Wild Learning at MDJS
‘Learning outside the classroom should not be an optional extra’, but rather an entitlement to all; stimulating the senses and developing an early interest in the natural world’.
We are privileged, at MDJS, to have lovely school grounds and to be situated very close to Hartshill Hayes and we believe that learning outside of the classroom should be integral to all our pupils’ learning. Our pupils have numerous opportunities to work outside in a variety of ways, both within distinctive topic work (i.e. work on habitats) and within other curriculum areas (i.e. creative writing in autumn leaves in the Hayes, numeracy work measuring natural forms).
We have an ongoing programme to develop numerous areas within school to create maximum opportunities and Kate MacRae (WildlifeKate) works in the school 2 days a week to help facilitate this. An experienced primary teacher and wildlife consultant, Kate works with classes and individuals as well as coordinating the Wild Learning within the whole school.
'Alfresco' Outdoor Learning
In 2019, WildlifeKate developed large area of the grounds into outdoor classrooms and learning zones. We have three outdoor classrooms with log seating and whiteboards, under the shade of mature trees. Accompanying these are a series of Wild Learn dens; seating areas, dens made with recycled pallets, seats and pods all fantastic for group or individual learning. Being outdoors, in the fresh air and surrounded by nature is excellent for mental well being and has been proven to improve children's motivation and mental health. All classes are encouraged to use the area for learning as much as possible, delivering lessons that are normally classroom based, in the great outdoors!
Wild Learning Area
We have developed our ‘Wild Learning’ Area to maximise biodiversity and create a range of habitats for wildlife. This area includes two ponds, bug hotels, spider web frames, wild flower area, giant bird box, willow dome, hedgehog homes. We have an outdoor classroom area, bird hide and small orchard, planted in 2015.
We have developed a large allotment area, called our Grow Zone. Each class has responsibility for an area outside their classroom and we plan for and grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. These are harvested and used in school dinners and in recipes and cooking within school.
We keep a selection of animals within school, including chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs. Their care is overseen by the Year 6 Animal Care Mentors and classes rotate through duties so everyone has a chance to care for our animals.