Outdoor Learning in the Pre-Prep

Nurturing the imagination, creativity and spirit of enquiry in our pupils is woven into daily Pre-Prep life. It takes place inside and outside in so many ways: art, drama, music, DT, role play and dressing up, individual and collaborative activities, small world play, investigations, construction, trips, visitors and specific sessions developing a knowledge and understanding of the world and personal development (PSHE/PSED), the list goes on! We encourage the children to experiment, ask questions, share their views and think deeply about their answers to open-ended questions.

Our Philosophy

The way we care for and develop our environment is an integral part of our attitude to being a place which inspires learning, creativity, imagination, exploration and a sense of wonder. What we do outside enriches learning in the classroom, whilst what we learn in the classroom is taken outside and applied.

Our beautiful parkland setting is a wonderful outdoor ‘classroom’ for work and play, enhancing the children’s experiences in all areas of the curriculum. The grounds have evolved over time with ideas drawn from the children, staff, families and older pupils. A wood sculptor transformed a dying oak tree into a beautiful carving of an owl and squirrels and trees are now flourishing in baby woodland following a family ‘planting’ day. A group of Senior School pupils designed and constructed a pond and conservation area as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award in a project that sums up the caring, family atmosphere at the College and underlines the strong links between the Pre-Prep, Prep and Senior Schools.

There are endless opportunities for exploring, discovering, imagining, creating and, of course, learning. The children feed the birds and fish, plant things in pots Outdoor lessons and experience the sheer magic of our environment from leaves unfurling, observing the changing seasons, looking at wildlife and noticing the impact that humans have on the environment. Making ‘nests’ and ‘buildings’ with the grass cuttings is a popular creative and absorbing co-operative activity involving imagination and planning!

Outdoor learning is integral to the holistic approach that our Pre-Prep takes to ensure that every child engages with their learning.

Forest School

Our Forest School Ethos 

Pre-Prep pupils in forest school Pre-Prep pupil doing activity in Forest School

Learning outdoors is a fundamental role in children’s education. Forest School offers unique opportunities to discover, explore and create in a natural and safe environment. It aims to offer all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences. Forest School builds upon the learning processes which children make and focusses on the ‘how have you achieved this’ more than the ‘what have you achieved’. These outdoor learning opportunities take place in our Pre-Prep Woodland based on site. Weekly Forest School sessions will provide equal opportunities for all children to have the freedom to explore the ever changing environment and to learn valuable life skills.

  • Communicating
  • Working with others
  • Building new relationships
  • Risk taking
  • Investigating nature
  • Using all their senses
  • Developing individual learning preferences
  • Respecting and understanding nature

Children will be safe and secure in the environment and be able to take risks with growing confidence and learn how to make sensible decisions and assess the risks for themselves. Children will be given opportunities to investigate tools, play, learn boundaries of behaviour, and become motivated whilst developing an understanding of the natural world. Children engage in achievable tasks and activities throughout the year and in almost all weathers.

Forest School enhances children’s holistic development which is essential to a child’s start in education. There are six different areas within this development:

  • Physical
  • Intellectual
  • Language
  • Emotional
  • Social
  • Spiritual

Pre-Prep pupils running Pre-Prep pupil in Forest School

Forest School is led by the child’s interests and builds upon their previous learning and experiences. Sessions are planned by qualified Level Three Forest School Leaders in six week sequences with a progressing theme. The sessions are delivered by qualified Forest School practitioners. Each Forest School journey is specific to the individual child and achievements made are unique.