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The Learning Outside the Classroom Project (LOC) has really gained momentum following extra funding from UCST for the building of an outdoor classroom and an amphitheatre.
The amphitheatre has been built into the side of the hill
adjacent to the Prep School playground, providing a lovely setting for
outdoor performances and a quiet area for children to sit at playtimes.
It is already being used as an outdoor classroom and a meeting area for
all kinds of activities.
An outdoor classroom, similar to the type pictured below, (named by the children as 'LOC HQ') is being built at the top of the Long Walk, in the woods, with a view into the woods on one side and a view across to the pavilion on the other side. It is quite a magical setting and almost equidistant from the Senior School and the Prep School.
Our maintenance and grounds team have customised the building in line with ideas from the children. These have included putting the building on short stilts and adding louvered slats on the windows and adding doors, so that it can become a hide and a closed space as required.
When completed, 'LOC HQ' will seat a whole class and will have a decked area around it and a ramped access.
In the meantime work is continuing to create exciting curriculum trails for subjects such as maths and science. This term will also see the construction of trail boxes on poles that will house treasure hunts and curriculum resources needed for different subjects. In this way the trails can be refreshed for different activities throughout the year.
Sites have been identified for placing bird box webcams, data logging and other equipment, which has been ordered to enhance learning in geography and science projects. We hope that we will be able to share footage of the bird boxes via the HCS website – assuming that the birds like their new accommodation! Teachers are building banks of educational resources for their subjects as well as visiting other schools to share our expertise and enthusiasm for this special area of learning that celebrates all that is special about Hampshire Collegiate School’s unique setting.
In the Autumn term, Prep School children took part in a sponsored walk that raised over £2000 for charity. Last term they held a ‘Woodland Day’ to raise money for both the Woodland Trust and our own LOC projects. The Woodland Trust give us trees and hedging plants and many useful resources throughout the year. On the day, the children helped our grounds team to plant silver birches and red stemmed dogwood shrubs. Families were invited to sponsor a fruit tree for a ‘Memory Orchard’ which were also planted on that day. We hope that the children will return each year to see their tree and remember the happy times they had at HCS learning about the environment and developing a lifelong love of the outdoors.