Children in Reception participat in weekly Nature Explorers sessions. The sessions takes place on a Thursday afternoon in the nature area within the school grounds.
Nature Explores covers many areas of the National Curriculum. For example, being outdoors year-round helps children learn about weather and the seasons, which are part of the programme of study in geography, studying mini beasts and plant life relates to the science curriculum, and working on tasks like den building and woodwork links with design and technology. During the sessions, children develop many skills they learn to assess, appreciate and take risks, making sensible, informed decisions about how to tackle the activities and experiences they encounter. They learn to be self-sufficient and take care of themselves, which boosts their confidence and self-esteem. Through trial and error, they learn to deal with failure and develop the resilience to keep trying: a vital skill in the classroom as well as outside. It’s very physical so it encourages children to be active, with lots of activities to develop both fine and gross motor skills.
Children also benefit from the simple act of being outdoors. Research has shown that it improves mental and spiritual health, communication skills and social relationships, among other things.
Examples of acitivies include in the program:
Mini beast hunts
Games like Hide and Seek
Fire building and lighting
Although children are encouraged to assess risk for themselves, this is always with close adult guidance. Before an activity, we’ll sit in a circle and talk about how the children think they can stay safe. We do a lot of safety talks before they use any tools, and supervision is tight, with adults supporting each child and tailoring the activity to their own ability.
Children make the most of this wonderful opportunity to learn outdoors and apply their new learning within the classroom.