Learning in the great outdoors boosts classroom performance

Pupils from Merley First School enjoying their Outdoors Adventure experience.

Pupils from Merley First School enjoying their Outdoors Adventure experience.

A Poole school has seen a “huge” difference since introducing its children to learning in the great outdoors.

For more than a term now, Merley First School has been holding Outdoor Adventures sessions for pupils in Years 1, 2 and 3.

And the school, part of Wimborne Academy Trust, says these weekly sessions are having a significant beneficial impact on learning.

Headteacher, Jane Phillips, said: “We decided to introduce Outdoor Adventures into our timetable as research shows this type of learning improves a child’s motivation, concentration and application.

“Now we are seeing this in practice and it is having a huge impact on our children’s learning.

“Their concentration in class has improved as has their confidence.

“And for some children it has also helped improve their speaking, listening and interaction in class.”

The sessions, run by an outside agency and led by two qualified teachers, see the youngsters spend a whole afternoon outside ­– whatever the weather.

In the school’s nature area they learn new skills such as using tools to whittle wood, participating in creative activities, make fires and play games.

So far the children have made dens, carved wood and made animals and homes out of natural materials.

And the activities have proved so popular that the school has also introduced an Outdoor Adventures after school club.

Merley First School is one of eight first and middle schools that make up Wimborne Academy Trust. The others are: Allenbourn Middle, St Michael’s CofE Middle, Emmanuel CofE Middle, Hayeswood First, Colehill First, St John’s CofE First and Witchampton CofE First.


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