Primary maths outdoors

Salehurst Primary School

Salehurst C of E Primary School’s Ofsted inspection set them on a quest to improve their Reception class outdoor area. They soon discovered how Outlast could be used to extend their outdoor learning, boosting communication, cooperation, and even maths skills. Perhaps best of all, children who were shy when sitting indoors felt empowered to learn and play with others outside.

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We have a 190 children on roll here, a good Ofsted, we're very proud of our school and in particular, I think it's really important that the children are given lots of creative opportunities. One of the things they mentioned in the Ofsted report, as I say, it was a good report, but they did say that we needed to work on the outside area for the reception children. So that's something that we worked hard to develop over the last year or so. One thing that we found particularly useful is the Outlast blocks.

They've been a great success because they're so versatile, you can cover so many different areas from early years curriculum by using the blocks, and the children absolutely love them.

The children love the Outlast blocks. As soon as we open the outside area in the morning, they go straight to it. And what we like is that we can link it into our topic. We've got a very boy heavy class this year, so they love making racing cars, and we really encourage them to make number plates and road signs. So we get lots of maths in that way and writing in that way, you can see their minds going, what we're going to make this time, what should we do today and with just a little bit of encouragement, they are straight in there, so you can model it once and they go, oh, yeah, great idea.

I'm going to do that myself now, which is fantastic. We had some last year who really linked into the maths because the Outlast blocks have got the different sizes. And there was one girl who was building a floor for her boat and she said, "Oh! I need a piece with 8 on" realised there was none left and went, "Oh, I can use two bits of four." So we got all the addition and the doubling that we'd been doing in maths and it's like, yes, we wouldn't have got that if we didn't have the blocks of the different size, the longer ones and the different number of holes in. So that was amazing.

Some of the children were reluctant to communicate with the other children. At first, they didn't know each other very well, but as soon as they saw the blocks and saw something that some of the other children were doing, they thought, that looks cool. I really want to do that. They started talking to them, saying, Can I play and really saying what we're doing? What shall I do next? How can I help? And just really spoke to them that way. So the children who are quite shy in the more formal setting where we sat on the carpet, they don't like to put their hand up.

They really kind of coming to their own when they're playing out here using we Outlast.

The first thing you notice with the Outlast blocks is the quality they're really made well, they're nice to the touch, their weather proof, and they're really nice to handle for the children. They joined together in so many different ways that they're really versatile. The children love playing with them because the only limit is their imagination, so they can make so many different things. They've already made things like a pirate ship, a racing car, a shop, a house, all sorts of things like that, as well as just apparatus to balance on and for their physical development.

So, as I say, it covers so many different areas of the curriculum for the children. And I absolutely love it.
Outdoor, Maths
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