A Parent’s Guide to Welly Wednesdays
Welly Wednesdays are an opportunity for your child to experience nature and the outdoor environment in a safe, secure and hands on way. Our outdoor learning area is located within the school grounds. We have a large, sheltered outdoor classroom, a calm reflective garden area, digging areas, bird hides, trees and plants. We also have a large Willow structures which we can use to sit inside, we can also use the branches of to create pieces of art. There are compost heaps to attract insects and small mammals, and we also have a wormery. Rabbits, squirrels and birds are evident everywhere! The children are encouraged to investigate & explore but also to respect all living things. Children learn best from first hand experiences. Exploring, playing and so learning using a range of activities (both designed by the leader and instigated by the children themselves) is what outdoor learning is all about. Building a sense of independence, high self esteem and team work are important, but health and safety considerations are always of paramount importance. Please be assured all activities are risk assessed beforehand.
Why are Welly Wednesdays such a great opportunity for your children?
1. It is proven from research that learning that takes place in the outdoors is much more powerful and memorable as all the senses are involved.
2. Forest Schools develop children through a child led approach.
3. Children are taught how to assess risks for themselves.
4. Children are able to develop their speech, language, social skills and empathy.
5. They learn to respect and appreciate the countryside.
For the comfort and well being of your child the following clothing and equipment is recommended.
The thickness of clothing will depend on the season :-
Long sleeved top
We have a large selection of wellies, waterproof suits and a range of hats, scarves and gloves.
Rain will not cause a cancellation unless accompanied by strong winds. Our curriculum states that we have to play outside with children unless weather conditions are unsafe.
Please use old clothes and be aware that during outdoor learning they CAN GET DIRTY. Sun cream should also be applied if weather is hot.
Names on all clothes is a must.
Nursery children are to come wearing their outdoor clothing and Reception children are to come in their uniform and bring their outdoor clothing in a bag. This is because Reception Class will be split into two groups (one morning and one afternoon) so they might not necessarily be going outdoors until the afternoon.
What sorts of activities might they be doing?
Children will gradually build up to different activities. These may include:
Collecting sticks – making art work with sticks
Using basic tools under supervision.
. Clay modelling
. Using feathers and leaves etc to make models/art work
. Making sculptures from willow twigs
Using a talking stick for listening and talking to each other around the fire circle.
About each session
Children will be in the outdoor environment for about an hour and a half each time. The session usually starts with an opening discussion or story to set the scene. The activities available are explained and any safety training given to the children. Children then choose what they would like to do and the session closes with a reflection around the fire circle.
In addition to our fantastic EYFS team here at St Martin's, we also have a trained Forest School Leader who works with our children each week. Jenny Hicks and Willow the dog spend the afternoon in our fabulous outdoor area with our children.