Outdoor Learning at MJS

 

Children pond dipping in our orchard area.

At MJS we have extensive outside space, which we use to promote the school’s values and provide deep learning experiences that enhance our knowledge-rich curriculum.

Over the last five years, we have developed our own wildlife area out of a large corner of our school field. This now has seating areas, firepits and a wildflower meadow. We also have a pond and orchard, which is home to aquatic life and many birds, including our own chickens, who are looked after by some of our more vulnerable children.

Volunteers from the local community have helped us build a new sensory garden, for use by the children, including our Launchpad pupils.

We believe that regular opportunities to study plants and animals promote responsibility for looking after the natural environment. Through building shelters with their peers, respect and tolerance for each other and communication skills are enhanced. Pond dipping and bug hunts increase our pupils’ curiosity about the world around them. Growing and tending plants promotes a positive understanding of growth and being outside in different times of year and different weather promotes resilience.

Beyond this, an experience-rich curriculum is key to our vision about how children learn. An example. Our children learn how to make a fire with fire steels, their experiences and memories will help them to better understand the fire triangle when they learn about it in the classroom or our science lab. But they are also developing their ability to judge risks around them, in a safe and supervised environment. Furthermore, they also develop their enjoyment of being outside and active.

We believe that every child has the right to enjoy of spending time and learning outdoors. Every year group provides at least one day per term of outdoor learning opportunities. Our commitment to outdoor learning at MJS provides opportunities to those who may otherwise not experience outdoor activities and adventures, ensuring all our pupils receive the mental and physical benefits of an active lifestyle.

       

Children and parents at a recent Open Evening.

Our wildlife area, at the bottom of the North Field.

 

Learning for Sustainability

We save water and energy by turning off taps, switching off lights and computers and by keeping doors and windows closed in the winter.

We always put our litter in the bins.

When we travel to school we walk, cycle or car share whenever we can.

We care for our plants and trees.

We reuse, repair and recycle whenever we can.

 

Green Energy

Our wind turbine and photo-voltaic panels have been generating for years now (since September 2008). We hope that they will result in much reduced electricity bills for the school as well as producing some income through the sale of unused electricity back to the national grid (during evenings, weekends and holidays).

The cost of the wind turbine was entirely funded by grants from EDF Energy and the Government’s ‘Low Carbon Buildings Programme’, while the cost of the photo voltaic solar panels was met through a combination of the school’s capital grant, LCBP funding and a donation of £2000 from Thales.

As well as the obvious financial benefits we are hoping that the two systems combined will save the emission of about 7000kg of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.

The children can see the amount of electricity being generated and the amount of CO2 saved from a ‘real-time’ electronic display mounted in the school’s assembly hall. Each system is capable of generating 6kW.