Be it beautifully sunny or blowing a gale, the children at Blundell’s cannot wait to don their overalls each week, ready to get stuck into whatever exciting activities await them during their timetabled ‘Wild Wonders’ and ‘Wild Explorers’ sessions in our beautiful grounds. As the children busily set to work, it becomes clear that this is far more than just another educational trend; the impact of learning outside of the classroom is quite clearly far-reaching as each child takes ownership of their progress, gaining countless transferrable skills along the way.
Guided by our team of outdoor learning teachers and qualified Forest School Leaders, our bespoke, progressive passport system enables children to track and celebrate their success as they move through the school building on their expanding skill set. With over 50 new skills to learn across 6 distinct skill areas, knot tying, den building and learning to identify the local flora and fauna are some of many of the activities that feature each week. Needless to say, a huge amount of pride is taken as the children tick off newly mastered skills and progress through the stages.
The skills that the children gain, however, are not limited to the physical ones. Of course, the ability to light a fire and toast marshmallows is sure to last a lifetime! But, as the learning moves outdoors, teamwork, problem solving, creativity, imagination, risk-taking and leadership characteristics become the key to success. We watch as the children build on their independence, resilience and focus – whilst also discovering so much more about themselves. Patience, kindness and emotional intelligence are promoted in abundance and suddenly, those who might be slightly more reserved in the classroom come to life. Without a second thought, we begin to help our children to gain the roots and wings that enable them to thrive and what they learn about themselves and their friends outdoors begins to have an impact on all areas of school life. The transferrable skills that the children acquire outside the classroom are priceless.
So rather than asking why our children get taken from their lessons to go outside ‘to play’, you might now choose to ask why they get taken back inside, away from the learning that they were doing outdoors!
Nature really does provide nurture our children so desperately need and deserve.