Outdoor Learning is used at St Joseph’s to enhance learning across the curriculum. The 23 acres of land that St Joseph’s has to offer promote students love of learning through play and exploration! Outdoor Learning encourages students to learn practical skills and enables students to work effectively as a team. With outdoor learning, students have access to the school fields, forested area, pond, sensory garden and wildlife garden.
We splash, we splish and we splosh! Students search, investigate and are encouraged to ask lots of questions about the environment around them. We get excited with new findings, and best of all enjoy nature! Sensory needs are addressed in outdoor learning through musical activities like gum boot dancing, face painting by therapists and making sculptures with the art department.
St. Luke’s Wildlife Garden Project
The staff and students of St. Luke’s class started a project in our Wildlife Garden. Students liaised with our Head Groundsman to identify how best to improve the area for wildlife and users.
St Luke’s first rebuilt a dead hedge fence. The students collected long branches and long twigs from around the Wildlife Garden, some that had fallen from trees or had once been part of the original fence that was broken. These branches were used to rebuild the fence which borders two sides of the Wildlife Garden. Students used a technique which involved weaving the branches and twigs in between each other, layering them up on top of each other. Students worked efficiently as a team, with some students gathering the branches while others weaved. The team worked hard and efficiently and within only a few short sessions students had rebuilt the dead hedge, so that it was high and wide enough to provide a strong barrier to protect the garden from severe weather and creating a shelter for wildlife, such as small mammals, insects and birds.
The class made a Hibernaculum. An area was marked out by the grounds team and students collected a range of materials to provide shelter for small mammals and invertebrates during the winter. The class used twigs, leaves and logs to make the area warm and safe for wildlife.
Students took part in weeding and laid fresh bark on the path which led to the main areas of the Wildlife Garden. The weeding required the class to dig with spades and trowels. The students got stuck into this and used the wheelbarrow to transport the weeds to the compost area. Laying the fresh bark was the most rewarding bit of this particular task as it looked so fresh and new once we had spread it out evenly.
In science classes, St Luke’s had learnt about water conservation. The students noticed that the pond in the Wildlife Garden had a low water level and discussed how this could be improved. The group decided the pond needed a water butt, so there could be a continuous rain water feed to the pond via a hose.
The good weather was on our side for this project and St Luke’s class managed to make a big difference to the area within a short time. The group worked co-operatively to complete each job that was allocated. The students felt a sense of pride when the project was finished and they could look back on what they had achieved.