throughout the year with all classes experiencing outdoor sessions on a regular fortnightly basis for either a morning or afternoon.
The areas of benefit identified by a number of studies reflect the outcomes which are associated with outdoor learning:
- Self Esteem – We aim to raise the children’s self-esteem by providing challenging but achievable tasks with the focus being on the process rather than the product. Working in the outdoors has a more physical aspect, which is the preferred learning style of kinaesthetic learners, something that is not always available when working indoors. Some activities also develop children’s Thinking Skills, as part of our whole school approach.
- Interpersonal Skills – The activities that take place in the outdoor classroom have a focus on team-work, be it whole class, small group or paired work. The pupils work with children outside of their regular friendship groups to encourage understanding and acceptance of all class members and preparation for life beyond school – (links to Every Child Matters)
- Intrapersonal Skills – At the end of each outdoor session the children take part in a “Reflect and Review” activity to encourage them to think about their thoughts and feelings about the session. The children who found activities a challenge will be encouraged to talk about how it made them feel when they eventually succeeded. These discussions will be taken further based on how to transfer the feelings to an “in class” situation when they feel work is too hard, to encourage them to “have a go”- (links to S.E.A.L.)
- Health – We feel that our children benefit well from working outdoors in the fresh air and this supports them in developing their physical needs as well as their academic needs.
- Academic achievement - All the activities that take place in the Outdoor Classroom can be linked to the National Curriculum and it is hoped that with its multi-sensory approach, children will enjoy and learn from the work done outdoors.
- Language development - 98% of our pupils speak English as an additional language. Through high quality learning experiences in the outdoor learning area we aim for children’s language development to improve. Children will develop strong social skills and all pupils will build upon their life skills. We want children to feel challenged yet safe when taking risks. Pupils will have the opportunities to continue learning through play.
Outdoor Learning - Curriculum Intent
Diamond Wood Community Academy serves a community where 98% of the children have English as an additional language. Language is therefore at the heart of all that we do and is an integral part of our learning. Therefore, , Outdoor Learning is valued greatly in our school as it provides the children with rich language experiences and outdoor experience which they may not experience at home or have the knowledge or skills to explore the outdoors to its full potential.
We pride ourselves on providing our pupils with as many meaningful experiences as possible during their time with us. Children are introduced to numerous of outdoor experiences each half term and these are progressively built upon each year. Well advised planning has been created to ensure clear progression throughout the year groups and all outdoor activities link directly to the outdoors supporting children with new experiences and learning new skills and language. We encourage all children to explore, express and analyse their outdoor learning experience with the aim of supporting them to become independent learners and concur language which they would not express in the classroom. Play and choice are an integral part of the Outdoor Learning process, and play is recognised as vital to learning and development at Outdoor Learning and Outdoor Learning provides a stimulus for all learning preferences and dispositions.
As a school we provide many opportunities to enrich our curriculum, exposing children to a wide range of activities. We have good links with local schools in our area who provide guidance on a successful Outdoor Learning area. We have worked in partnership with Outdoor Learning leaders who have supported our school in developing the outdoor learning area.
We have worked hard to create an outdoor learning space for our children and understand that whilst a woodland is the ideal environment for Outdoor Learning, our outdoor space can offer good Outdoor Learning practice providing children with the space and environment in which to explore and discover. The Outdoor Learning has been adapted using local suppliers which have donated a selection of logs for the children to access a fire pit and begin their Outdoor Learning activities. Water pumps and a gardening area have been designed with the children in mind to ensure that the children experience all aspects of the outdoor environment. Fire training has been encouraged and staff and children are actively encouraged to build a fire and cook on the fire following concise risk assessments.
Click here for our Outdoor Learning Overview
Click here to see our Catch Up plans for our Outdoor Learning Curriculum Gaps
Click here for our Outdoor Learning Progression of Skills
Click here to see our Outdoor Learning Vocabulary Lists
Click on the links below for some great ideas for getting outdoors and exploring nature:
Local Parks & Woods to visit:
Crows Nest Park - Dewsbury
Batley Park - Batley
Beaumont Park - Huddersfield
Greenhead Park – Huddersfield
Dewsbury Country Park