everything curriculum | April 2018

The Pen, adjacent to the Workshop, is home to our chickens, call ducks and Muscovy ducklings. The workshop is a practical working space for children working in our oLé groups. It contains an octagonal workbench, kiln and children’s tools. Led by our outdoor learning practitioners, who are also members of our premises team, children begin their units of work by story–telling, building themes around green–men, pigs and wolves, goats and trolls and stick– men. Those ‘chosen’ to participate include Pupil Premium Grant pupils, and those who need to develop skills in communication, or who excel at story–telling. Activities often take them into the local nature reserve, woodland, or to the school–based wildflower hedgerow, pond, allotments or fire–pit areas. Tool talks are used before children drill, saw or prune willow to create their own charcoal.

dipping groups. Every lunchtime is an opportunity to learn outdoors.

Classes have regular eco–days, with whole school investigations concerning habitat areas, the wool fleeces from our sheep, or the eggs from our range of birds. The days reinforce our EARTH code. Opportunity for family learning, including orienteering, run periodically.

Our urban farm, whilst being home and habitat to a range of animals, and a place to grow crops, helps us appreciate one aspect of the reality of stewardship which we are reminded must be taken seriously… our mission is one of social transformation.

Sacred Heart are members of the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens, and engage with local networking through the Manchester Environmental Education Network.

HEART Teaching School Alliance runs a CPD opportunity linked to outdoor space development and learning. For more information, visit the school website at sacred–

The oLé area, behind a living–willow fence, has a fire–pit and gathering circle – a place where bread is baked, fish is cooked, wolf–soup is on the menu, and memories are created. We make our own charcoal from harvested willow, become Robin Hood and the Amesbury Archer (whilst consolidating skills in forces, angle and measure), whittle, play team games and sing.

The Room2Grow operates through ‘be… environmental’ lunchtimes, led by apprentice support staff, who run themes such as Music Mondays, Text on Tuesday, Weaving Wednesdays, Totem Thursday or Fishy Friday pond

The Outdoor Learning Environment promotes creation stewardship and our programmes aim to close the gap in the ‘nature deficit’ which is all too common in 21st Century society. All subject areas are supported by our structured outdoor spaces, which are used by all classes and in lunchtime clubs.

It is the context for much of our learning across the curriculum which can be taken outdoors. Teachers aim to take at least one lesson each week outdoors, to maximise learning opportunity and promote problem solving.


There is no substitute for outdoor learning. It broadens children’s outlooks, improves their motivation,

personal and inter– personal skills.

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