Take a tour of the classroom with a pond in it

Children from Norwich Lower School in the new outdoor classroom where they can learn about nature and do English lessons.
Photo by Simon Finlay. Children from Norwich Lower School in the new outdoor classroom where they can learn about nature and do English lessons. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
9:00 AM

As classrooms go, it is definitely lighter and more airy than most.

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Children from Norwich Lower School in the new outdoor classroom where they can learn about nature and do English lessons.
Photo by Simon Finlay.Children from Norwich Lower School in the new outdoor classroom where they can learn about nature and do English lessons. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Pupils at Norwich Lower School have had their first lessons in a newly-created outdoor classroom, inspired by schools on the other side of the world in Australia.

It has been created on the Lower Close playing fields, and is made up of a mosaic of learning spaces and small habitat areas, filled with plants native to the Norfolk countryside.

The school said the aim is to teach pupils about ecology, bush-craft and team-building, as well as inspire pupils in their curriculum work.

The classroom has already won praise from pupils at the school, who said they and their friends were excited by it.

Children from Norwich Lower School in the new outdoor classroom where they can learn about nature and do English lessons.
Photo by Simon Finlay.Children from Norwich Lower School in the new outdoor classroom where they can learn about nature and do English lessons. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Amy Barker, 11, said: “It’s really pretty because it’s full of flowers and you go through a pathway of flowers on both sides. There are a few tables that you can do work on. It will be really beautiful and a bit different to teach inside. It will be really nice to see it outside.”

Henry Farr, 10, described it as “pretty amazing”, and singled out the small pond, which he said already had waterboatmen in it.

Asked what having lessons in the new space might be like, he said: “It will be very different. It will sound a lot different and be a lot more open to the air.

“It will probably be a lot more fun. Being in a classroom can sometimes be a bit stuffy and get a bit crowded.”

Furniture includes tables made from recycled cups and a blackboard, while the pond will be used for pond-dipping, and a camp-fire for cooking lessons and a picket-fence to display art and craft work.

Pupils aged seven to 11 have been involved in the building of the space and will continue to maintain and improve the classroom.

Teacher and classroom creator Jonathan Worton said: “The outdoor classroom will be nurtured and used by our children, teachers and parents.

“We hope that it becomes a natural extension to the normal teaching space, offering rich and deep learning experiences for our pupils. The idea evolved from visits to junior schools in Australia where they have lesson devoted to outdoor learning.”

Are outdoor classrooms the way forward? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

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