By Christine Infante

‘To see the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand outdoors.’  Aristotle

On the Reserve

This work was sent by Hormead CE (VA) First & Nursery School Buntingford to one of our RSPB reserves following a visit and pond dipping session.   During the taught session they had used magnifying equipment to find out where minibeasts like to live and had thought about what makes each one of them special.

Back in School

The children returned to school enthused and excited and wanted to write letters to express their feelings about the trip and the animals they found.  This presented an opportunity for them to lead their own learning, choosing the creatures they found the most stimulating and sharing their views and observations with each other verbally and in some cases, in writing.

Taking the children further afield provides some great opportunities to observe the world around us and provide experiences of the wider world outside their local community green spaces.  By exploring the world outside their classroom or school, we broaden their scope for discovery and exploration and for the children to take the lead of their own learning.  The perfect opportunity for in the moment planning which reflects the children’s wider observations and makes links with asking questions. 

It is important for young children to embrace and engage with nature first hand.  For example, letting children collect their own pine cones for a sensory table and walking amongst the wild flowers that you are asking them to paint in spring.  First hand experience engages their sense of awe and wonder which inspires their language and learning as well as their emotional bond for the natural world.

A trip to an environment outside the classroom could be followed up with an examination of the world around us in our immediate space such as gardens and playgrounds.  Opportunities to continue the learning could be developed around claiming, or planting a tree in your local area and observing it’s seasonal changes.  Include this tree in creative activities, communication, language, story telling and maths.  Using your senses to experience the sights, sounds, scents and textures of nature is a super chance to build and broaden language.

Building Resilience

We should also not limit the great outdoors to a fair weather activity but it should be an ‘always’ activity, provided the extra layers, coats, hats, boots and waterproofs are in place to support well-being.  Educators are role models to the young children in our care and we need to remain enthusiastic about spending time in all weathers.  As Aristotle said, ‘To see the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand outdoors.’ 

To book your school visit to one of our reserves follow the link;