At Chesham Prep the children love playing outside in our Forest School. From Nursery upwards the children have regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in our woodland area.
Forest School is a child-centred inspirational learning process. It is a long-term program that supports play, exploration and supported risk taking. It develops confidence and self-esteem through learner inspired, hands-on experiences in a natural setting.
Mrs Phipps is our qualified Forest Schools Practioner and she leads all the sessions in our Forest School Area. The children enjoy Forest School whatever the weather: learning how to make fires and toast marshmallows, sausages, popcorn and pancakes on pancake day, building shelters and dens, going on mini beast hunts and building mini beast hotels, building assault courses with logs and wood, making mud pain, doing art and craft like flower pressing, building tyre swings, and making concoctions in the mud kitchen.
We have planted a new area with fruit trees to grow into an orchard, including Bramley apples, Victoria plums and pears, Oak, Alder trees and Coppicing Willow. The Woodland Trust donated the trees, planted by the children to form the edge of this new orchard. The children regularly make concoctions during lessons and playtime in our ‘Mud Kitchen’.
The Pond and Adlington Avenue
Over summer 2016 Chesham Prep School was a hive of activity as the new outdoor area took shape. See our photos at the bottom of the page for the Outdoor area now.
Throughout the school year the children have been undertaking various projects, including planting around the pond area, as well as on the new vegetable patches, with the vegetable patch hopefully bringing some harvest around spring time. The children have also been looking at particular wildlife that is attracted to these areas, and doing classwork based upon their findings.
Mrs Bateson, Head of Science, who was behind the project, was asked a number of questions. Firstly when asked about the idea behind the outdoor area, ”Outdoor learning has been shown to motivate pupils, stimulate pupil’s curiosity and encourage a passion for ‘doing’. We can encourage children to respect and enjoy the outdoors. The outdoor area (funded by the PTA), aims to promote more outdoor learning at CPS across the entire school from EYFS to Year 8, through all key stages and subjects.
Outdoor learning continues to be incorporated into the school curriculum from English to Spanish, and from Maths to RE. The beautiful new areas will not only encourage and help native British Wildlife to thrive around the school, but they will also be used for extracurricular activities such as Eco Warriors and Nature Clubs.”
The school has just been awarded its Bronze Award by Eco Schools. This means the school has achieved its first step in raising environmental awareness both locally and globally, as well as improving our school environment for wildlife. The Eco Warrior Club along with the whole school community will be now working hard over the next year to achieve our Silver Award.
The Dragonfly Pond, the Grow Zone and Adlington Avenue are positively blooming; the wildflowers are attracting a diverse range of invertebrates and birds. We have found lots of pond mini beasts and amphibians through pond dipping. We have lots of lovely vegetables and flowers in the Grow Zone ready for the School kitchens later in the Summer term.
Recycling around School and reducing non-recyclable waste
This is an area we have been improving around the school over the last year. Over the last year we have been tackling the issues of food waste produced at lunchtime and break times and consequently all food waste that is now produced is taken off site to be either composted or burnt to generate electricity.
You may have noticed we have put more recycling bins around school, primarily for plastic bottles and aluminium cans. This is an ongoing project looking to improve recycling around the school and to cut down on non-recyclable waste. As we do this we will be both informing and encouraging the importance of Reducing, Reusing and Recycling to the pupils. We now use reusable water bottles on all our trips. I would urge anyone on the school site to support this and as the bins change please use the appropriate bins for your waste.