Kingsdown School, Academy Trust Special School, in Southend

OUTDOOR LEARNING

Varied outdoor facilities are used to support teaching and learning in the classroom and to motivate our pupils to become successful learners. They enhance the curriculum and offer an adventurous approach to outdoor learning by providing challenges, enjoyment, different opportunities to manage risk and to cope with change and the development of the whole person.

We have planned and developed outdoor areas that are able to meet the educational needs of our pupils through play, for example the sand adventure frame, trim trail, a specially designed chair and benches on which stories can be told, musical instruments, specialist play equipment, an enclosed all weather surface, the natural environment and the shaded canopies. We also have a large number of different types of trikes and bicycles that pupils can use during their break and lunch times.

The various areas are also used as a place of learning and sociability, some of the outside activities have included: Gemma’s Farm, Football Coaching, Holiday Club Adventure Inflatable days and an Ice-Cream Van.

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Forest Schools is an inspirational process that offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a natural environment.

We have planned and developed a Forest Schools area that is able to meet the educational needs of our pupils. The area is designed to form a basic structure for sessions to include imaginative play, social interactions and pupil led learning.

There are many activities for the pupils to explore including a log circle, mini beast houses, a mud kitchen and den building.

We are now an accredited Forest School with Ceilidh leading and sharing knowledge across the classes to ensure all pupils have brilliant learning adventures. The pupils are thriving outside and having great fun whilst doing so.

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The Kingsdown Growing Garden originally opened as the ‘Jamie Oliver Kitchen Garden Project’ at the beginning of the summer term 2016. The children have since named the area ‘The Growing Garden’ and have done a wonderful job at creating a very exciting learning experience.

This year, every class at Kingsdown is helping to maintain the gardens and they will collaborate to grow seed to mouth produce.

There are many brightly coloured chalkboards placed around the perimeter of the garden used for mark making, maths and art. These chalkboards are at heights suitable for everyone to access.

We also have a garden shed for safely storing all the equipment needed - it is also 'home' to ‘Jamie’, the puppet mascot!

The pupils have investigated, explored and observed seeds being prepared, planted, cared for and watered, harvested, cooked and tasted.

Both the pupils and staff at Kingsdown have worked very hard to grow and share as many fruits, plants and vegetables as possible this year including: tomatoes, broad beans, courgettes, potatoes, purple, orange and white carrots, beetroot, cress, lettuces, cucumbers, herbs, onions and sunflowers as well as many more in class!

We are all very excited to see the potatoes, courgettes, herbs, carrots and beetroot soon to be harvested in July 2018.

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