Portsmouth High School GDST celebrated Outdoor Classroom Day joining 100,000s of children around the world to celebrate the joy of the outdoors.
Outdoor Classroom Day is a global movement to make time outdoors part of every child’s day. At Portsmouth High School the girls spend much of their time outside in Forest School lessons, Beach School lessons or enjoying the magical grounds of the Prep School.
‘I love playing outside in the sunshine and even the rain and getting muddy,’ said Kitty, aged 5. ‘It’s my favourite thing to do.’
Beatrice, aged 8, added:
‘Forest School helps me relax and enjoy nature which is really important to notice during our busy days at school.’
An Outdoor Classroom was installed at the Prep School two years ago and this half term two brand new Outdoor Reading Rooms were installed at the Senior School in memory of a much loved drama teacher, Mrs Rosemary Comrie.
‘We are so fortunate to have such large and mature gardens at Portsmouth High School right in the heart of a busy, bustling city,’ said Mrs Joan West, Forest and Beach School Lead.
‘Green space is so important for us as all but particularly for children. Being outside supports a healthy and active lifestyle whilst offering crucial opportunities for exploration and imaginary play. Children who are exposed to green spaces learn to care for the world around them and look after their environment. Good mental health and well-being is fostered during exposure to natural light, trees and plants. During these testing times there is no place I’d rather be than round a campfire or planting bulbs with a group of girls.’
In the Senior School girls have been enjoying the new space.
Matilda, 11, said:
‘I enjoying sitting in the very calming room listening to the sounds of being outside.’
Lauren, 16, added:
‘This is a lovely outside space to share with friends and spend time immersed in books.’
Head of Portsmouth High School, Mrs Jane Prescott, added:
‘Our youngest pupils enjoy using our outdoor space to forage for leaves and insects; the learning is all year round and develops as they grow older. They soon are able to form their own assessments of risk whilst pushing their own boundaries through exploration. The older girls can take time out of their busy school schedules to read or draw outside. There are studies that suggests regular outdoor activity puts children ahead academically than their more sedentary peers. Certainly there is much to be learned about the environment and children are much more likely to look after their play parks and grounds if they understand the harmful impact of litter, for example.
‘“There is not such a thing as bad weather just the wrong clothes” my geography teacher used to say as we measured and observed the natural landscape on field trips sometimes in a gale. I might not have thought it at the time but she was right. All we need is the right outdoor gear and a positive attitude to enjoy the benefits of the great outdoors.’