We are very fortunate here at Wrenthorpe Primary School as we have a fantastic outdoor learning environment. Not only do we have two wonderful Wildlife Areas, but we also have a purpose-built outdoor classroom, a pond and a great allotment area too!
We have two wildlife areas at our school, one small and one large. The smaller of the two is situated around the back of the school building and is a great place for doing a spot of bird-watching. We have bird feeders right outside the Year 5 and Year 2 classrooms so we can keep a close watch on who is visiting our wildlife area! We also have some great habitats for insects scattered around the floor in this area too.
Our larger wildlife area is next to the school playground and is a fantastic place to visit. There are lots of different kinds of trees and shrubs in this area, which provide food for many different birds and small mammals throughout the year. The children love visiting this area to see what creatures they can spot and to see how the trees change during the different seasons.
We try to encourage lots of different animals and birds to visit this area, so we have some hedgehog houses, a bug hotel and some bird feeders, as well as a special bird hide to make them feel at home.
An important part of our large wildlife area is our fantastic pond. Since it was created 2 years ago, it has become a haven for lots of different creatures, such as frogs, newts and all sorts of insects. The children love seeing what they can catch during pond-dipping activities and they have caught some very interesting creatures over the past couple of years!
There are also lots of different plants in our pond area which attract insects such as bees and butterflies. It really is a thriving habitat.
Alongside our large wildlife area is a purpose-built outdoor classroom. Constructed of timber, the classroom has open sides so children can enjoy the fresh air and see into the wildlife area whilst completing their activities. The outdoor classroom has benches along each inside wall which allow a whole class to work in this area at one time. It provides a great base when completing activities in our outdoor areas, such as pond-dipping or sketching.
The final aspect of our outdoor learning environment is our fabulous allotment area. We have enough wooden beds for each class to have one each, where they can grow anything they like. Typically classes will grow vegetables such as courgettes and potatoes alongside tomatoes, salad leaves and broad beans. We also have raspberry bushes and other fruiting trees in this area, alongside scented plants like lavender and rosemary. The allotment is completed by a greenhouse and a series of water butts which we use to water the plants, and when they collect enough water, to fill our pond.