All the outdoor facilities lead to different opportunities to weave into lessons, it allows the students to realise Science is not just a classroom activity, it is the whole world around them.
Mr Baker, Head of Science
We’re very lucky to have over 260 acres of beautiful Sussex forest and fields to call our own. The soul of our school and our outdoor classroom, we spend countless hours enjoying it — we run everything from forest schools and mini-beast hunts to nature walks and orienteering.
It is not just the teachers that are able to enjoy our Woods. We ALL make full use of this very special resource in many different ways, one of which is Forest Schools. Forest Schools at Great Walstead is a unique experience for all our pupils and is a natural extension to our very own 'outdoor classroom', which we utilise as much as possible. Whether it is for Eco-Schools, Woods Walks, Nature Trails, 'Capture the Flag', Orienteering, Cross Country Events, our very own Great Walstead Half-Marathon or for the pinnacle of every Senior pupils' year, the much anticipated Q-Day, our Woods are the soul of our school.
The Juniors use the woods for walks on a weekly basis. This allows the children vital space for free play in a secure but open setting, which we believe is crucial for their emotional and social development.
The Middle and Senior departments enjoy the woods for cross country, as well as occasional orienteering sessions and for the vital task of collecting wood for bonfire night!
All the school use the woodlands to support their exploration of nature - mini-beast hunts a speciality - and, for the older children, some science lessons are specifically scheduled to take place in the woods.
The children from Years 3-8 spend time camp-building in preparation for their special day:
For the Juniors there is 'Mudlarks' Day, for the Middles 'Woodlanders' and for the Seniors 'Q Day'.
The children cook their own food in the woods and take part in different team activities and games. For 'Q Day' the Seniors have the added excitement of spending the night in their camps and taking part in a Night Operation as well as a series of daytime challenges which might include orienteering, a treasure hunt, archery, swimming competitions and teamwork challenges.
For many pupils these events are a highlight in their memories of Great Walstead. They impart invaluable experience in leadership, team work and outdoor skills which they carry on to their next schools and beyond.