Have a staff meeting about what clothes are needed for you and your staff to be comfortable outside. Are you going to fund this? Or put wellies and all-in-one suits on the uniform list? What about the staff, can they bring in spare fleeces, jumpers, wellies and a warm coat or will the school work towards providing them? You need to start the dialogue and keep reminding staff of expectations and asking for help from parents and local charity shops. Gathering up and getting clothes in can take time and now is the time to START.
The Muddy Puddle Teacher Approach to Outdoor Learning works because we use what’s out there. The biggest mistake schools make is spending lots of money on their outdoor space. Do not do it! It will become stale and boring soon enough. But a stick, well, that can be anything in any weather! So, you need a constant supply of sticks, stones and leaves and for teachers to start using them in outdoor lessons. Ask parents and staff to collect on weekend walks and bring them in or call your local tree surgeon who are most obliging to get rid of their off cuts! If you want help with how to use natural resources, head to our website for lesson plans and subscriptions from EYFS-KS2 www.themuddypuddleteacher.co.uk.
Start now! Its winter for sure and the hardest time to get outside BUT start now and let your teachers and staff practice. When it comes to summer, they will more than likely appreciate the fine weather and be out even more!
Set expectations. Share research on social media and as handouts to staff. Start educating everyone on the many academic, mental and physical wellbeing of learning outside in an active, environmentally friendly way. All can be found on our website at www.themuddyouddleteacher under FREEBIES. Our approach believes in balance, we do not expect our teachers to be outside for long periods in cold wet weather BUT it’s a great experience for now and then and makes a great capacity lesson. We have to look at the weather and curriculum creatively. Let your staff know this and let them understand that you know this will be different for each individual.
Motivate your staff. Ask them how they used to play as a child, what sorts of things they did. You will find that almost all adults will tell you an outdoor-related childhood memory. Now ask the children for their favourite memories and compare! When staff are reminded of the joy they had outside and the learning experiences from doing so it makes them care a little more for outdoor learning and starts that inspiration needed to be confident outdoor learning practitioners.
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