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 senses, cause difficulties in paying attention and results in higher rates of physical and mental illnesses. Therefore, Westminster Primary Academy aim to combat this by delivering curriculum-based lesson outdoors and providing children with opportunities to learn in natural environments as much as possible.
Our Journey so Far
We have adapted the outdoor play area, so that it now 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.
In addition to this, we have been working alongside a charitable organisation called Nature Friendly Schools, which is funded by the Wildlife Trust. They have generously provided funding for the outdoor seating area, which facilitates outdoor lessons. They will continue to support and guide us this academic year.
Plans for the Future
We plan on installing a pond onto the grassy area of the school grounds, which will attract a variety of different insect, amphibians and other wildlife. The pond will be fenced off and a platform installed, so that children can safely investigate different wildlife, with the guidance of an adult. This will help bring topics such as Science to life for the children, teach them about the importance wildlife has on humans lives and will encourage our pupils to respect nature and their surroundings. We will also be extending the outdoor seating area, so that full classes can sit comfortably together. The plan is to create an outdoor space that is enticing and thrilling for children to learn in a natural and holistic way. Vibrant flowers and plants will also be placed around the perimeter of the school to increase both its aesthetic appeal and attract more wildlife. Pupils will be responsible for maintaining this, equipping them with the skills needed to sustain their future.