23 May 2018
On 17 May, Portsmouth High School Prep School took part in an international initiative, ‘Outdoor Classroom Day’.
The day is part of a global campaign to celebrate and inspire outdoor learning and play. Thousands of schools around the world took lessons outside and prioritised playtime. In 2017, over 2.3 million children worldwide took part, more than 580,000 of those were in the UK and Ireland.
At Portsmouth High School girls had lessons, from mathematics to English, in and around the newly built outdoor learning classroom and played and had lunch in the school’s gardens.
The organisers of Outdoor Classroom Day say that children who have the freedom to play today, making friends, getting lost in the moment, having fun, are better prepared for whatever tomorrow brings. Playing helps children build friendships, test their own boundaries and solve their own problems. It’s central to a child’s development and their enjoyment of childhood.
‘It has been wonderful taking part in this international initiative,’ said Headmaster of the Prep School, Mr Paul Marshallsay. ‘We aim to develop children with a sense of exploration that goes beyond that of a narrow academic curriculum. Every day, we encourage our girls to become Explorers.
‘We have a prep school where intellectual curiosity is developed as a norm and where girls enjoy learning through a range of opportunities both inside and outside the classroom. We ensure that the girls in our school are true explorers using thinking skills that apply across the curriculum and beyond into sport, music and drama. A day like today is part of that culture.
‘Forest school sessions start in the pre-school and continue through to Year 6 with our accredited Forest School teacher Mrs West. The girls venture outside in all weathers and make shelters, light fires and use tools as well as looking at the seasons and lifecycles. Lessons often support all areas of the curriculum and girls get hands-on outside with science and nature activities.
‘Forest school activities increase self-esteem, self-confidence and resilience. Girls are taught skills to negotiate and problem solve, build friendships and develop communication skills.’