Why should we be interested in school grounds?
The Foundation Stage
"The best classroom and the richest cupboard is roofed only by the sky." Margaret McMillan.
The statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation stage: Setting the Standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five (DCSF 2008) states the following in relation to the outdoor environment:
"Wherever possible, there should be access to an outdoor play area and this is the expected norm for providers."
"The indoor and outdoor environments (should be linked) so that children can move freely between then."
"A rich and varied environment supports children's learning and development. It gives then the confidence to explore and learn in secure and safe, yet challenging, indoor and outdoor spaces."
"Children must have opportunities to play indoors and outdoors. All early years providers must have access to an outdoor play area which can benefit the children. If a setting does not have direct access to an outdoor play area then they must make arrangements for daily opportunities for outdoor play in an appropriate nearby location."
"Ensure that children have opportunities to be outside on a daily basis all year round."
"Being outdoors has a positive impact on children's sense of well-being and helps all aspects of children's development."
"Creating a Place to learn - Learning outdoors" (curriculum guidance) Hampshire County Council Early Education and Childcare Unit.
"Learning happens everywhere - even outside" (planning an outdoor area and resources) Hampshire County Council Early Education and Childcare Unit.
Hampshire County Council's Trailblazer scheme works in collaboration with the Early Years advisors for its Foundation Stage project.
Key Stages 1 & 2
"New approaches to the curriculum are designed to enable schools to raise standards and help all learners meet the challenges of life in our fast-changing world. We need to find ways of bringing learning to life for all young people. Learning outside the classroom can achieve this".
Embedding learning outside the classroom into the curriculum will ensure that it is systematically developed, in a manner most suited for your school. The curriculum can encompass a variety of opportunities from science and mathematical investigation to artistic and creative skills with personal and development activites linked in. For the best effect planning your curriculum will involve staff ; young people, parents and governors.
A range of options from class visits to residentials, play and investigation, onsite exploration and local trips can all enrich your curriculum and create active learning experiences for all students. Finding opportunities to do this with all learners, every week and all year round, is the challenge of a new approach to the curriculum.
For more information about specific areas of the curriculum see the Using your Grounds section of this website.
The Learning Outside the Classroom website includes details of how to plan getting out and about into your curriculum.
Key Stage 3
The new Key Stage 3 curriculum gives schools greater flexibility to tailor learning to their students’ needs by reducing the amount of prescribed subject content. The curriculum has been set out to emphasise links between subjects. Several subjects share key concepts and processes while dimensions such as enterprise,creativity, cultural understanding and diversity can be used to cut across the curriculum.
This new approach means that, as well as providing fieldwork and outdoor learning opportunities for individual subjects, the school grounds can be the focus for cross-curriculum projects. Planning improvements to the school grounds is also a great opportunity for developing experience in good citizenship, as well as key skills such as communication and problem solving.
There is more information about the Key Stage 3 curriculum on the Department for Children, Schools and Families website.
The Diploma is a qualification for students aged 14-19 and is set to become one of three main education choices alongside GCSEs/A Levels and apprenticeships. It combines theory and practice to equip students with the skills, knowledge and experience they need for success at college, university and work.
By 2013 there will be a range of 17 Diplomas to choose from. Of particular relevance for school grounds are the Construction and the Built Environment Diploma launched in 2008 and the Environmental and Land-based Studies Diploma starting in September 2009. Both of these can be partly delivered through practical projects in the school grounds – not only bringing education to life for the students involved, but enhancing the school campus for all its users.
Find out more about Diplomas
Hampshire's 14-19 curriculum website
Hampshire County Council are not responsible for the content of any external websites.