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What’s the impact of the Award so far on children’s learning?

We have been running the Award for over a year now and thought that it might be time to share some of what is actually happening as a result.

The following extracts have been taken from portfolio submissions in the last six months. We invite you to have a quick scan through the comments below and make up your own mind about whether it might be worth thinking about getting your class outside more often…..our course is all about helping you to put your doubts and fears to one side and have a go…..

Please remember, we are not advocating that you add to your workload – but to go outside instead of being inside as it might be a more effective place to be.

“The children absolutely loved being outside. They were instantly engaged with the rocks to make a shared number line and were eager to do their own number lines. They each had their own space to work in and enough resources that they didn’t need to wait for anyone to be done before they could start. They took a lot of pride in their number lines and thought carefully about how to go about the task.”

“Unexpected outcomes were that the little girl who normally finds number ordering quite tricky and so doesn’t want to do it was much more engaged today. She also was much happier jumping along the number line because it was not recorded so she could change and jump back if needed.”

“The children loved the lesson. They have asked repeatedly to do it again. The senior staff who watched the lesson spoke very highly of it and commented on the high levels or engagement and progress demonstrated by the children.”

“Pupils who can be more reluctant in art were enthused and engaged in the lesson and I believe this is due to using the outdoor environment.”

“In terms of unexpected outcomes, it was more that I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of conversations between pupils. Whilst I had anticipated that the outdoor would stimulate more conversation, I was not expecting the attention to detail that some of my pupils had gone into.”

“Pupil voice also supported that pupils were genuinely thinking like an artist: “Look at how different all these leaves are. I hadn’t noticed that before.” They really enjoyed the lesson and it led to beautiful art-work!”

“The group I was working with were pro-active in the dialogue we had about risk assessment with many offering suggestions on how to stay safe therefore I was able to engage the group and highlight concerns prior to the task.”

“This got the children talking about nature and the colours in nature which was just a wonderful piece of learning enhanced by the outdoors. Since this session children now ask to take clip boards outside with them to search colours etc which is helping to develop their social and interaction skills as well as fine motor and literacy.”

“It was just wonderful to see how one lesson outside collecting information on colour turned into a huge project for them that moves between the classroom and outside so easily.”

“The children and staff members thoroughly enjoyed the Den Building activity. It was interesting to see different individuals, who typically may find academic subjects and activities quite tricky or unappealing, participate and be instrumental in promoting good teamwork.”

“I was able to see a massive difference in the quality of discussion between actually doing something that we could then talk about ie the den building and then, after we moved back inside, the quality of the children’s discussions were reduced once they did not have the physical point of reference. For instance, one of my children with poor working memory, was able to physically show me what he believed was successful with his den but once we were back in the classroom, struggled to explain this to his peers.” 

“Children worked very well in the outdoor environment and every child participated within their group, adding to the ideas and discussions around the task.  The class stayed on track throughout the lesson and were more engaged than they usually are when working within the classroom. The lesson moved at a quicker pace than usual.”

“The most unexpected outcome was the level of participation from the children and the progress they made with their learning through the peer discussions they had whilst completing the tasks.  Children were more prepared to have a try and to work together to solve the problems rather than ask for adult support.”

“Myself and my TA were able to steer the learning in the right direction and become more involved in the discussions, developing the pupils ideas and encouraging the use of mathematical vocabulary, rather than getting caught up in supporting children who were refusing to work independently or apply themselves to the task.  Lower ability children were supported by peers and therefore no longer needed an adult sitting alongside them throughout the lesson.” 

“The support of their peers was more effective than giving lower ability pupils a different task, which they would see as less challenging therefore affecting their self esteem and their learning potential.”

More comments soon….we are marking portfolios as they come in.

Come on, be brave, it’s got to be worth it…..

TD 1 Oct 2020

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