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Crops, rabbits and lambs - Wymondham's Ashleigh Primary School celebrates outdoor learning programme

PUBLISHED: 17:45 14 June 2017 | UPDATED: 17:45 14 June 2017

Beth Brais, centre, teaching assistant at Ashleigh Primary School with pupils learning outside on the school's 'farm'. Picture: Lee Blanchflower

Beth Brais, centre, teaching assistant at Ashleigh Primary School with pupils learning outside on the school's 'farm'. Picture: Lee Blanchflower

Blanc Photography 2013

Children at a Norfolk school have been getting up close and personal with the natural world as part of an innovative outdoor learning programme.

Beth Brais, centre, teaching assistant at Ashleigh Primary School with pupils learning outside on the school's 'farm'. Picture: Lee BlanchflowerBeth Brais, centre, teaching assistant at Ashleigh Primary School with pupils learning outside on the school's 'farm'. Picture: Lee Blanchflower

And now Wymondham’s Ashleigh Primary School have celebrated the scheme with an activity day where parents were invited to join in at the school’s ‘farm’ along with their children.

Beth Brais, a teaching assistant at Ashleigh, said the farm allowed children to work with chickens, rabbits, crops and sometimes lambs.

They even have a school dog.

Ms Brais said: “Children learn to be vulnerable and loving in a way they can’t get from being inside.

“Taking a nurturing and calming approach helps children to love learning.

“Children learn to value well-being, becoming confident, curious, creative learners with a growth mind-set – not a closed mind-set.”

Ms Brais said she spoken to hundreds of teachers, social workers and others about the benefits of outdoor learning at a Thrive Forging New Connections conference in Newmarket on May 24.

She said outdoor learning was important for the area as it had a strong agricultural heritage.

Ms Brais said: “People were intrigued at Ashleigh Primary School’s experience of using a school ‘farm’ as ‘soft fascination’ that nurtures and calms children, while stimulating learning in a range of subjects.

“With the farming industry so dominant in Norfolk, it helps children to understand business and life skills that are likely to be a big part of their future.”

Ms Brais is a practitioner of a teaching method called ‘the Thrive approach’ which aims to help children develop into happy, confident and creative young people who are ready and open to learning.

She said: “By applying the Thrive approach to teaching both inside and outside the classroom we take this nurturing approach to teaching that enables children to love learning and flourish to the best of their abilities.”

Diana Dewing, managing director of Thrive, said: “We believe that supporting children’s emotional and social development is as important as helping them master maths and English.

“We aim to engage with professionals and parents in the East of England to make this a reality for every young future.”

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