Lead: Mrs Kim Leathley
Westminster Primary Academy is committed to embedding outdoor learning into the curriculum, so that children are motivated, engaged and make progress in their education through experiential and creative teaching and learning.
Outdoor learning has been proven to increase academic performance, self-esteem, relationship with peers, conflict resolution, problem solving, motivation to learn, teamwork, child development, a love of nature, behaviour and physical, mental and emotional health.
Opportunities for children to access natural environments are diminishing, due to safety concerns, increased traffic, lack of open green spaces, technology and parental worries. This is resulting in nature-deficit disorder, which can diminish the use of the senses, cause difficulties in paying attention and results in higher rates of physical and mental illnesses. Therefore, Westminster Primary Academy aims to combat this by delivering curriculum-based lessons outdoors and providing children with opportunities to learn in a range of natural environments as much as possible through school trips.
Our outdoor area offers a variety of equipment which provides physical challenges that develop balance, hand to eye coordination, climbing confidence, upper and lower body strength, core stability and gross motor skills. We also have an outdoor classroom, to facilitate learning outside. In addition to this, we have a pond and a firepit. Our outdoor space is an enticing and thrilling place for children to learn in a natural and holistic way.
Pond Dipping and Bug Hunting
We have installed a pond, which offers children a chance to discover, explore and examine new creatures and habitats.
We have many bug pots and identification cards that allow children to get up, close and personal with insects and creatures. Many of our pupils have conquered fears they once had about insects and have grown a true love and appreciation for them.
Work in the community
Pupils learn about their environment and how to respect it. Children have taken part in many litter picks in their local community and at the beach in the hopes of making their world a better place.
Trips and Experiences
Outdoor learning doesn’t just happen on the school grounds, children explore the great outdoors going as far as Coniston, Brocholes, Beacon Fell and Abbeystead. Children meet alpacas, reindeers and learn about local wildlife. The outdoors are utilised in a way that helps bring education to life. Children have cooked on a firepit like they would in the Stone Age. They have taken part in Roman battles, held Anglo-Saxon trials outside, launched rockets as scientists, learned cultural dances, taken part in treasure hunts and reading challenges. They have been archaeologists, environmentalists, geologists, ecologists and meteorologists exploring different careers and thinking about their own future dreams and ambitions. The aim is to open the world up to our pupils, giving them the room for self discovery and exploration.
Here at Westminster we believe that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!
Here at Westminster we hope to instil a love of nature and the outdoors in all our pupils, so that they learn to love and respect their environment and the world around them, making them advocates for the planet and all its living creature