At Copthill, the outdoors is not as ‘add on’ to school life; it is an integral part of the school's teaching philosophy. This holistic approach is called Enriched External Learning (EEL) and it permeates all areas of school life for all age groups. It is designed to encourage pupils to benefit from the challenges, opportunities and wonder of the outdoors as well as offering the obvious benefits for health, mental wellbeing and fitness. We hope the inspirational opportunities will leave a lasting impression on their childhood and well into adult life.
Forest School for the Early Years
Outdoor provision is an essential element for all our Early Years pupils. Whether going out to feed the farm animals, using the well resourced outdoor classroom or attending their weekly compulsory Forest School session. Being outdoors is not only good for their wellbeing; it allows them to gain confidence in unfamiliar surroundings of the school's more remote natural areas. It is used to develop pupils' knowledge and natural curiosity, encourage team work, physical challenges along with creative and imaginative projects using clay, wood and other natural materials.
Pre School pupils have their own Forest School chalet from where they set out on daily adventures! All pupils attend at least one session per week.
Outdoor creative curriculum, Years 1 - 3
The pupils in Years 1, 2 and 3 have weekly curriculum-based sessions outdoors. These include many of their creative curriculum subjects such as art, science, geography, history and drama. Pupils are encouraged to demonstrate creativity, teamwork, reflectiveness and resilience which are important characteristics of a Copthill Learner. Through new experiences pupils will problem solve, gain confidence and develop a passion for the outdoor environment.
Outdoor subject sessions in the Upper School, Years 4 - 6
The pupils in Years 4,5 and 6 attend curriculum specific sessions outdoors at different times during the term. They have enjoyed Spanish cooking, Roman cooking, archaeology, rock studies, scientific investigations and weaving during just one half term. These sessions help pupils to consolidate their learning and relate concepts and ideas to real life situations.
Pupils from all year groups help to look after the animal farm every day. They look forward to feeding and cleaning the animals and collecting and selling eggs. Year 6 pupils have further responsibilities including being able to walk the dogs each day. These daily opportunities give pupils opportunities to take responsibility and provide reliable help.
Extra curricular adventurous activities
Upper School pupils have the chance to experience a range of specific adventurous activities including camping, team building, raft building, climbing and survival skills. These are delivered during activity afternoons and residential trips, as well as within the PE curriculum.
Outdoor residential experiences
Pupils from Year 2 upwards have the chance of camping either as part of summer school, or as specific year group camps during term time. Year 5 pupils have the option to attend a residential bushcraft course in Hertfordshire which provides great opportunities to learn new skills and develop self confidence.