Outdoor Learning

We love outdoor learning at Longvernal Primary School. Each child benefits from a weekly Forest School session, with every opportunity for cross-curricular learning seized. Our school logo describes us as ‘outdoor learning leaders’, as we place the highest value on being outdoors at every opportunity. For many children, they are placed back into their ‘natural learning environment’ when outdoors. All of the children at Longvernal reap the benefits from their time outdoors: socially, emotionally and psychologically. In our ‘screen-time’ and ‘risk-averse’ society, spending so much time outdoors equips our children to be well-rounded, healthy and alert learners.

Longvernal has wonderful outdoor spaces, both around the school and within our local community and we use these to the full. A Forest School provides a higher than usual adult to child ratio and works on the premise of positive relationships and tasks that build self-esteem and confidence. Part of our uniform is special wet weather gear so that children are able to explore safely.

All children learn how to safely build fires and dens both on site where we have copse and fire pit plus at the Silver Street nature reserve. They also use tools appropriate to their age and learn about the natural environment and how to look after it. Across the school all class teachers plan to include valuable outdoors experiences linked to the National Curriculum expectations but also to interest and enthuse the children.

Click on the image below to see a gallery of photos showing the range of outdoor learning opportunities at Longvernal!

OPAL Play Project

Click here to read our Play Policy

Longvernal Platinum Play

Longvernal has been awarded the top national accolade for its play. Longvernal has achieved a platinum level award for our commitment to outdoor play, placing it in the top 1% of schools in the country. Longvernal joined OPAL in March 2018 as part of a new approach to playtimes – to ensure every single pupil enjoyed outdoor play and found something fun and rewarding to play with at every single playtime, returning to class happy and fulfilled. On Friday 11th October, Michael Follet, Director of OPAL came into school to present our prestigious platinum award.

Over the past 18 months, we have: installed a large sandpit, doubled the size of our ‘playpod’, developed our ‘play offer’ to include music, chalk, crates, bubbles, rugby posts and construction. We have re-structured our lunchtime staff into our ‘play team’ to ensure all of our children reap the multiple benefits of play, including: increased activity levels, social skills and improved mental health.

At Longvernal Primary School, we recognise the importance of the need for high quality sustainable play for children, regardless of their needs and abilities.

Children in British primary schools spend 20% or 1.4 years of their school attendance in play therefore we believe playtimes should be a happy time which contribute to children’s physical and emotional health, wellbeing, approach to learning and enjoyment of school.

This is why we are participating in the OPAL Play Project. The OPAL Primary Programme is what OPAL is all about. It is a mentor supported school improvement programme. It addresses all of the areas schools must plan for if they want to sustainably improve the quality of play.

During the programme OPAL will work with your school over an 18 month period to support an entire cultural and practical transformation of the way that play is thought about, planned for, resourced and staffed. If you would like to find out more about this project then visit http://outdoorplayandlearning.org.uk

Our school council and the children at Longvernal have agreed our Longvernal Play Charter.

Meet the Play Team:

Mr Jamie Thomson
Play Co-ordinator
Miss Rebecca Leyman
Play Co-ordinator
Mrs Laura Langan
Play Leader
Miss Kelly Antonowicz
OPAL Governor

Autumnal Den-Building Fun

Thank you to all the parents and grandparents who joined us in the sunshine to create dens in the school grounds using donated pallets, crates, ropes and tarpaulins. The children worked in their house teams with adults to create lots of dens. There were over 60 adults and both parents and children were very competitive and came up with some brilliant designs!
Click on the images above to see two galleries of photographs of our dens

Next Steps:

  • We are looking forward to having a large sandpit on the school field
  • We are continually developing our play zones – influenced by the children. At present, guided by the children’s ideas, we have introduced a Small World toy zone, a Music zone, a construction zone and an Art zone. On Ground Force Day, parents will help paint a buddy bench, create a wooden performance zone, quiet garden, paint fences and plant bulbs.



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