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Outdoor learning

We strongly believe that every child should experience the outdoors as part of their education.  Time outdoors is important for children’s wellbeing and personal development, and our curriculum encompasses a broad range of opportunities for practical outdoor activities, outdoor play and school trips. 

Our Outdoor Learning lessons are also a prominent and popular part of our Nursery and Reception curriculum.  The world outdoors is a living, breathing classroom!  We are lucky to be located opposite Clapham Common, enabling us to make full use of its 220 acres of parkland.  This creates a plethora of opportunities for our children to link their classroom learning with the natural environment around them.  Children are encouraged to explore and to see learning as an adventure, acquiring skills and experiences through activities such as den building, exploring woodland trails and discovery walks, creating bug hotels, making potions from natural materials, taking on the role of measurement detectives and playing team games.  Outdoor learning is fun, challenging, healthy and integral to Parkgate life.  These lessons always capture the children’s imagination and attention.  Our teachers foster a positive and inquisitive attitude towards the natural environment, in a way that often links to our broader whole school aim to develop awareness about sustainability. 

As pupils move up through the school, they have numerous opportunities to take their learning outdoors; for example, our pupils carry out science experiments on Clapham Common, they learn to map out and navigate their way around the local area as part of their Humanities lessons and they take inspiration from the outdoors during Art lessons.  Recent trips have included the Mud Club, Kew Gardens and the Wetlands in Barnes where outdoor workshops increase their understanding of nature and ecosystems.  There is also an annual residential activity trip for Prep pupils, where they take part in exciting activities such as abseiling, climbing, orienteering, raft building and the zip wire.  These activities build team spirit, resilience and confidence as pupils take on new challenges.  

Horse riding is also a key feature of our Prep curriculum – Prep 3 and 4 children have a weekly lesson at Stag Lodge where riding skills are developed and pupils learn to nurture and care for the animals. 

Outdoor learning is a highly valued part of our curriculum which complements learning in the classroom very effectively.  It helps to develop essential life skills such as teamwork, communication skills, independence and leadership skills, whilst also encouraging an appreciation of the natural environment. 

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