Learning Outside the Classroom

Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) is at Pinewood’s heart. Equal importance is given to the explicit requirements of a classroom driven curriculum and the implicit benefits of a curriculum far beyond that.

Pinewood pupils become positive, responsible people, working and cooperating with others, having developed knowledge and skills through learning that extends well beyond a traditional classroom. These are not ‘one-off’ opportunities.  Pupils are regularly away from their desks.  This commitment to LOtC has been recognised by the national Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, who granted Pinewood a regional winner’s award for their outstanding provision in this area.

Pre-Prep Garden
Pre-Prep Garden
The Outdoor Classroom
The Outdoor Classroom

Learning Outside the Classroom is found in many forms at Pinewood.  Wonderful grounds provide varied opportunities for learning.  EYFS and Pre-Prep pupils enjoy ‘a classroom without walls, stimulating learning and acting as a spring board for imagination, pupils develop an excellent understanding of the world through the innovative use of different areas, including a tree and scrub covered ‘fairy circle’, a very special place where children speak and listen, share ideas, debate and learn…’ (Ofsted Report 2008).

A garden and outdoor classroom with a polytunnel and storytellers circle extend all areas of the curriculum. Teachers plan engaging and investigative lessons, providing real life opportunities for pupils to put learning into practice. Pupils share seasonal nature walks, carefully exploring the life cycle of plants. Planting links to the curriculum in many different ways, with raised beds being planted by all year groups.

Once they have taken their exams, our Year 8 scholars take part in the Pinewood Dragons’ Den, where they research, design and develop a product that will benefit Pinewood pupils.  They then present their ideas, market strategy and costings to the  Pinewood “Dragons”, including their peers and staff. Themed Curriculum ‘WOW’ days like ‘Year 3 Egyptian’ and ‘Year 4 Volcano’ reflect teachers’ innovative and imaginative ability to create LOtC experiences.

‘Pinewood Adventure’ documents a LOtC journey and is very much at the heart of our LOtC ethos. The extensive programme of Activities embraces a holistic education, providing opportunities for improvement in both cerebral and physical activities, ranging from chess to judo, from mindfulness to jewellery, and from archery to tennis.

The regular pupil trips, as well as the residential Pinewood Adventure trips in the Summer Term, means engagement with speakers and visitors is frequent.  Every year pupils meet over 25 visitors ranging from travelling theatre companies to African Street Dancers. Recent Learning Outside the Classroom trips have included: Sulgrave Manor, Oxford Natural History Museum, the Cotswold Wildlife Park, Chedworth Roman Villa, Bristol Zoo, Swindon Mosque, the River Thames, an organic farm, Weston-Super-Mare, HMS Victory, The Ridgeway, the Watermill Theatre, the Living Rainforest, Highclere Castle and Bristol Synagogue, to name but a few!

These are real life active ways of developing skills, fostering emotional and social understanding, giving real meaning to learning.  LOtC is not just in Pinewood’s heart it is at its soul!

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