Outdoor Learning

Subject Leader: Mrs Fowler

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!

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.

In summer 2016, the below gives a flavour of the types of activities undertaken:

Year 6 - the children took part in a selection of group activities: archery, orienteering and problem-solving. The children not only showed considerable prowess in front of the archery targets, but they also displayed some fantastic teamwork skills. No team member was left behind on the orienteering and the level of discussion and debate during the problem-solving activities was first class. They are really starting to show a level of maturity that will stand them in good stead when they make the transition to secondary school.

Year 5 - the children undertook some new problems solving activities and archery. It was a beautiful setting, for a most enjoyable day amongst the bluebells.

Year 4 – the children enjoyed tree planting, den building and low ropes. They demonstrated excellent team work skills, particularly when guiding a blindfolded member of their team around the low ropes course. Some of the highlights of the day were the naming of their newly planted trees and the chance to toast marshmallows around the camp fire

Year 3 – the children took part in den building, a low rope trail, planting trees and then archery, channelling their inner Robin Hood in archery or solving puzzles that made the Crystal Maze seem simple. 

Year 2 – the children took part in a variety of activities including team building exercises where they needed to work together to balance a giant see saw and tried to change places on a big log without falling off – a very tricky task!  The instructors were impressed with the way they were able to work as a team.  They also had a go at planting trees, building dens and a highlight for many was toasting marshmallows over a camp fire

Year 1 - the children had a great time in the sunshine at Beggar Bush. They enjoyed den building, stalking deer, exploring the woods for insects and habitats and toasting marshmallows around the fire! The children also had the chance to use their imaginations and creative talents to produce stick and twig art! Spot the electric guitar! Year 1 had another wonderful and fun-filled day at Beggar Bush.

Green for Good Award:

In 2015&16 Christ Church School has taken part in a number of sustainable challenges across the city as part of the European Green Capital City. The school was delighted to be awarded a ‘Green for Good Award’, presented to the children by the Lord Mayor.

As the culmination of the 'One Tree Per Child' initiative that Bristol City Council have been running for the last year, Christ Church School was selected to have one of the 70 'Bristol Whitebeam' trees that the.  This strain of the Whitebeam tree is indigenous to Bristol and grows in the Avon Gorge.  Under the initiative, the children were all earlier in the year offered an apple or pear tree to take home and plant. 

It was lovely for them to be part of the end of this initiative with a Bristol Whitebeam being planted within our playground.

The Bristol Whitebeam, named by the children 'Sir Tree-alot', has been welcomed into his new home at the top of the playground near the pirate ship - a prime spot from whence to watch the fun and games and jousting on the school playground!  Sir Tree-alot is currently very much a baby, but just like our reception children, will grow and flourish into a mature and lovely member of our school community! 

Year 4 were invited to the Downs for the closing ceremony of the Bristol City Council 'One Tree Per Child' planting initiative. They were joined by the Lord Mayor, the Mayor and several other local dignitaries. After a talk about the wildlife on the Downs each class planted their own beech tree and watered and mulched it in.