developing outdoor science learning in tower hamlets
The ambition of this project was for children in the eight schools involved to spend more time learning outside of the classroom. This was in the school grounds and also in the woodlands of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. Teachers’ confidence and motivation was improved through CPD at the Soanes Centre within the park, introducing teachers to the Cemetery. The project was successful at increasing the opportunities for children to learn outside the classroom. Resources were purchased and developed to support schools to make visits to the cemetery park.
AIMS & OBJECTIVES
For the schools:
- To improve science subject knowledge among teaching staff
- To develop planning and teaching that maximises the opportunities for quality science learning outside and revise schemes of work
- To share resources and expertise with others in the borough
- To use the park as an additional outdoor learning resource
- To start working towards a Primary Science Quality Mark
- To complete an independent study project
For the children:
- To spend a higher percentage of science lessons outdoors
- To overcome barriers to learning outside
- To appreciate the natural world around them
For the Soanes Centre to:
- To provide adequate resources for teachers to use the park independently of workshop leaders
Project Lead: Naomi Hiscock, Primary Science Education Consultancy
Subject leaders from eight schools met at the Soanes Centre within the Tower Hamlet Cemetery for three whole-day training sessions. This time provided the subject leaders with the opportunity to become familiar with the park and to gain skills for successful outdoor learning. Following these sessions they then ran training for their own staff at the Soanes Centre with the support of the workshop leader to encourage other staff to also carry out more outdoor learning. To support other teachers to do this three teachers from each school were also able to bring their own class for a workshop at the Soanes Centre.
During the year, resources such as trails and prompt questions were developed to support teachers to plan successful independent visits to the park. Physical resources such as identification keys and larger resources to support children to carry out surveys such as pond dipping nets are also now available for schools to borrow. Each school also identified their own school based project for the year.
- The knowledge and confidence for teachers to deliver lessons involving activities such as pond dipping has been greatly increased
- Schools have built opportunities for outdoor learning into their planning Through the Tower Hamlets subject leaders meetings and training days, resources and expertise have been shared with other schools in Tower Hamlets and in Hackney and Newham
- All schools made greater use of the park as an additional outdoor learning resource both through workshops and independent visits
- Most of the schools registered and received initial training for the PSQM Schools identified and worked on their own projects such as growing vegetables, making better use of their existing facilities (ponds and a meadow area), developing new outdoor learning environments (bog garden) and planning and delivering outdoor science days/weeks
- Some progress made with overcoming barriers to learning outside but issues were found to not be with the children but with adults, particularly support staff
- Children developed greater appreciation of the natural world around them and spent more time noticing changes around them
- The centre now provides adequate resources for teachers to use the park independently of workshop leaders
Resources to support learning in the parkland are now available here:
Primary Science Education Consultancy Get out conference Poster 2012 [550.49kB]
Primary Science Education Consultancy Get Out Conference Poster 2013 [441.18kB]
Find out more about this project by completing the form below and a member of the Primary Science Teaching Trust team will get back to you.