What could be better than an outdoor classroom where pupils not only learn about but also experience the world around them? Ripplevale’s Outdoor Learning area does just that! The natural setting of the wood encourages pupils’ learning within a natural environment and promotes their independence by challenging them to adapt to the different situations they encounter.
In creating our woods as a learning and social resource we are ever mindful of the need to uphold the integrity of the woodland itself. We do this by ensuring that, wherever possible, we use naturally occurring woodland materials and disrupt, as little as possible, the natural landscape. Various zones, each providing different learning activities and opportunities have been created linked together by a natural trial which allows safe movement between the site without affecting the natural landscape.
The opportunity to see, hear, smell and touch the natural environment around them develops their appreciation of nature and allows them to experience situations in, what is for many, an unfamiliar setting.
The outdoor learning area is a calm environment where pupils can learn whilst experiencing peace and quiet. It is a location that provides them with the outdoor space and tranquillity to explore and make discoveries independently or with support. Learning is multi-sensory, and pupils are encouraged to express their feelings and make observations using either gesture or through vocalisation. Focused learning tasks and simple challenges are carefully planned to increase confidence and self-esteem. One of the most beautiful aspects of the outdoor learning environment is that its challenges are stimulating and enjoyable.
All Primary and Key Stage 3 groups have a weekly lesson in the outdoor learning area while Key Stage 4 and 6th Form groups have the opportunity to visit the area throughout the year for special events.