Outdoor Education at Hawthorns School covers three separate strands of learning. Loose Parts Play (LPP), ECO and Gardening.
These three areas of learning give our children the opportunity to connect with nature and to expand their life skills on a regular basis.
Outdoor Education at Hawthorns School covers three separate strands of learning.
We are extremely lucky at Hawthorns to have three areas to enjoy our Loose Parts Play (LPP.) The beautiful original forest, the extended and fast maturing wildlife area and the field.
These sessions give children the opportunity to use equipment that is not found within the indoor classrooms.
This equipment includes, (but is not limited to!) tyres, planks, logs, gutters, drainpipes, pallets, oil drums, cones, wheelbarrows, crates. Loose Parts are not prescriptive and offer endless possibilities of use.
These sessions help to facilitate-
- Children beginning to play with more cooperation.
- The development of social skills.
- Increased levels of imaginative play.
- The development of communication.
- The development of pro-environmental attitudes.
- The development of fine/gross motor skills and coordination.
The introduction last September of weekly team challenges for some of our older children has added a new dimension to LPP! The challenges can range from topic linked ‘big builds’ to against the clock races/obstacle courses and relays.
Cooperation, communication and empathy all play their part and give the children chance to build on these existing skills.
Most importantly though, the pupils really enjoy LPP sessions, they become engineers, construction workers, gardeners, adventurers, explorers, den builders, potion makers, dinosaur hunters, mechanics and many more, transported into a world of their own making.
Gardening at Hawthorns is closed linked with Eco Schools topics School Grounds and Biodiversity, RHS School Gardening Awards and WWF Plant to plate campaign, which is aimed at helping children to gain an understanding of where food comes from.
During the gardening sessions, the staff aim to give pupils a complete picture of how this is achieved, starting from collecting the fruit waste from classes and the cookery room and delivering it to the wormery and composter. The waste is eventually turned into lovely compost for the raised beds and the worms give us fertiliser to feed the flowers and veg.
The gardening links in with class topics, such as Maple’s “Farm to Fork” and Holly’s “What’s in the Garden?” The children are learning about companion planting this growing season and have been researching which plants are ‘friends’ with others!
We have recently been donated a tractor tyre and a lorry tyre! These have been put to good use, with the tractor tyre full of carrot plants and the lorry tyre full of onions!
Other plants growing successfully are –
- Potatoes (courtesy of the Grow Your Own Potatoes Scheme)
- Runner Beans
- Rainbow Beetroot
This spring the children have sown wildflowers for the first time, these are part of the companion planting scheme and they should look beautiful too!
The wildlife garden is home to pear and apple trees as well as a number of blackberry bushes. The children learn that blossom in the spring means fruit to harvest in late summer/early autumn.
Sunflowers are always a joy to plant, the big, easy to handle seeds germinate quickly and the plant itself grows rapidly. The flower head attracts bees, butterflies, moths and ladybirds to name a few. The seeds are a great favourite of many birds including the Chaffinch, which sadly is in decline at the moment.
With the gardening poly tunnel now ready for use, seeds can be sown through the winter, ready for planting out during the spring, this will greatly extend the Hawthorns growing season!
The cycle of sowing, planting and harvesting helps the children to recognise different seasons throughout the year.