Making Outdoor Learning Fun
Children at Ashbridge develop into confident young learners thanks to a programme that takes them into the great outdoors
Whilst the benefits of being in the great outdoors has long been known, the last two years has put a new emphasis on being outside for many people, with schools and nurseries also beginning to focus on outdoor learning. This is no surprise to Ashbridge Independent School and Nursery, which runs an independent primary school and four nurseries in the Preston area. Outdoor learning has been a key part of their ethos since they started operating over 25 years ago.
At Ashbridge, all children benefit from outdoor learning programmes developed over many years and incorporating forest school principles, land-based studies and much more. The school’s recent inspection report awarded Ashbridge the top grade of ‘excellent in all areas’ with the children’s ‘complete, reverential engagement with the natural world’ being highlighted. This commitment to outdoor learning and connecting with nature can be seen in action across all the group’s settings.
Children at Ashbridge School in Hutton can be found developing many skills on the custom-built low ropes course or creating aqueducts in the forest as part of their studies into Romans.
At Ashbridge Nursery Hutton, children as young as two enjoy Forest School in the extensive private woodlands, using hand drills to make necklaces and cutting vegetables to cook stew over an open fire.
At Ashbridge on Ribble, pre-school children spend their days at River School where they have direct access to the banks of the River Ribble, learning about tides, river wildlife and water safety. Children attending Maxy Farm in Cottam can be found helping to care for the nursery chickens and even the youngest babies explore scents and textures in the kitchen garden, whilst at the Fledglings Nursery at Myerscough College, children visit the farm animals and learn about the farming community in which many of them live.
Forest School leader and qualified teacher, Kylie Stott explains: “Outdoor education is a chance for children to be free. They can choose to run, climb, investigate or just find some peace and quiet. We keep teacher interaction to a minimum so that the children feel like they’re alone in the forest and curate their own experiences. This allows them to feel more confident and children who may be quieter in the classroom can be extremely well spoken and confident learners outside. Outdoor learning makes children better learners and gives all children a sense of achievement.”
So, while for many being outdoors is just a time to relax and switch off from the world, at Ashbridge it is a key part of the learning experience. Ashbridge children achieve highly, in part because of their outdoor experiences allowing them to become confident and capable young people with a positive outlook on life.
Ashbridge Independent School and Nursery
Lindle Lane, Hutton PR4 4AQ