At Danes Hill we are proud of the amazing facilities and grounds at our school. One such facility is the Paddock, inhabited by a wide variety of wildlife and just a short stroll from the Main School. This certainly enhances the children’s learning and development enabling outdoor activities from Pre-Prep (Bevendean) to the Upper School.
This outdoor learning approach is particularly integral to Bevendean, where children complete weekly visits to the Paddock for Forest School. Activities that take place during these visits include planting flowers, to teach children about nurturing plant life, and a ‘bear hunt’ during which children echo the book We’re going on a Bear Hunt in search of a teddy bear hidden in the bushes.
Further up the school, Year 5 enjoy a Paddock afternoon at the beginning of the Autumn Term, which involves a scavenger hunt during the walk to the Paddock followed by foraging. The materials collected are then used by the children to produce artwork. The afternoon outdoors is finished off with team-building activities, leaving the children fulfilled having exercised their creativity and celebrated their natural environment.
Year 8 celebrate the end of their Danes Hill journey with a camping trip in the Paddock. Rain or shine, the children are treated to a BBQ of hot dogs and roasted marshmallows around the fire pit, and enjoy the beginning of the summer.
Not only used for fun and games, the Paddock enhances the learning of various subjects, in particular Science and Geography. In the summer, Year 7 study the wildlife of the pond, taking large samples of water and analysing them under microscopes. This teaches pupils about fieldwork and how to use specialist equipment, as well as revealing the vast ecosystems living so close to us whilst remaining invisible to the naked eye.
We are very lucky to have such beautiful surroundings for the children to be able to work not just inside the classroom, but also take the classroom outside!