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Learning in the Great Outdoors

Updated: Feb 1, 2022

Friends of Halstow gave £2,300 to Halstow Primary School for outdoor learning. Click on this post for more details from Ruth Cracknell.

Ruth Cracknell, a director at The Bridge and a trustee at Westcombe Woodlands, and Reception teacher Ms. Jones, have planned a series of outdoor learning opportunities for Reception children during the 2021/2022 academic year. Think planting vegetables and flower bulbs, minibeast hunts, den making, and creative activities using natural materials!

These include 24 one-hour outdoor sessions with a gardening and literary focus (for Reception children in groups of 15) as well as 16 one-hour nature explorer sessions modelled on Forest School (for Reception children in groups of 15). Both will be held at The Bridge in the Pleasaunce where there is a fantastic natural space including a Forest School site, raised beds for planting and a sensory garden area. There will also be 2 whole-class trips to Westcombe Woodlands.

All sessions are led by Ruth Cracknell who says, "Compared to being indoors, time spent in a natural setting reduces stress levels and can help improve emotional regulation, mental health and physical wellbeing. Children have opportunities to learn to care for and value the natural world. They develop skills, solve problems, explore and investigate."

Ruth has been collaborating closely with Halstow Primary School for years, running planting and gardening activities with the children as well as leading Forest School. As a community outdoor educator, she is passionate about urban environmental education and providing hands-on opportunities for children to learn in a natural setting. She is Forest School trained and has completed a Royal Horticultural Society course - School Gardening for Children with SEND.

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