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 aims to combat this by delivering curriculum-based lessons 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. With help from the Wildlife Trust we have installed an outdoor classroom, to facilitate learning outside and a pond, which offers children a chance to discover, explore and examine new creatures and habitats.
Plans for the Future
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 trees 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. We are again working alongside the Wildlife Trust to teach our children about climate change using the Nature’s Climate Heroes project. This project allows us to address any concerns and anxieties children may have about climate change and empower them to take small steps towards a better future. In addition to this, Westminster Primary Academy will be venturing out to the coast a bit more as a beach school. Children will be learning about water and coastal safety, coastal erosion, habitats, marine life and how to keep our beaches clean.
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.