Skip to content Skip to navigation

outdoor learning

Wildlife Watching and Art

Submitted by tawnyowl on Friday, June 12, 2020 - 15:54

The children have been busy again this week, taking part in 30 Days Wild.

Louis, Rowan, Ollie, Beau and Evie created some beautiful pieces of artwork from natural materials and Amelia C made some delicious looking Elderflower Cordial. Joseph, Evelyn-Rose and Freddie looked at some webcams to observe sea birds, Roseate Terns and Osprey. Finley also enjoyed watching the starlings in his garden eating the bird picnic he had made for them. Hollie's plants are growing well, and Zachary found a beautiful toad.

I think you'll agree that we have very talented children in our school.

Next week, Year One (Miss Wilford's Bubble) will be returning to Forest School on Friday. I am so excited, as I know many of the children are too, so I look forward to sharing true Forest School activities with you next weekend.

Forest School Under Lockdown

Submitted by tawnyowl on Monday, April 20, 2020 - 12:39

I am really missing the time I spend in the woods with you all, but I am trying to get outside every day to help my well-being and mental health.

I have been trying to get a walk in everyday, which has been quite challenging at times as lots of people are out walking with their families which is fabulous, but makes social distancing tricky. It has not put me off! I am using it as an opportunity to revise my knowledge of plants, and often return with a photo to identify or question to answer.

We have been blessed with the weather. I have tried to keep my woodland skills up and have spent a good deal of time cleaning and sharpening all the tools ready for when we start again. I have also been practising my pyrography – creating some ‘tokens’ for the Hide when we return, and a label for my new grandson's pear tree which we planted just before lockdown (BL).

In my garden I am creating a bug hotel and have started a wildlife pond; this is taking a while to become established but I am hoping as the weather warms up I will begin to see the creatures move in. The birds and squirrels have discovered it as a good source of water, in fact the wood pigeons decimated my Marsh Marigold (they thought it was lovely and tasty), which I am now trying to nurture back to health in my tiny ‘polytunnel’.

I have planted a hedge using a mixture of plants: Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Field Maple, Crab Apple, Buddleia, Silver Birch, Hazel, Holly, Dog Rose, Sweet Chestnut; some of these plants I grew myself from seed, some I bought from the Woodland Trust BL.

I would love to know what you have all been getting up to - please send me a little 'report' with a photo of your outdoor adventures, and I will put them onto our 'Forest School' Blog at the end of each week so everyone can see what you have been up to.

Mrs Stimpson kindly sent us a couple of photos she took when she was out walking - can you spot her 'Tree Man'? The beautiful picture of the bluebell wood is also hers.


I am really missing you all; keep in touch.

Tawny Owl

Ash Wednesday

Submitted by headteacher on Sunday, March 1, 2020 - 23:59

Years 3, 4 and 5 walked to St Mary's Church on Wednesday morning for a special Ash Wednesday Service led by Caroline.  Unfortunately, half of Year 5 were not there as they were in Forest School.  So not to miss out, Caroline quickly dashed down to Forstal Woods when the service was over.....
Caroline arrived carrying a huge rucksack. She talked to the group about preparing for a journey – linking with Advent and Lent as a time of preparation. She made a link about being superhuman; asking the children what super powers they would choose. She used James as her ‘model’ and unpacked her rucksack, bringing out food, water, boots, coat, a map etc. She linked this up with story Jesus in the wilderness, and talked about Him being tempted, and the idea that we need to rely on God to help us. The children listened attentively and respectfully, responding well to her     questions. Caroline then explained about Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday and went around the circle ‘ashing’ those who wished to.

8 Ways Nature Helps Kids Learn.

Submitted by headteacher on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 - 22:18

This is an interesting article and confirms why we think giving your children opportunities to be outside is really important.

Call it parental instincts or call it common sense. Parents know that nature is good for kids.

Yet it was only fairly recently, that the scientific community sought to verify these instincts and observations. Luckily today, it's not hard to find studies that make a claim related to the benefits of nature on children's learning and development. In fact, there are a large number of studies but many are poorly designed and, unfortunately, overreaching in their optimistic claims.

Recently, a team of researchers decided to take action and gain some clarity on the question, "Do nature experiences promote learning and child development?" Supported by a grant from the NSF and a strong network of experts to tap, the team performed a thorough review of a wide array of studies.

The studies covered topics ranging from nature in the inner city, to the study of nature's effects on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder or the impact greenness has on test scores. At the end of their deep dive, they answered the question with a resounding "YES!". Nature does promote learning in children in both direct and indirect ways. Nature can help a student feel more attentive, less stressed, more self-disciplined, more engaged, more interested and more physically active and fit. And it can also provide a calmer, quieter, safer, warmer, more cooperative setting for learning.

Author study Cathy Jordan explained in an interview, "We often think about nature or greenery as a pleasant backdrop, but it can be so much more. As my colleagues and I reviewed the published academic literature, we found evidence that nature has a restoring effect on attention; improves self-discipline; reduces stress; increases physical activity and fitness and promotes motivation for and engagement in learning. All of these effects have been shown to improve learning."

One of the most valuable applications of the research was to help explain the mystery of how even small doses of nature can have surprisingly large effects. The key to the puzzle lies in how these effects work together, in a student and in a classroom. Nature exposure might make a student not only more attentive but also less stressed and more interested in learning. And if you have a whole classroom of students who are less stressed and more cooperative, attentive, interested and absorbed, you can begin to see how the individual and classroom level impacts multiply.

The researchers identified these eight distinct pathways through which experiences with nature benefit students.

  Better Attention

It perks up mentally fatigued adults and children and helps kids concentrate. Whether just a view from the classroom of a field trip, nature has a proven rejuvenating effect on attention

Stress Relief

Nature is undoubtedly a great stress reliever. You don't need a trip to Yosemite. Just a window view of greenery from reduced heart rate and self-reported stress in students.

Boost to Self-Discipline

Greater self-discipline in children with ADHD, learning disabilities or neurotypical children is commonly cited in the scientific literature.

Motivated Students

Studies show that learning in nature may improve motivation most in those students who are least motivated in traditional classrooms. Experts believe these effects are due to nature's reliably positive effects on mood and lead to a general increased interest in school and reduced absenteeism.

Fitter Kids

Children tend to be more physically active in nature-based learning and particularly nature play. This can improve fitness, control weight and possibly reduce risk of chronic diseases related to being overweight. Simply greening school grounds can counter children's trend toward decreasing physical activity as they approach adolescence.

Build Better Relationships

Greener environments are calmer and quieter and foster warmer relationships. Add in "loose parts" and relative autonomy for a true learning boost.

Calmer, Quieter, Safer Places for Learning

The calmness and peace of a natural environment have been tied to greater student engagement and academic success Nature also reduces disruptive or aggressive behaviors, many of the behaviors that lead to kids missing outdoor time ironically.

Foster Warmer, More Cooperative Relations

Maybe its because it's less restrictive and freer, but learning in nature brings out cooperation and comfort between students and teachers.

More Autonomy & Creativity

Children's play becomes more creative, physical, and more social when you add in loose parts like sticks & stones.

Next up...

The authors plan to dive deeper. The team has proposed a research agenda to drive the next chapter of research on nature-based learning.

The team also hopes to gain insight into such questions as to whether decreased stress, improved attention, or enhanced engagement might explain the relationship between learning in nature and academic success.

But one of their biggest goals is to help create optimal conditions for nature-based learning, addressing practical questions about how to prepare teachers to work successfully in nature and how to support their adoption of this approach.

Learn more about nature's benefits for learning


Bewl Water

Submitted by headteacher on Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 23:24

Last night I popped down to Bewl Water to join Year 6 for dinner! They are all having a fabulous time, they have been so lucky with the weather this week, they all looked so healthy and were full of excitement having spent two whole days on the water already. Please read their blog to find out more.

Our first 3 weeks

Submitted by classr on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 - 16:38

Here are a few photographs taken of things we have been up to in our first 3 weeks at school. 

First time staying for lunch

First time in the sandpit

First time using some of the maths equipment 

First time playing with the outdoor scales 

Messy Play 

Riding the bikes

Water Play

Mark Making 

Iron Man Art

Submitted by class3 on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - 15:55

We've been doing some different art projects this week, including using chalks to shade and using our sketchbooks to record observations. We've created some lovely pieces of art which are now in display in the classroom. 


Here's a quick collage of what we've been doing


Our Amazing School

Submitted by headteacher on Thursday, July 18, 2019 - 23:28
Wow! What another very busy and successful school year we have had and last Friday was a shining example of the day in the life of our wonderful school. It started at about 6.30am with parents and staff together setting up for sportsday! Mr & Mrs Stanford even arrived with bacon sandwiches which were appreciated very much. Indeed it was a fabulous morning enjoyed by everyone. Well done to all the children but particularly those in Scotney who won both the KS1 and KS2 sports cup. Thank you to Mrs Mileham for organising the event, which as ever ran very smoothly. Thank you to the PTFA for providing refreshments and of course to you the parents, families and friends for all your support.

Following a picnic lunch, the school then opened its' classroom doors and parents were warmly invited to experience an afternoon in the life of Goudhurst & Kilndown pupil. There was a real buzz throughout the school and lots of parents commented on how it had been a wonderful day, just perfect!

Year One Last Sessions

Submitted by tawnyowl on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 - 21:20

Have a look at the video for a tase of what year one have been learning in the last couple of weeks.


Year 6's final session in the woods

Submitted by tawnyowl on Monday, July 1, 2019 - 19:22

Year 6 chose to have a whole day in the woods today.

Wren provided a shuttle to run the children to the wood in 2 groups. 

It was not a usual Forest School session because there were 28 children to support.

They began with a game of Beetle Tag, after a small group had chosen an area to play. The children played with enthusiasm and good humour (although Tawny Owl began to feel that she was being caught an awful lot, however, she quite enjoyed lying on the ground with her arms and legs waving in the air)!

After this game, the children separated into groups to carry out activities. As there were so many children Tawny Owl requested that all the children needed to participate in 2 of the activities. Sadly, some of the group decided that this instruction didn't apply to them; not good team work.

However, many children enjoyed the activities on offer: cooking (menu below), making fire sticks, cutting and splitting wood, carrying out a bioblitz (results in the photos), finishing off obstacle course activities.

Today's Menu:

Pizza Calzone

Vegetable kebabs

Nettle Crisps

Trout cooked in newspaper

Chocolate dipped fruit

The day was over before we knew it! There was a lot of equipment to carry, but we managed to get everything back to the minibus/cars in good time.


Tawny Owl would especailly like to thank Mouse who gives up her valuable time volutarily. Thank you Mouse.

Thank you Mr Price for some of the trout!

Thank you also to Wren who works so hard to support Tawny Owl with her hare-brained ideas!

Thank you everyone! Remember all you have learned year 6, and good luck in your new schools.

Have a look at the main set of photos on the class gallery.



Subscribe to RSS - outdoor learning