At Whyteleafe, we have a wonderful outdoor space that provides numerous opportunities for our children to learn and explore outside the classroom environment. Forest School is an inspirational process that offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop their confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees. Forest School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and complements the wider context of outdoor and woodland education.
Forest School happens weekly throughout the year. All children in Reception and Year one children attend Forest School for one block of sessions each year to develop their resilience, risk taking abilities and oracy. There are many bespoke opportunities for children in all year groups to attend and progress their skills and experiences.
Through our outdoor learning curriculum, we grow many different vegetables which are used at The Whytelicious Cafe for school dinners. Growing their own food gives our children, across the year groups, a great opportunity to see where our food comes from and the whole process from planting seeds to harvesting food.
In our grounds, we have 4 chickens that are cared for by the children at our school. Clover, Marigold, Iris and Bluebell provide a unique opportunity for the children to take responsibility and care for our pets, enhancing their understanding of the commitment needed to keep animals. Children are responsible for collecting eggs, cleaning the run and changing the bedding to support their understanding of the importance of good pet care.
At Whyteleafe, we are lucky enough to have our very own outdoor classroom which provides the opportunity for the whole class to extend their learning opportunities in an outside environment. This area is used to motivate and inspire children’s learning and also creates a space for experiences that can’t take place in the classroom.
Alongside out outdoor learning curriculum, we provide our children with numerous opportunities to extend their in-class learning in an outside environment through a range of trips, residentials and adventurous activities.
At Whyteleafe, we also have a bee sanctuary (a walled courtyard within the school grounds) which houses our bee hives. Beekeeping is a fascinating activity for all age groups and provides numerous learning opportunities in a variety of subjects. Our beehive is cared for by the children, including a weekly bee club for upper Key Stage 2 and outdoor learning groups for lower Key Stage 2. The children who attend be club harvest the honey and make products to sell to finance the hives.
Our children who attend bee club, also have the opportunity to go on the take the British Beekeepers Association Junior Beekeeping Certificate, which is a nationally recognised formal qualification. The assessment for the certificate is rigorous, covering all aspects of beekeeping and is lead by an external examiner.
By the end of Year 6, all children will have had at least two opportunities to attend Forest School over their time in the school, giving ample opportunities to experience different seasons and activities. Children will have had the opportunity to taste food that has been grown by children on site and experience how our useful bees are as pollinators.