Slaley First School is located in a very special rural setting. This rural environment provides an excellent resource to share with our children. It allows us to provide an alternative learning environment, as well as instilling in them an appreciation of the incredible place they call home. Learning outdoors enables children to engage with and explore the world, stimulating their curiosity. We believe this approach can be particularly helpful for children who may, for different reasons, struggle to engage in a traditional setting.
At Slaley First School we encourage ‘Learning Outside the Classroom’ with the aim of promoting positive outdoor experiences for the children. Our ethos is to help the children build their self-confidence and teamwork skills through offering new challenges for our pupils to meet. We use the opportunities that being outdoors offers to encourage decision making, managed risk taking and forward thinking. Most of all we try to make the children’s learning fun and active!
We use the natural environment to set group tasks which demand communication and co-ordination. The activities build upon the objectives in the National Curriculum and support the EYFS framework to ensure learning is done through child initiated activities, direct experience and observation.
We offer chances for the children to use hammers and saws to assist their construction work- all carefully and safely managed! We offer children the choice to build dens, create art work using natural materials from the environment, learn how to use fire safely and engage in mud and water play. And, of course, enjoy lots of free play!
Slaley First School also has an excellent outdoor space in our local forest (thanks to Slaley Hall) for our children to explore. Our outdoor learning can range from developing understanding of the natural world, art activities, understanding safe, use of tools, numeracy activities, drama, literacy and more.
This provision is engaging all the children with the outdoor environment.
Wider Environmental studies
We are concerned with ever-widening the children's experience. Our study of the environment includes developing knowledge of the local environment. Much of the work arises out of the child's direct experiences and visits are made to local sites as an integral part of our scheme.
The school grounds provide an ideal environment for exploration as part of habitat studies.. Also at the local church, St Mary’s, a wildflower area allows pupils to be actively involved with different projects as pert of the continuing development. As a school we are frequently involved in special projects and these range from community based themes to those through organisations like the AONB North Pennines.