We have carried out much research into how to create the best possible learning environment to ensure that our pupils feel safe and secure, are independent learners, are supported in their learning and have optimised opportunities to learn the best they can.
We have worked with Elizabeth Jarman to develop ‘Communication Friendly Spaces’ as well as taking influence from the work of Emilia Reggio and the natural resource ideas of Forest schools. Below is a list of the key ideas from this research that we are aiming to implement.
- Use of natural, more neutral colour schemes and lots of natural light – to promote calm behaviour and good concentration.
- Classrooms/spaces that have a natural feel – a ‘home-from-home’ where pupils feel safe and secure but also stimulated to learn.
- Displays and learning environments that promote learning and teaching.
- Using natural display materials and neutral colours promotes the children’s work as the focal point.
- Communication-friendly spaces where children can best develop speaking and listening and talk for writing such as reading nooks/corners, structured-play areas.
- Minimalist, de-cluttered and clearly organised classrooms and communal areas – to best support independent learning for children.
- Opportunities for learning outdoors as much as possible, particularly in EYFS and KS1.
We have invested greatly in our outdoor spaces to create environmental zones where pupils can learn outdoors. We have a quiet zone with our Apple Shelter and Chestnut Leaf shade, with a seated area and a winding path and planting. We have a school allotment on site with huge planters, composting, a 'bath pond', a bug hotel, greenhouse and potting shed. In this area, we also have equipment for den-building.
Our Year 1 pupils have an outdoor play area behind their classrooms which is used for outdoor learning in Maths and English, large-scale construction area and a den.
The EYFS have an extensive outdoor zone which meets all the needs of the Early Years curriculum, such as a climbing frame and tunnel, sand and water play, wheeled vehicles, role play, speaking/listening areas, den-making and outdoor play.
Our Galleon has been built to enhance provision at playtimes as well as to offer opportunities for learning across the curriculum. There is sand and stones, pirate huts for reading and speaking/listening, writing and maths opportunities.
We have a Multi-use Games Areas (MUGA) for ball games and this is used in a rota between classes.
There are English and Maths stores on the playground which contain both writing materials and natural outdoor Maths resources.