Children from across the Federation have had a fantastic morning learning in our amazing outdoor spaces. We were very lucky that the forecast rain did not materialise and we even enjoyed a little sunshine.
The children enthusiastically took part in a carousel of exciting activities, these included orienteering, creating pieces of natural art and clay sculptures. The pupils made 'smelly cocktails' from natural materials and met the challenge of the 'blind as a bat' obstacle course. Pupils also had the opportunity to build dens and have a go at 'nature weaving'.
Thank you to the staff team who designed the learning experiences as well as several ex-pupils who joined us to lend a hand! Our House Captains provided excellent support, assisting our Infant pupils with the walk between school sites.
As you can see from this slideshow the children did wonderfully well and created some brilliant pieces of work.
Our classes are already using the outdoors to support their learning in many national curriculum subjects including, Science, Geography and Art. Outdoor Education is a significant part of our Federation Improvement Plan as we look to develop a reputation for offering excellence in this area.
As the year progresses, staff will receive training from Hampshire Outdoors department, who will support us to develop 'Outdoor Learning' as a subject, within our curriculum, in its own right. We will create a programme of knowledge and skills that pupils will follow from Year R to Year 6 and each class will have a regular timetabled slot in the outdoor classroom.
I am excited to announce that the next stage in improving our Federation's facilities will be the conversion of the Woodlands Building, on the Junior School site, into a specialist classroom to support our outdoor learning programme. The plans include a purpose built classroom space for outdoor learning activities, welly storage, an outdoor sink, a dedicated space for den building, improvements to the woodland pathways, a cover canopy area, new school garden area, an outdoor mud kitchen and water play areas for our Acorns Nurture group to access and finally the restating of our school pond!
This facility will hugely enhance what we can achieve and will be used by pupils from St Thomas' as well as the junior school. We are currently at the planning stage and estimate the cost will be around £30k. We have been greatly encouraged by the support we received from our 'Friends PTA' for the project and this will become a focus for our fundraising efforts this year.
I look forward to sharing more details as the project progresses.