We're hoping to announce a date soon to celebrate the opening of our outdoor classroom. We're delighted to have the structure available for the pupils and we have already seen it as a brilliant place for children to engage with the outdoors.
Since Term 4 we have been running an outdoor mentoring scheme on a Friday. Through this we have been fortunate enough to employ an experienced teacher every Friday to work with three classes (1 before break, 1 after, 1 in the afternoon). We have found this to be great professional learning for teachers, allowing them to see how the outdoor classroom & outdoor learning can be incorporated into the curriculum. By the end of Term 6 every class in the school will have had a series of lessons in this way. We hope very much to do something similar in the new academic year so that children are guaranteed regular learning outdoors.
We also run forest schools once a week for a small group of children. Children are selected by their class teacher for Forest School and over the coming terms we hope an increasing number of children will get the opportunity to take part in this.
The Big Build
Our Outdoor classroom is growing quickly........
Outdoor Day 8th November
Thursday saw the whole school outside and busy on our Outdoor Learning Day. Raised beds were cleared and the wildflower meadow prepared for the Spring with hundreds of bulbs being planted.
Planting, growing, cooking, eating. Our harvest of courgettes and butternut squash has made a lovely soup! Enjoyed by our year 3s in the wildlife area this morning!
The sunshine and showers over the summer holidays helped our magnificent wildflower meadow to flourish! Thanks @MeadowInGarden for helping to make this possible!
Otters' Class Produce Sale
Amazing scenes at the Otters’ end of year produce sale! Thanks to everyone for their support, we have raised a massive £233 to put toward our outdoor classroom. Well done to all Otters helpers too, some quick fire maths skills put to the test!
As part of "Empty Classroom " day in May, the children helped to prepare the new wildflower meadow. During half term FOMPS finished the preparations with a rotavator. This allowed the children to begin planting the area this week. We are vary grateful to "Meadow in my Garden" for supplying us with all of the wildflower seeds and giving us lots of great advice.
Empty Classroom Day May 2018
Today the children have spent the day outside of the classrooms. They have enjoyed fire lighting, crumpet toasting and pond dipping in the wildlife area. Digging in the wildflower meadow. Planting in the raised beds and creating and making all over the school grounds.
Exciting new developments for our outdoor area. Many thanks to FOMPS for all of our new Oak seating, especially to Chris and Paul for help with the lifting!
On Thursday morning Acer Tree Surgeons delivered 5 tonnes of bark to replenish the flooring in our outdoor area. Otters' and Hedgehogs' class had great fun in the afternoon moving it.
"Yesterday we went into the wildlife area with some wood, ready to make a fire in the firepit. Mr Slee and Mrs Hugo taught us how to make some sparks. Then Mr Slee lit the fire and helped us make hot chocolate. Mrs Hugo called us up one by one to toast marshmallows to make smores, they were really yummy. We had a great time.
By Elise and Patricia - Otters' class
Autumn Outdoor Day
On Thursday 12th October the children spent the day outdoors in the Autumn sunshine. They dug, cleared, contructed, planted and created. Please have a look at some of the photos , to see what they did.
Our class raised beds are now full of fruits and vegetables.
Empty Classroom Day
On the 18th May the whole school took part in "Empty Classroom Day". The children took part in lots of actiivites including art work, boat building and planting their class raised beds.
Over the Easter hoildays we constructed 9 raised beds on the school field, one for each of the classes. On Wednesday "Hills Waste" delivered 10 tonnes of compost to fill them. The children will be able to plant fruit and vegetables and watch them grow over the summer term.
On Monday Squirrels' class spent the morning planting a selction of trees shrubs and fruit bushes kindly donated to them by The woodland Trust. The class split into 2 groups, half of the children planted in the Outdoor learning area and the other half planted around the school grounds. They did a magnificent job and have added over 100 plants to the school grounds!
Spring has spung!
As the weather has started to warm up, the residents of our pond are waking. We have a large amount of frog spawn, which we are looking forward to watching develop. Can you spot the frogs?
Otters' class have been busy planting spring and summer flowering plants, which will attracted bees, butterflies and other insects. They have also been topping up the bark in the Outdoor Classroom! The woodland Trust have donated a selction of trees and fruit bushes to Squirrels class, which they plan to plant before the Easter Holidays.
Home for the bugs
Thank you to everyone who provided material to complete the Bug Hotel. The whole school had great fun filling the structure on our Outdoor day.
Filling for the Bug Hotel
The Bug Hotel will be filled during our 'outdoor day' on Monday 7th November. We need the items below to fill the gaps, if you have any donations please bring them to the school field next to the wildlife area. Thank you
Bamboo or other hollow stemmed plants, Bricks with Holes, Slates, Pine Cones, Logs Sticks (at least 2cm in diameter), Straw & Stone
Monkton Heights - Bug Hotel!
The Bug Hotel has now been constructed and is awaiting filling with lots of bug friendly materials.
On Tuesday we took delivery of 14 tonnes of bark from Acer Tree Surgeons, Squirrels class kindly offered to help move it. The class made quick work of shifting the first 7 tonnes into the wildlife area, they then watched as Acer brought in the next load. Squirrels' class had so much fun that they came back after lunch to carry on the work. They were joined by Otters class who came along to lend a hand and Fieldmice who wanted to see what was happening! By home time the bark had been moved and the classroom area was ready for the seating and the fire pit construction, but that's another day.......
Outdoor Learning Space
The work is continuing on the classroom area....
Outdoor Learning Space Plans
We now have plans for our Outdoor Learning Space. With the help of Wiltshire Council's Tree and Woodland Officer, we hope to complete the Outdoor Classroom area ready for our first Forest Schools day in November..
The initial works have now been carried out on the school wildlife area. Trees have been cleared and Pruned, the pond has been drained, relined, refilled and replanted . The dilapidated wooden bridge has been removed and replaced with 2 viewing platforms and a bark covered walk way through the site has been created. We now need to allow the area to settle and regrow. The next stage to create an outdoor learning space will begin in the Summer.
Wessex Water Grant
We are very pleased to have been presented with a cheque for £300 from Wessex Water. Gillian Smith came to the school last Wednesday and informed the children about the work of the water company in Assembly and gave us a cheque which will be used to add additional features to our Wildlife Area. We would like to thank Wessex Water for their generous contribution to our project.
Big Lottery Fund Grant
We are very pleased to announce that our Wildlife Area Project has received a grant from the Big Lottery Fund of £7,066. With the money we aim to re-generate the Wildlife Area. Works planned include clearing and relining the pond, removal of the existing rotten pond platform and replacing it with two new pond dipping platforms and creating an outside classroom area.
A contractor has been chosen to carry out the project and they plan to start the preliminary work during the Easter holidays. Various surveys will then be carried out to identify the creatures currently living on the site, this will allow us to make a decision on the start date of the pond renovation.
We would like to thank the National Lottery for their grant without which we would not be able to complete the project.
Summer 2015 Before the works
A map of the wildlife area