Last Friday, our Prep Department took part in our first ever “Woodland Adventures” Outdoor Learning day! We pride ourselves on our wide, open spaces, and our pupils’ freedom to get mucky, climb trees and explore the outdoors to their hearts’ content! Our Woodland Adventures programme will allow us to provide further opportunities for our pupils to experience independent, eco-friendly learning outside the confines of a classroom.

We wanted to involve all of our prep school in outdoor activities, so selected projects and challenges suitable for Nursery ages through to Year 6.

One of our tasks was to bake our own “damper” bread, which is made from a coarse, chewy dough.

The children measured out flour, baking powder and water and added a pinch of salt and sugar. We found that the best way to combine the mixture was by getting our hands stuck in and sticky!

We carefully kneaded the dough into balls, before rolling these out into long, sausage shapes and wrapping them around the end of a long stick.

Our groundsman and minibus driver were kind enough to set up a fire pit in the middle of the woods, with a safety rope circling it.

We carefully cooked our damper bread on the fire, gently spinning the long stick and holding the dough over the flames to ensure it cooked evenly.

When the bread was ready, we let it cool a little before spreading them with butter and jam. Delicious!

Another of our outdoor activities involved building our own dens among the trees in our wooded area.

We secured tarpaulin to branches using rope – tying careful knots to ensure our dens didn’t collapse.

We also occasionally propped up our dens with longer, thick sticks to help reinforce the structure.

Once the outside of the dens were built, we gathered blankets, throws and pillows to create a cosy floor space we could nestle in.

We then collected our teddies, and hid out in our hand-built dens. They were so dry and cosy that some of us even had a little nap!

We also took part in smaller-scale projects throughout the day. Upper prep constructed miniature dens from sticks and paper, in which to hide our soft toys.

Lower prep also built little “monkey houses” at the base of trees using twigs, and left berries out for the monkeys to eat!

In the afternoon, our lower prep classes got their wellies on and went for a ramble through the woods and around our fields. We finished by enjoying a hot chocolate around the fire to get warm again.

Upper prep had another task to tackle – orienteering! Mrs Woods and Ms Wright had hidden a number of orienteering punches around the grounds. Our pupils were given a map and scorecard, and had to figure out where each of the punches were.

Each punch stamped a different pattern on our scorecards, so we could prove we’d used our maps properly and found each in turn. Congrats to Eve and Essie for being the first to find every one!

Our first Woodland Adventures Outdoor Learning Day was a huge success, and we’re so thankful to all the parents, staff and pupils who worked so hard to bring it together. We were also so impressed by the children’s teamwork, skill and willingness to explore all throughout the day! We’re now planning our second Outdoor Learning Day, which we’re certain will be even more brilliant than our first. Watch this space for more info!