Ofsted on outdoor learning

We are a relatively new approach but what is incredible is the impact it is having on the child and teacher and at the rapid speed schools and nurseries are taking this approach up.

Our approach is an extension of the inside and we do not see outdoor learning as a separate entity and this is where our success lies and schools like our approach so much. This not only makes it manageable it makes our approach useful and needed. Not a box-ticking exercise. We use outdoor learning to support indoor learning. We link to the curriculum and only go outside if it extends, embeds and encourages significant learning. The different outlook we are having is certainly gaining interest from schools all over the world.

Our settings have no set-times or days they go outside. They do it if it fits.

‘Ofsted recommends that schools evaluate the quality of learning outside the classroom to ensure that it has maximum impact on learners’ achievement, personal development and well-being.‘ – LOTC website 2019

The ‘evaluate’ and ‘learners achievement’ is key here because this is what they need to see.

Evaluate – does the learning the child is doing enhanced by being outside? Yes, then why, how? No , then do not do it. Open the windows of the classroom instead and let the fresh air in!

Staff often feel they have to go outside, do more outdoor learning but we do need to change our outlook on this, just like our approach encourages.

You go outside only if it extends, enhances or encourages the learning.

You look at your objectives and think about what fits, works better using the outside space.

A great example is the water cycle. So often we see this being taught inside when it is raining outside! Perfect chance to have hands-on experience of the water cycle!

However, our approach is unique in the fact we only use natural resources. Therefore it enhances every lesson straight away because of the academic links to science, imagination and creativity plus we encourage these resources back in the class too. Making the two spaces become one, supporting one another.

Lambsetts Sheffield became Muddy Puddle Trained in the Summer 2019 and their recent Ofsted report commented on their Muddy Puddle outdoor provision. The nursery went through a process of removing all plastics, replacing with only upcycled and natural resources. The transformation in play has been incredible and we continue to research the children’s development with a report on their success coming out next year.

Here what Ofsted had to say in their most recent report:

‘The recently developed outside play area offers children many opportunities for exploratory and imaginative play with a range of open-ended, natural resources.’ – Ofsted, Lambsetts, Sheffield.

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An outdoor teaching approach created by teachers for teachers

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‘Learning outside for just one lesson a week boosts learning and behaviour, say, researchers’, Telegraph article click here to read more.