Sunday, 23 March 2014

School Outdoor Learning: Spring.

Planting alpine plug plants. 

Upcycled pallet and plastic bottle planter and planting in the wall.

Wall planted with alpine plug plants. 

Using pegs to represent bird's beaks. 

Nest building. 
Became land art. 

Making the most of the school grounds. 
I have been volunteering every fortnight for a couple of hours to help Primary Five with outdoor learning at my son's school. Sarah from Woodlands Community Garden is funded by a grant to plan and deliver the activities. The children have created a recycled plastic bottle and pallet planter which they painted a couple of weeks ago. This week they planted some cuttings in it. It stands against a wall that is used for access to one of the playgrounds. The wall being made of rocks held in place with mesh is a perfect spot for planting some alpine plug plants which the children really enjoyed doing. In fact they have been so enthusiastic about all the activities. As well as planting and learning about plants the children made nests. They used wooden clothes pegs to pick up twigs and other materials. The pegs were a clever way of demonstrating how the birds use their beaks. It was lovely to see the children carefully arranging the things they found to create visually pleasing designs. They looked guilty as though they were cheating when they started to use their hands to collect more items such as stones, which were to represent eggs. The collection of different textures and colours of natural materials and the design of the nest became more important to them. So without instruction the children had turned a nest building activity into a land art activity. There are more ideas for making land art with kids by Richard Shilling and Julia Brooklyn here. Outdoor learning provides an opportunity for children to work spontaneously, break the rules and discover new, pleasing results on their own as well as being good for physical and mental health.