Taking learning outside
We are fortunate to be in such a fantastic environment for outdoor learning. Not only do we have fantastic on-site facilities but we also have immediate access to local amenities such as Chorlton Water Park, a nature reserve and Barlow Wood which has a Forest School. We have an outdoor area in the very centre of the school, our quad, where teachers take learning outside. The quad can be accessed easily and safely from classrooms.
We also have a forest area adjacent to the playground where we run ‘Wild Crew', a programme to encourage collaborative learning outdoors.
Our Early Years has an outdoor learning area that is set up to ensure that children have learning experiences on a larger scale. For example: mark making might be twirling large ribbons, chalking on the floor, painting with brushes and rollers. Outdoor learning also supports different learning styles. Our Mud Kitchen has a surprisingly calming effect on children and is a contented hive of harmonious and cooperative activity. We have recently developed an outdoor maths area which is set up with continuous provision but can also be used for planned maths activities. We operate a free flow system to enable the children to make the most of outdoor learning.
Children from KS1 upwards enjoy taking part in Forest School lessons as each class works with the Manchester Forest School for 6 weeks and thoroughly enjoy all the opportunities and activities this provides. KS2 children also have the opportunity to enjoy a further 3 week slot of Forest Crew activities as part of their Extra Learning Activities on Tuesday afternoons, this time with support and supervision provided by trained school staff.
Forest school teachers working within Barlow Hall have been very impressed with our children, saying that Barlow Hall school is "exceptional", with children who are all supportive and caring with each other and they look after each other. They further commented on what a lovely nurturing environment it is here at Barlow Hall and said any member of staff they have spoken with such as teachers and lunch time organisers know the children really well and are helpful in dealing with children.