Hawford Outdoor Learning

Children learn through their senses and through powerful interaction with their environment.

There is a strong focus on play-based and outdoor learning together with a combination of structured play, first-hand experience, and some directed teaching. The development of the whole child is considered crucial.

Learning Outside of the Classroom Award

We believe that every child should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development. The outdoor environment has massive potential for providing learning opportunities. Here at Hawford, we are extremely fortunate to be set in large grounds and surrounded by an environment rich in opportunities. We make full use of our local area, including the canal and the rivers, to enhance our educational provision. Hawford has been awarded the LotC Mark (Gold) Certificate for learning outside the classroom, an award held by only 35 schools nationally. 


Outdoor learning environment

The outdoor environment offers motivating, exciting, different, relevant and easily accessible activities from EYFS through to Year 6. Our learning outside the classroom experiences are delivered through a combination of school-based outdoor learning, visits to other places and residential programmes.
Learning Outside the Classroom is part of our wide range of practical approaches to developing skills. Opportunities for learning outside exist within and across all curriculum areas and help to develop personal and social skills, communication, problem solving, thinking skills and teamwork, as well as English, Mathematics and all other curriculum areas.
Learning Outside the Classroom experiences are often remembered for a lifetime. Integrating learning and outdoor experiences, whether through planned activities or play in the immediate grounds or adventures further afield, provides relevance and depth to the curriculum in ways that are difficult to achieve indoors. Learning Outside the Classroom can be enjoyable, creative, challenging and adventurous and helps children learn by experience and grow as confident and responsible citizens who value and appreciate the natural environment.

Outdoor learning provision

The school offers a diverse experience for children, both inside and outside the classroom. We believe that outdoor experiences enhance and develop the classroom-based environment. Although it is difficult to summarise our total provision, the following notes give a general picture:

  • Opportunities are used throughout the curriculum to use the outdoors in all subjects. 
  • In Kindergarten and Reception all children have a weekly Forest School session.
  • Early Years children also enjoy both an outdoor garden area (Kindergarten 1) and an outdoor play area with adventurous play equipment. They also use the courtyards adjacent to their classrooms as an extension of the classroom.
  • All Year 1 to Year 6 children experience a variety of planned lessons outdoors.
  • Trips are organised each term for all classes to extend classroom learning.
  • Year 1 and Year 2 children enjoy outdoor use of the Forest School area.
  • After school clubs for the younger children (Reception to Year 2) see the children engaged in outdoor activities such as gardening club, katakanu club and nature studies club.
  • In Years 3 to Year 6 the children have the opportunity after school to take part in a gardening club and outward bound club.
  • There is an outdoor classroom for use throughout the year.
  • The curriculum is enhanced by a diverse range of events throughout the year, such as school walks, camp outs involving many year groups and whole school camping experiences.
  • All children in Year 2 to Year 6 take part in residential visits to support their learning.
  • There is a traversing wall for use in lessons.
  • All areas of the grounds are used frequently for lessons and play.
  • A 'Skills' session on Friday's make use of the outdoors. For example ,during these sessions the children partake in Orienteering, Art in Nature, Outward Bound, KH Radio is often recorded outside and Katakanus.

Learning outside the classroom policy