The Outdoor Classroom is a term often used to describe the grass, tarmac and sometimes woodland that a school is set within, but how many schools are grabbing hold of that valuable and free resource in its current condition and using it to its full extent? Many are, but for some the blocks and barriers are too great and it seems easier to stay within the confines of the building. How many of us though wish for more space, to enable classes to use the outside areas to alleviate crowding from rising pupils numbers and to enrich the curriculum with something that is on our own doorstep? How many of us are spending vast sums of money on transport to other places when our grounds could become the beacon to which other schools would like to visit.
The process we have developed encourages a school to take their unique setting, understand it from all points of view, openly discuss what their ambitions are for the future and enable change to happen! Every school we have ever worked with has seen benefits both short and long term for the process, and we hope that children too have then gone on to reap the rewards of having been able to play their part. They and their wider school community have created that legacy where not just education is improved, but play, socialising, arrival and welcome, the natural environment, health and well being, and the role of the wider community all play their part in that plan for the future.
The process of looking at the whole site and developing a Strategy Plan for all of it takes 2 workshops and 1 follow up meeting. The workshops are held at the school, involve a cross section of your community and are fully resourced and facilitated by us.
Every workshop we run is unique as every school is unique and a working record of everything discussed is kept to enrich the follow up report that is provided to the school on completion.
This report provides the supporting evidence required for not only funding bids for the future but also to bring a new Headteacher or Governor up to speed on the how and why this document is so important. The Strategy Plan sits within the report and it is this that will be the guiding tool for your school to move forward with for the future.
Over the last 2 years a specialist Early Years focused workshop has been developed to create a strategic plan for the outside spaces supporting the Foundation Stage curriculum.
An Early Years Area can often be described as a microcosm of the whole site. Topics such as arrival and welcome, outdoor learning, socialising and play, which are discussed on a larger scale are just as important to consider.
This workshop approach sometimes follows on from a Whole Site Strategy, but has on some occasions been looked at initially as important to address as an area needing attention of its own, or following an Ofsted inspection where comment has been made about improvement needing to be made.