Outdoor Learning

At Ettington Primary School, we are fortunate to have the most wonderful outdoor areas.

We believe in embracing opportunities to learn outdoors and find ways of developing our curriculum – learning outside whenever possible. All children receive a wide range of opportunities to develop socially and emotionally as well as academically through outdoor learning and play.

“Children cannot learn by textbooks and computers alone. They need to experience the real world for themselves if they are truly to understand their role within it and the part they can play in the future” – Real World Learning

“There is no substitute for outdoor learning. It broadens children’s’ outlooks, improves their motivation, and personal and inter-personal skills “- Real World Learning

Children are supported in taking risks within a safe and secure environment.

The outdoor area offers challenge and teaches the children how to be safe and aware of others.

We aim to create an outdoor area which is stimulating, exciting and used throughout the year as a learning environment.

  • To raise the profile of outdoor learning as a framework for growth and development.
  • To celebrate our outdoor space and the rich learning that can take place within it.
  • For all children to use the outdoor area as a context for learning throughout the year.
  • For all children to develop skills and independence in a widening range of environments.
  • For all children to develop their curiosity and understanding of their physical and human world.
  • For all children to socialise and interact in new and different ways with their peers and adults.
  • To provide a safe, stimulating outdoor environment where space is used effectively to enable children to explore a broad and balanced curriculum using a range of interesting resources suitable to their individual needs.
  • To raise awareness of environmental issues and encourage children to care for their environment.
  • For all children to take ownership of outdoor play areas as they develop their gross motor skills through games and activities, ensuring that children enjoy energetic activity outdoors and the feeling of well-being that it brings.
  • For all children to have the opportunity to relax, enjoy and have fun outdoors.
  • For all children to have the opportunity to use tools safely and effectively.
  • To observe and assess and record the learning that happens in the outdoor area.

Staff will:

  • Facilitate access to the outdoor learning through discussion and staff meetings, planning and mutual agreement.
  • Organise and provide necessary resources as appropriate, e.g. footwear, tools, etc.
  • Encourage children to use a variety of natural resources.

From Reception to Year 6, children are provided with opportunities for both formal and informal learning and play.

In the Early Years, free flow enables children to choose to use the outdoor area throughout the day. Outdoor learning in Early Years is largely led by the child’s interest.

From Year 1 to Year 6, activities using the outdoors are planned for.

Built into our Creative Curriculum planning during the Summer Term, the children carry out activities such as growing and planting. We look at the ‘bigger picture’ of our world and how we can all play a part. The children are made aware of how to become plant protectors as they learn about plant and produce stories. They explore Climate Control, the dangers that threaten our world and what we can do to stop Global Warming. Children are provided with a range of experiences that help develop key life skills, including personal learning, enquiry and thinking skills.

Children have the opportunity to engage with imaginative, investigative and creative play using the outdoors e.g. the nature trail.

Every class identifies one outdoors activity every week to support learning.

Monitoring and Assessment:

Assessment of the children’s learning is valued equally indoors and outdoors and be part of the same process.

As the outdoors can enrich all areas of the curriculum, subject leaders monitor planning to see how the outdoors is being used to support the teaching of their subject.

“Learning mathematics outside the classroom is not enrichment, it is at the core of empowering an individuals understanding of the subject. By taking maths beyond the classroom, we can more clearly illustrate the connections between the real world and what students are studying in school. In so doing students and teachers alike are enthused by the wealth of resources they have all around them in their own environments “ – National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics 2008 (NCETM)

Class 2

The children in class 2  have been using our outdoor environment to help them solve maths problems.

Year 2 bYear 2 cYear 2 a

Class 2 had a go at doing some ‘Old Fashioned’ games to play on the playground during break and lunchtime.

Year 2 d

Class 5/6

To calculate area and perimeter:

We collaborated to calculate the area and perimeter of the school field.

Calculating the area and perimeter1

Water Carrying:

To empathise with people in developing countries with no access to clean water, we carried buckets around the field. It was harder than we thought.

Water Carrying


In Mecca, people on the Hajj walk around the Kabbah seven times. We role played parts of the Hajj.


Fence Post Number Lines:

We created number lines on fence posts before placing decimal numbers on them.

Fence Post Number Lines

Martin Luther King Clue Hunt:

We collected information about MLK to put into our biographies.


Tea Party:

As part of out literacy work, we created imovies.

Tea party