Outside The Classroom
As part of the school’s commitment to providing a special curriculum, all children take part in Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) lessons for half a day a week for the whole of their time at Courtlands School.
These lessons use a variety of outdoor activities, with a focus on teaching the children skills and developing them as individuals to prepare them for the future. The learning that occurs will ultimately influence their values and the decisions they make. Our bespoke Courtlands LOtC curriculum provides continuity across the school with regular cross-curricular links so that the child have the ability to subconsciously make the transfer of learning. All Learning Outside the Classroom lessons are planned around a structure based on meeting the pupils’ needs; as defined by The UN Rights of a Child, signed 1992, Every Child Matter paper 2003 and Play England 2009.
Tell me, I’ll forget
Show me, I’ll remember
Involve me, I’ll understand.
There are four significant headings that underpin each week’s activities and focus; Working with Others; Improving Learning and Performance; Solving Problems; Planning and Thinking Skills. These are then supported by the school’s overriding termly themes of Health and Wellbeing, Living in the wider world and Relationships.
Our LOtC curriculum provides memorable learning opportunities that help us to experience and make sense of the world around us. These experiences help the children to understand their feelings and behaviour. It is also in LOtC ‘that they practise and consolidate making friends and learn to negotiate and cooperate with each other’ (Learning Outside the Classroom, School Grounds, 2008) a valuable tool for those children who find it hard to access standard learning environments.
Using our school grounds as our outdoor classroom provides a multi-sensory and multi-faceted environment ‘by exploring their grounds … they develop a sense of place, and learn to value and take ownership of their grounds’ (Council for Learning outside the Classroom, School grounds,2008). To stimulate, challenge, excite and inspire young people to engage in the world beyond the classroom. We believe in giving children responsibility in activities within LOtC increases understanding and their ability to deal with independence.
To gain the maximum advantage of learning outside the classroom the following guidelines should be followed at all times.
• All LOtC should be planned and linked to an area of the knowledge and understanding and/or the skills aspects of the National Curriculum.
• Appropriate review should occur to assess the effectiveness of the LOtC lessons.
• All LOtC sessions should be conducted in accordance with the LOtC Operating Procedures and associated Risk Assessments.
• Every effort will be made to ensure every child can access any LOtC activity. On the rare occasion where a child’s participation in a LOtC activity may be in doubt, due to inappropriate behaviour which compromises health and safety, a member of the senior leadership team and parents should be fully informed and a decision made 24 hours before the trip is to take place. Teachers should make appropriate arrangements for any child not participating.