The big outdoors - Mill Hill Schools

Head’s blog

The big outdoors

My highlight of the week was definitely having the opportunity to spend a considerable amount of time outside with Nursery and Reception in the outdoor learning Environment. What a joy to experience the full extent of the impact this space has had on pupils. They were collaborating on little projects such as mud cake making and water play, taking turns without being prompted, inviting others into their game and using dialogue which built upon the ideas and imagination of their friends. I worked with a small group making 2D shapes with bark. I started creating a circle and then children joined in to make a square and a heart. One child then suggested we use all the pieces of bark to make one huge circle so we worked together on this in such a natural and productive manner.

One of the most effective things about outdoor learning is the freedom it gives children to explore. The boundaries of the classroom create a different sort of learning experience which is also of great value, but outside we see children’s personalities come alive and their curiosity and imagination awaken. Natural materials offer the opportunity to be creative without pressure and children are so naturally responsive to their environment. The child-led nature of the activities and the confidence and independence shown by the children was remarkable. We work hard at Grimsdell to harness this and build on it rather than quash it with passive or spoon fed learning. Our children are thinking for themselves and making decisions and I felt huge pride in them and my dedicated team of staff for creating such an enabling environment.