A school who really believe in kinaesthetic learning is St Peter’s Junior School in Derbyshire, who became regional winners of our 2013 What’s YOUR Green Schools Revolution competition in recognition of their fantastic use of outdoor spaces. We asked their Eco Co-ordinator, Katy Doncaster, to explain how getting hands-on outdoors has helped her pupils.
"The school garden was originally founded to encourage biodiversity in the grounds," she says, "however three years on, the garden and local woods have become an outdoor classroom, providing additional teaching space with a wildlife area and a weather station. Classes are able to link their learning to the outdoors; Year 5 decided to put their History lessons into practice, using the Tudor cob building technique to make an African-style Keyhole Garden."
Katy has also used the space to engage one-to-one with children struggling with the mainstream curriculum due to dyslexia, autism, and other behavioural and learning issues: "We usually go outside as this in itself is hugely beneficial, and we do anything from basic horticulture to looking at seed dispersal and life cycles, to creating environmental art."
The school have decided to use their £1,000 prize money to buy a tipi which they’ll use as an outside classroom and community space. They also plan to introduce a pond and quiet seating area which will enhance their space.
It’s great to see Green Schools Revolution making such a positive impact, and we can’t wait to see some pictures of the St Peter’s tipi!
We have plenty of resources to help you turn your school grounds into a wildlife haven, and even an interactive whiteboard game to match wildlife to its habitats.
Have you had a focus on biodiversity this year? Tell us when you enter What’s YOUR Green Schools Revolution? and you could win a share of our £18,000 prize fund. Deadline for entries is Friday 4th April.