Outdoor Classroom Stories: All Saints’ College, WA

18th October 2018

All Saints College is a PK-12 independent Anglican co-educational school, located in Bull Creek, a suburb of Perth, Western Australia.

Outdoor play and learning is part of everyday learning at All Saints’.  Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten classes have an indoor/outdoor flow where the learning is valued equally indoors and outdoors in the lovely garden. The students in Pre-Primary and Year 1 take part in weekly Bush School, where they spend an afternoon outdoors in the school’s natural bush classroom, as well as time spent outdoors every day in the school playgrounds.  Year 2 children also participate in Bush school opportunities which entails going beyond the school to explore local environment. They also have a school vegetable garden which is managed by the junior school classes.

Kindergarten teacher Sarah Alfano believes Outdoor Classroom Day is a day to celebrate all the ways children can and should learn outdoors. “Outdoor learning is just as valuable, if not more, as indoor learning and there is nothing you learn indoors which can’t be learnt outdoors or enhanced in nature. In a time when we are becoming more and more disconnected from nature and children are spending more time indoors  it is a timely reminder to get outside”, Sarah said

Many of the classes in the Early Childhood Centre (Pre-K to Year 2) took part in Outdoor Classroom Day 2017, as they were excited to see the value of what they believe is an important part of our learning being celebrated.

Lessons Taken Outdoors

  • Mat time outdoors and story time
  • Messy play – clay play and painting
  • Working with tools – whittling, creating confetti from leaves
  • Long table lunch
  • Rest time – under the trees and big parachute
  • Active play
  • Mud kitchen cooking
  • Singing and dancing – role play stage area
  • Construction and craft
  • Cubby building

 

Benefits of Outdoor Learning

Learning:

Children are more engaged and motivated when they are naturally interested in something and the learning comes from them. A play-based approach with plenty of time to move, explore and discover together outdoors leads to many wonderful opportunities. The Educators can then be co-researchers with the children and respond to their discoveries and extend the children’s understandings. (eg increased attentiveness, more engaged in discussions etc)

Behaviour/personality:

Outdoor learning provides so many opportunities to be physically active, creative, curious, social, quiet or boisterous. It caters to all the different learning needs of the children and provides many spontaneous learning opportunities in which the children feel motivated and engaged. (eg more outgoing, less shy)

Participation in teamwork:

Often outdoors the children will have a big idea like wanting to build a car wash and suddenly it grows into a group project designing and gathering materials and loose parts, talking over the plans, trying different techniques to produce it and negotiating roles and turn taking. Often a problem will occur and the children will come up with ideas to solve it together. (eg increased problem-solving skills etc)

Sarah said, “We feel very lucky to have an indoor/outdoor flow in Kindy and an emergent style curriculum in which we develop our learning from the children’s interests and inquiring minds. We’re also very lucky to have staff who value Nature Play and have done professional development to enhance their skills and knowledge.”

All Saints’ College plans to celebrate Outdoor Classroom Day in 2018 with more outdoor play and learning!

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Thanks for joining the movement we can’t wait to see what you get up to on the day! Please share this with your colleagues and friends to help us make it possible for every child to get outdoors to learn and play every day 🙂 Check out the resources tabs for ideas for the day – and to make learning and play part of every day!

Wohoo! Top marks for signing up!

Thanks for joining the movement, we can’t wait to see what you get up to on the day! Please share this with your colleagues and friends to help us make it possible for every child to get outdoors to learn and play every day 🙂

Thank you for supporting Outdoor Classroom Day!

We’ll send you a newsletter shortly, but in the meantime why not print out this poster and take it to a teacher you know…?

Time to play is critical for every child – share your moments with us by tagging #OutdoorClassroomDay and make every day a day to learn and play outdoors!