Chilton School has a strong outdoor ethos. The benefits of outdoor play and interaction with nature are well known and increasingly important in a world where children spend so much free time indoors. Spending time outside promotes a general sense of wellbeing, encourages different ways of creative play and gives children a better understanding of the world around them. Teachers may report that it improves focus in the classroom too.
We are fortunate to have our own onsite Forest School area in the corner of the school grounds, the area contains a selection of mature trees, saplings, shrubs and a pond. During Forest School sessions the children get the opportunity to:
* Enjoy self-lead learning
* Engage with nature
* Learn new skills
* Play in a natural environment
* Take risks
* Work independently or as part of a team
A typical session starts lasts up to 2 hours and children explore the area and partake in activities of their choosing including bug hunting, den building, pond dipping and hide and seek. There is a break halfway through for hot chocolate and a biscuit. Normally, once a term, children get to experience a campfire in our fire pit where they are able to toast some bread or cook some popcorn to enjoy with their hot chocolate.
All nursery and reception age children attend Forest School on a regular basis; children in higher year groups attend on a termly basis. The sessions are run by Mrs Baum who is fully qualified teacher and trainee Forest School Leader.
We go out in all weathers so please ensure that your child has the appropriate clothing for the conditions, below is a list of the clothes required.
* Waterproof jacket and trousers (provided by school in reception only)
* Wellies or walking boots
* Long sleeved tops, jumpers, fleece etc.
* Jogging bottoms or leggings, no jeans please
* Thick socks - in cold weather!
* Hats, gloves, scarves etc.
* Please name all clothes!
Outdoor learning - Reception only
Once a week the Reception children have the chance to take part in outdoor learning. These sessions are usually based on class topics or the seasons and last approximately an hour. It is more structured than Forest School and normally consists of an introduction to the topic, a nature based activity and a game which everyone can play. Since September the children have explored the following topics:
Wind – the children made carrier bag kites and paper airplanes
Birds – we went bird spotting and made bird feeders to hang up
Autumn treasures – we collected conkers and used playdoh to make them into snails.
Forest School type clothing is usually required for these sessions.
We have a fantastic school garden which is lovingly looked after by two volunteers. We grow a wide variety of vegetables, fruit and flowers both in raised beds and in our greenhouse. The produce is used in the school kitchen and in tasting sessions with the children. All children get an opportunity to take part in gardening lessons and one of our volunteers also runs an after school gardening club.