Forest School and The PATCH (Pupil Allotment Together with the Community of Hoole)
We are very lucky to have fantastic woodland within our school grounds, which offers our children inspirational and exciting learning opportunites. Our incredible Forest School programme offers ALL children from EYFS through to Year 6 the chance to take their learning outside of the classroom. Our walls become trees, our chairs become logs and there is no ceiling! The sky is the limit! The sessions are run by our fully qualified Forest School Leader, Mrs Jones. As Mrs Jones is also the Science subject lead at school, lots of links with the Science curriculum are woven throught the sessions too.
Forest Schools is a growing movement in the UK which is proven to raise children’s motor skills, self-esteem, cooperative and social skills and also to enable children to take risks in a safe environment. Feedback from the children is incredibly positive and the enthusiasm and excitement Forest Schools creates is highly contagious! During the sessions, our children embrace learning outside the classroom. Typical activities include making dens, learning how to cook on a campfire, make woodland craft items, using tools safely, caring for our environment, identifying different flora and fauna and a lot more besides! Rain or shine, there are always lots of smiles in the woods!
In 2020, we were awarded Gold in The Woodland Trust Green Tree initiative. The school received an official plaque, marking our school joining the network of 12,000 schools taking action to help the environment in conjunction with the Woodland Trust Green Tree Scheme.
The Green Tree initiative encourages outdoor learning and inspires pupils to discover trees, wildlife and the natural world. Through the award, children can take part in fun, practical projects while helping the environment and improving the school grounds.
In 2023, we were awarded the Gold Level of the Learning Outside the Classroom Mark. The LOtC Mark is awarded by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, the UK-wide charity that champions all learning that happens beyond the classroom. Their work supports educators, schools and organisations who are dedicated to ensuring more children and young people have opportunities for life-changing learning experiences beyond the classroom, whether these happen indoors or outdoors, close to home or far away. Providing students with more opportunities to access high-quality learning beyond the classroom experiences can open their eyes to the world around them and allows them to develop into well-rounded citizens. The many benefits of LOtC are now well-evidenced and include improving academic attainment, physical health, emotional well-being, self-esteem, and resilience.
The PATCH is an outdoor classroom that allows children to grow, tend, and sometimes eat their own produce. Over the last few years, teachers have taken advantage of our impressive raised beds and greenhouse, and introduced the children to hands on experiences, from planning through to germination and maintenance, culminating in the immense satisfaction gained from harvesting produce. Various experts and enthusiasts, from our local community, have supported our efforts and our stall at the summer fair is usually very popular and sold out. We are always grateful to receive offers of help and if you are interested please leave a message at the office for Mrs Jones.
In October 2020, we won a Royal Horticultural Society award in conjunction with the RHS Campaign for School Gardening. The award recognises the effort invested by the school to make the school grounds an attractive and safe environment, inhabited by an array of plants, insects and wildlife.
We are delighted to receive this award as it highlights the hard work pupils and volunteers have done over the last year in the school grounds. We have exciting plans to continue to develop outdoor learning with the introduction of an outdoor classroom and further planting in the school allotment.
Watch this space!
RHS Tatton Flower Show
We have been very excited to be involved with the RHS Tatton Flower Show over the last few years!
We participated in the School Gardens Competitions, which provides school pupils with an amazing opportunity to design, grow, build and showcase a garden at an RHS Show. By participating, children gained invaluable hands on experience with plants and horticulture, while developing an understanding of different growing practices and environmentally-friendly gardening.