St Thomas CE (VC) Primary School
8.00am - 4.00pm
Our school works closely with the other schools around us to provide additional opportunities for our children. To find out about who we work with, and what we do click here...
By Rachel Tempest
At St Thomas Primary School, we are intent on providing an EYFS outdoor learning setting that acknowledges and supports each individual child’s needs and abilities. In supporting current research of lost opportunities for children accessing the outdoors out of school, our outdoor learning policy inspires children’s physical and mental health. It also gives all children the option to experience curriculum learning (Development Matters-DM) and social and personal development (Characteristics of Effective Learning-COEL) by extending learning outside of the classroom. Our end point for EYFS outdoor learning is to have enabled all children to fully explore and further develop their skills across the curriculum, especially in reading, writing and mathematics, in order for them to reach age related expectations or make accelerated progress from their starting point. As well as this we want children to develop a love for outdoor learning.
The EYFS outdoor learning environment supports the vision of learning and skills development on a much larger scale than the classroom. As such, every child has access to the curriculum in various ways to uniquely develop their subject knowledge and skills progression. The quality of education within outdoor learning is designed and planned by an experienced team of EYFS staff with high expectations and a rigorous understanding of the needs of all our children. They provide daily, stimulating tasks and challenges linked to the half-termly Topic and DM and COEL objectives. Subject integrity is evident through staff engaging with children either individually or within groups to complete daily activities, where subject knowledge can be acquired. They also support and engage in free-play, to stimulate and drive the physical and mental well-being of our children. Planning can be regularly and sporadically adapted to acknowledge child lead initiatives and to allow the progression of skills and meaningful learning. Children are taught to uphold the St Thomas Top 10 behaviour rules to respectfully and inclusively play and learn, just as they would inside the classroom. Resourcing the outdoor areas is also planned and considered in line with all children’s needs and the specific and core curriculum objectives. A selection of resources is available in most core areas to support child lead initiatives and independent learning. Daily risk assessments are undertaken to ensure both children and adults safely and comfortably access as many outdoor areas as possible and in all weathers.
The impact of the quality of teaching and learning and good progress in the EYFS outdoor areas are regularly tracked, assessed and measured as equally as indoor learning and through varying methods. This is undertaken by EYFS staff, subject leaders, our senior leadership team and the Board of Governors. Good progress within EYFS outdoor learning would include children happily and socially engaging in daily activities and demonstrating learned subject knowledge, whilst adhering to the outdoor learning rules. Rigorous monitoring and assessment for learning is predominantly through observations, teacher judgement and the study of Tapestry data. This informs the continuous improvement of our outdoor learning policy and procedures. Children’s work and progress is regularly celebrated and displayed within class and with parents through Tapestry.