Outdoor Learning

At The Paragon learning experiences are not just confined to the classroom, but are also inspired by and taught in the great outdoors, making good use of our unique environment.

As great believers in Outdoor Learning, we take curriculum lessons outside to use the playgrounds, extensive woods, lawn and streams to bring topics alive. It makes lessons much more memorable and exciting. Examples last year included filming Personal Development shots on the theme of Friendship and Bullying, creating an African Keyhole Garden, searching for 2D and 3D shapes in the playground for Maths, investigating forces or heart rates for Science, re-enacting the Battle of Waterloo and many more.

We also enjoy Forest School activities; wonderful ways to help boost self-esteem and develop cooperation, improving concentration as well as gross and fine motor skills. The majority of our teaching staff are nationally accredited with qualifications in Forest Schooling and we have taken to heart the fun, stimulation and recognised learning benefits of practical learning outside the four walls of the classroom.

We have a partnership with local outdoor play specialists, Swainswick Explorers, who work with children every week. Using our outdoor woodworking workshop as a base, the sessions involve exploration of the local landscape. Green or reclaimed wood are also used to develop creativity and D&T skills. Children may make anything from birdhouses to Roman villas, a footstool for Mother’s Day or a pheasant stew (having learned how to pluck the pheasant first!). Each session is linked closely to the curriculum to further ignite a love of learning.

We have eight acres of woodland at our disposal which has distinct learning areas around the site. Each has a different learning focus with activities ranging from woodwork to storytelling and from cookery to drama. Themed trails and rope climbs have been created allowing access to Bark Wood (our learning plateau). Sloppy Swamp (our vegetable plots and animal habitats) and Outer Mongolia, where we light fires, cook wild plants and create marvellous objects using natural resources and a range of tools.

The use of the woodland area with weekly woodcraft lessons has been a considerable enrichment to the curriculum.

ISI Inspection Report