Sunday, 18 December 2011

Outdoor Converts

It's been a full term of the whole class non directive sessions and when we started the woods were lush and green and there were nerves all round about what would happen when 30 pupils were taken outdoors and allowed to choose how to spend their time. The only real rule was
"Keep yourself, each other and the grounds safe."

We travelled through a fine autumn,lucky with the weather and found some fine fungi for the pupils to identify.

Although sadly the snow waited until after our final sessions together, by the end of term the woods were noticeably bare of leaf and much cooler.

Below are some of the elder groups comments about their time in the woods.

We loved:
*Having our own time to do what we want and being able to learn what we want to learn
*Digging holes because it's fun and allows us to use our imagination
*Experimenting, like using sticks to make different things
*Working with people you don't usually work with
*Learning to use equipment safely

We learnt:
*Boys and girls can work together
*I can get on with people I don't always get on with
*Some people annoy me and now I can deal with my anger
*You can be alone and feel sad and it feels peaceful and it helps you
*You don't have to have technology to have fun

Those comments alone would have made it all worth while but the staff feedback has been fantastic:
* I really enjoyed the whole experience
*Sessions were very beneficial to pupils AND staff
*The children's play in the woodlands often reflected their mood
*New friendship groups were formed
*Pupils took their learning from class outside and vice versa
*Children who struggle in class found something they enjoyed and brought that confidence back into class
*I will definitely continue to use the woodlands whichever year group I am with, I think it's great.

It's sad to say goodbye to those classes, they have come such a long way in a term but it's so great to hear that the staff in those year groups are going to continue working outdoors, with whole classes, allowing their pupils to decide how they want to spend their time.

I can't wait to hear how they progress and next term I get to start again with two more classes to prove the worth of an hour in the woods...