The introduction of an inspirational whole-school, term-long creative curriculum at Oakwood School in Chichester was a resounding success, with teachers reporting increased engagement and understanding of learning among pupils.
The ‘Into the Woods’ theme saw children of all ages using the outdoor environment and extensive woodland areas in the school grounds for learning in every subject from maths to poetry and music. And when they couldn’t go outside, they brought the inside in, with every classroom transformed with woodland-themed art work, displays and design projects.
The success of Oakwood’s initiative reflects the findings of a recent report by the government’s Natural England project which revealed that learning outdoors had multiple benefits for children, with 92 percent of schools surveyed seeing an improvement in pupils’ health and wellbeing, and engagement with learning.
Headteacher Clare Bradbury commented: “The children were excited by the curriculum and all the teachers were delighted with the high levels of motivation in the children’s learning; having a shared experience across the ages unites our community with a shared goal and learning journey.
“I believe schools who ‘think out of the box’ and embrace childhood with an active and experienced-based curriculum are far better placed to allow children to flourish, both academically and as individuals. We are looking forward to developing plans for our next whole-school shared creative curriculum.
“It’s a priority at Oakwood School to encourage children’s thirst for enquiry, develop knowledge and improve their problem-solving skills through providing inspiring, memorable lessons and activities. The ability to think on your feet, respond to change, think of new ideas, succeed and fail are all life skills for the future.”