At Christ Church School we benefit from every classroom having a door to the outside, enabling easy access for academic, creative and physical learning from the outdoors. Although we are a city centre school, we are lucky to have school grounds where there are a variety of games, woodland and pond areas. Recently our PTA have sponsored a timber adventure trail for the playground, extending the physical challenge of play.
The school is close to the Bristol Downs and classes often walk there to study the local wildlife. One class created mini-beast hotels and went back the following week to see who had checked into the hotels. Guests included spiders, worms, woodlice and even a bee!
Beggar Bush Outdoor Activity Centre:
Through our partnership with nearby Clifton College, the children benefit greatly from day visits in the summer terms to the Clifton College Beggar Bush Outdoor Activity Centre, where they learn bushcraft survival skills and team building skills. Each year group focuses on different skills, over the years developing their repertoire of outdoor abilities.
Below gives a flavour of the types of activities undertaken:
Year 6 - the children had a great time in the sun at Beggar Bush. They built dens, cooked marshmallows, put fire to cotton wool, discussed survival kits and shelters, made traps and snares and impressed all with their knowledge.
Year 5 - the children had a great time at Beggar Bush yesterday, trying out lots of new activities. We learnt how to survive in the wild by making traps and snares, learning how to track, building shelters and cooking our own food. Our flat bread tasted amazing with jam and chocolate on!
Year 4 – the children had another fantastic day of adventures at Beggar Bush today. We felt really rather trendy as we donned our fashionable frog eye masks to brave the sensory trail. Miss Halton volunteered to be a target for the trebuchet (medieval catapult) and realised too late that the ammunition was water balloons! It didn’t seem to matter, however, as it had already started to rain and we all got just a bit soggy. We didn’t mind as we used the forest’s natural shelter materials to build dens and then gave archery our best “shot” to finish the day.
Year 3 – the children were lucky enough to wake up to clear skies and sunshine for a day at Beggar Bush! We completed three activities including, bush craft: tracking animals, shelter building and campfire skills. During shelter building, the children turned into pirates and were challenged to create a home to live in on a shipwrecked island. Our detective skills were put to the test in tracking as we hunted in the dust for traces of animals. Amazingly, we saw deer and badger prints! Finally in campfire skills we explored the forest, toasted marshmallows and enjoyed a hot chocolate!.
Year 2 – the children had a fabulous day at Beggar Bush yesterday, trying out lots of fun activities. We became fantastic communicators when we were blindfolded and followed a rope path through the woods – it was much easier doing it the second time without our blindfolds on! We also got creative, using the natural resources in the forest to create wonderful artwork. Our final activity was to create habitats for the woodland creatures.
Year 1 - the children enjoyed a day of adventure and discovery at Beggar Bush activity center. The children took part in a range of activities including a wildlife hunt, a squirrel hunt, making a bird feeder and toasting marshmallows - the all time favourite. Finally, we all enjoyed a good old sing song around the camp fire.
Reception - the children had great fun exploring and climbing in the woods, finding 'fairy doors' making a campfire and toasting marshmallows!
Over the last few years, we have been working at constantly improving our environmental understanding and activity at Christ Church School. We have been following the ‘Eco Schools’ scheme - acknowledged as the largest sustainable school initiative in the world. In the autumn 2017, we applied for Green Flag Status, the highest accolade within the Eco Schools scheme.
The Green Team at Christ Church School, led by Mrs Fowler, worked hard to tackle 3 chosen topics:
Environmental issues form part of the curriculum covered in each year group including pollution, the greenhouse effect, conservation, the rain forest and habitats of animals.
As a school we are working hard at recycling paper, cardboard, plastic and tins. We are monitoring our food waste from lunchtimes and are working with our chefs on the school menu so that we can try and reduce food waste.
Our Eco Team are active within school, working on the school planting and encouraging others to look after our lovely school environment and landscape.
Children are encouraged to walk, cycle or scoot to school and to register how they have got to school on our WOW (Walk to School) tool
We had a chance to meet a variety of birds, amphibians and other wetland creatures, many that we have learnt about in our story One Night Far From Here.
Hurricane Ophelia did not put us off, we had a super workshop looking closely at the habitat and life of a beaver and had our own personal feed of Slimbridge's Otter. Thank you to all the parent helpers for making this trip possible!