Encouraging outdoor learning at Okehampton Primary School

Ben Neville, a senior associate in our Islamic Finance Team, recently used one of his CSR Days to volunteer at his local primary school in support of their initiative to encourage more outdoor learning for their pupils. Ben tells us about what he got up to at the school's recent community day.

Encouraging outdoor learning

Okehampton Primary School were reflecting on how the recent pandemic had affected the experiences of their pupils with children missing out on vital opportunities to explore their local environment and make new exciting connections with their learning. The school began an initiative to create vibrant and creative areas within their school to excite the curiosity of the children once again.

To assist with the creation and population of these spaces, the school arranged a community day in July, which I attended using one of my CSR Days.

Getting stuck in

Despite being currently immobile, having fully ruptured my Achilles tendon last week, I was able to get stuck in with helping Miss Cannon, the outdoor education lead, and her team carry out their plans with the 70 pupils and their families that were in attendance.

First, I was tasked with welcoming the arrivals and showing them where to go and what activities they could get involved in. These included: log and pebble painting, papier-mâché sculpting and glass decorating.

Next, I was placed behind the paint station which allowed me to prop my leg up whilst dishing out acrylic paints to various children from 3 to 10 years old.

Finally, I was responsible for cleaning hundreds of used paint brushes – not your usual day at the office!

Ben at the paint station

A resounding success!

The day was a great success and provided the school with lots of resources to hit the ground running with their full outdoor learning curriculum in September, whilst providing the children (and their parents!) with a day of creative fun.

I've used one of my CSR Days to take part in the Virtual 8 Challenge and my second to volunteer at Okehampton Primary School, which shows the sheer variety of opportunities there are to use these days to make a difference in our local communities.