The Russell School

Outdoor Learning

Our Curriculum - Intent

We believe that outdoor learning is integral to nurturing the development of the ‘whole child’, providing real-life experiences through which children strengthen and deepen their understanding, knowledge and skills to become confident, resilient and determined learners.  By exposing children to the natural environment, we aim to instil a sense of curiosity, awe and wonder about the world around them and respect for the natural world and all that lives within it. Children are given the opportunity to develop and experience real life skills by using real tools, lighting fires and taking risks in a safe environment.

In 2018, we opened our ‘Nature Lodge’, built by our Site Manager, Mr Bailey.  

Our Curriculum - Implementation 

We have devised a cross-curricular outdoor learning programme, which builds opportunities for outdoor learning into the medium term planning for all subject areas. These include: opportunities for discovery; physical challenges; dramatic play; team building; creative problem solving; art and craft; environmental games; storytelling and song. 


Through our outdoor curriculum, we aim to:

  • Consolidate learning through real-life, practical activities
  • Aid transition to new places and situations
  • Increase motivation and willingness to learn
  • Develop confidence and self-awareness
  • Develop social and communication skills
  • Promote challenge and independence 


Practical, first hand experiences enable children to apply their understanding, knowledge and skills to meaningful, real-life contexts, which supports long-term memory and retention of learning.  Each half term, all children take part in at least one full morning of discrete outdoor learning as well as incorporating it into everyday lessons as far as possible. Nursery and Reception classes have continuous access to their own outdoor classroom, which they access every day during child-initiated learning time and outdoor adult-led sessions.

Our Curriculum - Impact

The impact of our curriculum is the measure of how well our intent has been realised. It is demonstrated through the success of our learners and their confidence to demonstrate the knowledge they have retained over time, as well as their readiness for the next stage in education and for life as an adult in the wider world. 


Children’s achievements in outdoor learning are assessed in a variety of ways.  Ongoing feedback, assessment and observations will measure the extent to which children:

  • Are more confident to approach challenge
  • Develop into advocates for environmental issues
  • Display knowledge and enthusiasm about nature
  • Can apply their understanding, skills and knowledge to real-life contexts
  • Demonstrate co-operation, team work and communication skills
  • Demonstrate awareness and understanding of, assess and manage their own risk and safety.


The Bug Hotel was designed by members of the Eco Squad and provides a safe hideaway for wildlife in the school grounds.