Bonneville Primary School Outdoor learning
A Natural Thinkers School committed to provide children with the space, the attitude and the opportunities to learn in a natural environment. Our vision for the future is to implement learning opportunities that together with the learning taking place inside the classroom, will allow children to have an opportunity to transfer their skills, both outdoors and indoors.
The philosophy of Forest School is to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through positive outdoor experiences.
By participating in engaging, motivating and achievable tasks and activities, in a woodland environment each participant has an opportunity to develop intrinsic motivation, sound emotional and social skills.
We deliver Forest School sessions to the whole school community and through those sessions, we can raise children self-esteem, well-being, sense of achievement.
Forest school is an inspirational process, which offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.
The outdoor environment offers space and therefore is particularly important to those children who learn best through active movement. Very young children learn predominately through their sensory and physical experiences which supports brain development and the creation of neural networks.
- Learning outside the classroom supports the development of healthy and active lifestyles by offering children opportunities for physical activity, freedom and movement, and promoting a sense of well-being.
- Learning outside the classroom gives children contact with the natural world and offers them experiences that are unique to outdoors, such as direct contact with the weather and the seasons.
- Playing and learning outside also helps children to understand and respect nature, the environment and the interdependence of humans, animals, plants, and lifecycles.
- Outdoor play also supports children’s problem-solving skills and nurtures their creativity, as well as providing rich opportunities for their developing imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness.
- Children need an outdoor environment that can provide them with space, both upwards and outwards, and places to explore, experiment, discover, be active and healthy, and to develop their physical capabilities.
Links with the community
At Bonneville, we strive to provide our children with links to our community. We believe that our pupils need to gain skills that will prepare them to be a citizen of the world both in the school grounds and in the wider community.
We work with a local college that provides education for adults with additional needs and organize termly visits to our school where our pupils get to use their skills to lead sessions where they will be the expert. Both groups benefit from such interaction and both can learn from each other.
You can follow our progress on our blog:
Eco School program
Through our Eco schools program, our pupils can contribute to charity daily. Our pupils are elected by their peers every year to become an Eco Warrior. Once elected, the role is taken very serious by both pupils and staff. Together, staff and pupils meet to discuss the school needs and how those needs can be met.
As an Eco School we:
- Recycle all our pens to raise money for charity.
- We provide a battery recycling station for the all school
- We collect textiles for recycling twice a year to raise money for our Eco projects
- We enrolled on a program called ‘Bike it’ to encourage even more pupils and adults to cycle to school
- We re-use most materials in our forest school sessions
- We make our very own compost by using all the fruit and vegetable left overs
- We grow many vegetables and fruit
Bonneville Eco Warriors achievements
At Bonneville, we want to provide our pupils with information that will help them make informed decisions. One way we feel the pupils can achieve such information is by leaving our school and visit a recycling centre. We have strong links with Western Riverside Recycling centre in Wandsworth and every year our Eco warrior and Eco mentors are invited to visit the centre and see first-hand how our rubbish is processed.
Our Eco Warrior are so passionate that when the opportunity arisen to enter a competition to create a video to teach others how to recycle, we got creative… well very creative!
We won the competition and now our video is used in the Recycling centre to show others how well we care about our environment. the video can be accessed here:
For more information check out the Western Riverside website:
We also benefit from regular visits from the centre in our school and we use workshops and assemblies to promote the 3 R’s.
You can follow our Eco Warriors on our blog:
Our Eco code is displayed around the school and was written by our Eco Warriors.
Eco code (Rap)
Save the world, don’t be cruel, save the world is our eco rule,
Recycle your rubbish your books will be published,
We are Bonneville primary school and we know it’s cool, we don’t have the flag but we’ve got the bronze, we are rocking recyclers,
So let’s get on the course,
Don’t be bitter, pick up your litter,
Don’t take the car, you can walk that far,
Don’t knock down trees, we need to breathe,
Don’t be a fool, cycle to school,
Don’t be strange make a change,
Don’t be loud, carry it about,
Until you find a bin,
To put it in
Edible Garden Est.2015
By working together with the parents/carers and children we, were able to transform a forgotten space behind our school and create a growing space that we called: The Edible Garden. This project was a success and was the beginning of a new way of thinking for the whole school community. Our edible garden is run by the children and parents/carers.
Our edible garden provides a growing area big enough for every year group to have their own planting bed. We are also crating new ways of growing using the walls and re-using different materials to teach children that what they might perceive as rubbish can still be used for something new.
In October 2015 we were invited to sell our produce at the City Hall. Our stall was very successful and the money we raised was used for developing our growing area and build our very own greenhouse out of bottles! Through the Food growing for schools program, our Edible Garden project was used as a case study to be an example to other settings.
This is an extract of our involvement with the above program:
Case Study: A school making rapid progress in one year Until June 2014 Bonneville Primary School, Lambeth had no dedicated gardening space, and did only a small amount of food growing activity with KS1 and 2. Food Growing Schools London working alongside other organisations has supported the school. Firstly, when an area behind the school was cleared a keen staff member asked if it could be used for an edible garden. The new school head was supportive and recognised that it could support her priority of broadening the schools approach to learning including more hands-on and outdoor pupil activities. With help of parent volunteers the space was made into a garden with a raised bed for each class group. This did not require any school funding thanks to use of recycled materials and support from parents. The garden is now used for Forest Schools with all classes due to have a session there this academic year. The aim is for the garden to be an asset for the whole school. It is maintained by the Garden Club and the Eco Warrior group in their lunchtimes and after school clubs. Some teachers are now involved and link gardening to the curriculum, but the initiating staff member remains key to progress, and uses her own time to support gardening. She hopes that the support of the senior management team, and the fact that the garden is now established will encourage teachers to be involved and make it easier for them to plan ahead. Parent volunteers have been essential to building the garden, and continue to 35 support it through helping at weekend sessions. That pupils enjoy using the garden is demonstrated by their willingness to give up lunchtimes to work there, and the popularity of gardening as an after school activity. Pupils have learnt skills for growing food, where food comes from, what different foods look like, teamwork, and have experience of interaction with nature. The key staff member attended all sessions of the intensive training programme offered by FGSL in Lambeth, and hosted one at the school (see case study). She found this extremely useful, particularly the opportunity to visit different settings and see what they have done, how they did it and to see how it could be adapted to her own school. She has remained in contact with the FGSL officer for continued support and advice. As a result of the course she also attended the Market Day, and has used a range of resources from the website. She is very enthusiastic about the FGSL website as it saves her time by collating resources and making it easy to find them. The training gave her knowledge and ideas to share with the school management team, showing what is possible and what they could do which helped gain their support and enabled the development of a plan. Having the training behind her meant she was able to have solutions in mind when people at school raised issues, so she could make a stronger case for gardening to the school management team. She also appreciates knowing FGSL “are there in the background” after the training, so as the growing progresses she can turn to them as issues come up. The school is due an Ofsted inspection so recent changes to criteria around food and wellbeing help endorse the value of having an active growing space, particularly as pupils use the produce for cooking sessions. Overall, the contact at Bonneville is clear that without support from FGSL food growing at the school would not be as advanced as it is now. She feels that without FGSL the school would have its growing space but not the ideas for what to do there. It would take her longer to find resources and ideas, and there would be no back up when problems emerge. This would have made progress “harder and slower”, meaning that after one year they would not have gone from “scratch” to the point they are now. In future, she would like people who attended the training to stay in touch through an email group so they can follow each other’s progress. She also suggested that FGSL should not forget them or assume that having done the training participants know what they are doing. The school still faces challenges around food growing, namely lack of space, getting teachers on board and giving them confidence to be involved, and pressures on time. This example is one of many schools where activity is initiated by an enthusiastic individual with personal interest in food growing. It also demonstrates that to advance beyond ad hoc extra-curricular activity it is important to engage teachers and be backed by the senior management team. It shows the value placed on support from the FGSL team, and how direct contact with them through a workshop can provide a springboard for continuing engagement with the programme. This school demonstrates how a school relatively new to food growing can be enabled to progress quickly through a package of support from FGSL. 36 Figure 9. Bonneville Primary School at the FGSL & Capital Growth Schools Marketplace Event Photo credit: Jane Baker, FGSL Summary These examples demonstrate that FGSL has been successful in supporting schools with
You can follow our progress by checking our blog:
Check out our video celebrating 1 year of the Edible garden: