Huddersfield Social Enterprise urges schools to Teach It Outside!

Grow to School work with lots of local schools

Grow to School is a social enterprise based in Huddersfield, set up by environmental scientist Ama Chaney and experienced outdoor learning practitioner, Zana Wood, who work with education providers to support them to teach primary school children outside.

There are many benefits to learning outdoors; evidence shows that learning outside with access to nature is good for physical and mental health; being outside offers opportunities to stimulate children’s imagination and helps them retain learning*.

Grow to School has now launched a new resource for teachers specifically to engage young children in the curriculum through outdoor learning. Teach it Outside is a bank of lesson plans that covers subjects including English, Maths, Geography, History, Art, Science, Design and Technology and PE.

The lesson plans are resource-light and cover curriculum subjects in a creative way for children to learn outdoors – working in playgrounds using natural materials and everyday items.

Ama Chaney, Managing Director and Outdoor Practitioner at Grow To School, says: “Children really benefit from learning outdoors and now more than ever we are seeing multiple benefits to being outside. With assistance, even a tarmac playground can be a creative space to deliver meaningful lessons.

“Teach It Outside is there to help teachers deliver the curriculum outside. The lesson plans work across all primary key stages, with the whole class or small groups. These are tried and tested by teachers in schools, and we have resources to help you use your outdoor space for learning.

“We also provide resources to help you understand how to set clear boundaries with children who often get giddy when working outside. We aim to make the process as smooth as possible so that teachers and children can enjoy the lessons and benefit from the positive impacts of learning outdoors.”

Evidence from Grow to School’s work over the past ten years shows that outdoor learning improves pupils’ attainment and behaviour, builds confidence and increases wellbeing for both pupils and staff.

Grow to School has worked with nearly 24,000 children since 2010 and 89 per cent of the children asked said that they enjoyed getting their hands dirty and being outdoors. While 90 per cent of teachers asked said that they saw their class take on new challenges.

Reception teacher at St Thomas CE Primary School in Huddersfield, Lucy Stoker, said: “Children’s attainment has increased in those who were less focused inside. They are taking part in activities outside that are helping to develop their classroom understanding in greater depth.”

Grow to School is encouraging teachers to try out the resource and if they like it there are subscriptions available that can be paid for using the PE premium. The Association for Physical Education (afPE) supports the use of PE premium to fund subjects that encourage children to be active.

The free sample pack is available online. It has a selection of example lesson plans that are just like the others on the website library. These lessons are simple but effective ways of teaching outdoors and re-engaging children with their learning. They neatly fit into a standard lesson length.

Additionally, during the pandemic, Grow To School released some free well-being packs. These have outdoor learning activities that were created with pandemic rules in mind, including socially distanced games with a focus on relationship building. These also give you a great taste of the kind of activities that Grow to School do with children and give you some activities to do during the school holidays with your own kids.

The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom supports Grow to School in its activity and has awarded the Quality Badge to them. The award shows that badge holders have passed a robust assessment process and they meet schools’ learning and risk management needs, including infection control

To find out more about Teach It Outside visit https://teachitoutside.com
To download the free sample pack visit
https://teachitoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Sample-lesson-plan.pdf
And to download the free well-being packs visit: https://www.growtoschool.co.uk/backtoschool


*Sources:
https://www.englishoutdoorcouncil.org/research.in.outdoor.learning.html#Review

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