Outdoor Learning and Forest School
Learning outside of the classroom is every child’s entitlement. At St Mary Cray Primary Academy, we value outdoor learning because it allows children to have fun whilst learning new skills that may not be possible within the 4 walls of classroom. Because these experiences are also very memorable, it encourages the retention of new knowledge. We believe opportunities to learn and play outside throughout the year, regardless of England’s unpredictable weather, is as important as learning and playing inside. For many children, the learning that happens outdoors is the most important; it is these experiences that they remember the most and quite often, they are only exposed to these experiences at school.
Well-organised and supervised settings where children are given the freedom to manage their own risks, allows them to discover their capabilities and true potential. Furthermore, the greatest benefits of learning outside of the classroom are the development of self-confidence and independence. Not forgetting, it encourages an appreciation for a healthier life lifestyle and the environment. Understandably, there can be risks associated with outdoor learning experiences; however, it is important that children recognise risks and how to manage them, and this is fundamental part of their learning. As teachers, we are mindful that a balance is needed between risk and fun to exploit as much new learning as possible. We endeavour to minimise the risk and maximise the fun and learning.
We are fortunate that the setting of St Mary Cray Primary Academy provides a wonderful environment to embrace outdoor learning. The school grounds are used to deliver the National Curriculum safely and creatively.
- Large playground
- Caged 5 a-side concrete football pitch with floor markings for other sports
- Trim trail
- Large field backed by St Mary Cray Recreation Ground
- Forest school area
- Separate outdoor area for EYFS classes
In addition to the above, all year groups also have access to Midfield Primary School’s outdoor learning environments. These include, but are not limited to:
- Indoor, heated swimming pool
- Large grounds backed by Scadbury Park Woods
- Four developed Forest School areas
- Celtic hut
- Edible eco-garden