We offer outdoor learning sessions at Perivale Wood for primary school classes.

The sessions are delivered by our environmental science teachers.

All sessions are based on the national curriculum.
Groups can come to the reserve for a half day (two hour) session or for a full day.

A half day session costs £150 and a full day session costs £260.

During your visit you have use of our Bluebell Centre, which includes a classroom for 30 children, a boot room to store any belongings and toilets.

We also cater for SEND groups. Please fill in our enquiry form for more information about our SEND sessions.

Summaries for each session and our booking form can be found below. The half day sessions can be combined to make a full day.

Curriculum links are outlined below.
All sessions also contribute to the citizenship curriculum helping to teach about what improves and harms pupils’ local and natural environments and about some of the ways people look after them.

Exploring the seasons

Many of our sessions use a story as a springboard from which we explore the seasons. This way we capture the children’s imaginations as we explore the woodland environment.

Examples of the sessions we offer are described below, but we can offer tailor made sessions based on other books such as ‘I Love Bugs’ by Emma Dodd or ‘We’re going on a Leaf Hunt’ by Steve Metzger.

Superworm

At the start of this session we will read ‘Superworm’ by Julia Donaldson and discuss the creatures in the story. The children will then go on minibeast hunt and will identify the invertebrates seen. They will be taught how to handle invertebrates and observe them closely. The children will then have the opportunity to make a wormery which they can take back to their school. The session finishes with a team work activity to build a trap for Wizard Lizard.

Teeny Weeny Tadpole

The children will listen to the story Teeny Weeny Tadpole by Sheridan Cain. They will then explore the pond habitat looking for tadpoles and other animals found in the pond. The children may also have the opportunity to find other animals that jump in the meadow, such as grasshoppers, using sweep nets. Finally, the children will make a frog picture using leaves to take back to school.

Year 1 or Year 2: Bog Baby – Animals and habitats of Perivale Wood

This full day session is based on the book ‘Bog Baby’ by Jeanne Willis. After listening to the story, pupils will explore whether Bog Baby is a mammal, amphibian, bird or reptile by observing examples from these groups found in Perivale Wood and discussing their features and adaptations to their environment. They will also learn about the habitat that Bog Baby lives in (the bluebell wood and the pond) and the creatures he lives with.
Activities include: pond dipping, bug hunting, making leaf rubbings, making a habitat for Bog Baby using natural materials, and if lucky an encounter with a slow worm!

National Curriculum Statutory Requirements :
Pupils should be taught to:
1. identify and name a variety of common animals including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals
2. identify and name a variety of common animals that are carnivores, herbivores and omnivores
3. identify and name a variety of common wild and garden plants, including deciduous and evergreen trees
4. identify and describe the basic structure of a variety of common flowering plants, including trees.

Statutory practical skills covered:
1. observing closely, using simple equipment
2. identifying and classifying
3. using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions

Year 1: Wild flowers and trees

During this half day session, pupils will experience and observe the natural world through the exploration and identification of common wild flowers and both deciduous and evergreen trees. They will use mini microscopes and hand lenses to look closely at different leaves to gain an awareness of biodiversity. The pupils will make their own ID sheet by making leaf rubbings. The pupils will have the opportunity to calculate the age of the oak trees in Perivale Wood and consider the importance of a woodland to animal life by looking for the invertebrates found underneath logs.

National Curriculum Statutory Requirements :
Pupils should be taught to:
1. identify and name a variety of common wild and garden plants, including deciduous and evergreen trees
2. identify and describe the basic structure of a variety of common flowering plants, including trees.

Statutory practical skills covered:
1. asking simple questions and recognising that they can be answered in different ways
2. observing closely, using simple equipment
3. performing simple tests
4. identifying and classifying
5. using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions
6. gathering and recording data to help in answering questions.

Year 2: Habitats

During this half day session pupils will investigate the living things found in a woodland habitat. They will look for signs of animal life during a woodland walk and will spend quiet time in the woodland using their senses to answer questions about their environment. Pupils will identify different trees found in the woodland and discuss how woodland animals and plants depend on each other for survival. Pupils will then investigate a log microhabitat to discover the variety of invertebrates that live there. They will consider what the invertebrates eat and create simple woodland food chains as a class.

National Curriculum Statutory Requirements :
Pupils should be taught to:
1. identify that most living things live in habitats to which they are suited and describe how different habitats provide for the basic needs of different kinds of animals and plants, and how they depend on each other
2. identify and name a variety of plants and animals in their habitats, including microhabitats
3. describe how animals obtain their food from plants and other animals, using the idea of a simple food chain, and identify and name different sources of food.

Statutory practical skills covered:
1. observing closely, using simple equipment
2. identifying and classifying
3. using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions
4. gathering and recording data to help in answering questions.

Year 2: Living, dead or never alive

During this half day session, pupils will begin the session with a woodland walk scavenger hunt to find natural materials. They will then carry out a series of sorting and classifying activities where they will decide whether the objects they have collected are living, dead or have never been alive. In addition to the objects collected they will also have the opportunity to examine a fox skull and a preserved slow worm. Pupils will then discuss the life processes that are common to all living things and take time to observe some of these processes in a woodlouse as it explores a microhabitat created by the pupils themselves.

National Curriculum Statutory Requirements :
Pupils should be taught to:
1. explore and compare the differences between things that are living, dead, and things that have never been alive

Statutory practical skills covered:
1. observing closely, using simple equipment
2. performing simple tests
3. identifying and classifying
4. using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions
5. gathering and recording data to help in answering questions.

KS1: The Victorians and perivale wood

This half day session can also be delivered at a KS2 level.

Perivale Wood is an interesting location to study the Victorians because the top of the reserve is an old Victorian rubbish dump. During the session pupils will visit the rubbish dump and observe the differences in vegetation compared to the rest of the reserve. They will then look at some finds from the rubbish dump, including poison bottles, ink bottles and oyster shells.
The Selborne Society who own the nature reserve was formed at the end of the Victorian era to help raise awareness of the problem of bird persecution for their feathers. Pupils can explore how feathers were used in Victorian times for fashion and how attitudes to conservation began to change following drastic declines in bird populations. Pupils will also learn how to identify birds from their feathers and will make their own fashion items using sustainable feathers.
Pupils will consider how the landscape of Perivale and the nature reserve have changed since Victorian times and why.

National Curriculum Statutory Requirements :
This session covers some of the aims for the History National Curriculum:
1. know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world.
2. understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses
3. understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed
4. gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales.

Year 3: Flowering plants

Pupils will begin this half day session in a wild flower meadow where they will identify different wild flowers and the different parts of a plant and will think about and discuss the function of each of those parts.
Perivale Wood is an important site for bluebells and this session is especially wonderful during the bluebell season in April and May.
Pupils will look closely at a bluebell or buttercup to identify the male and female parts. They will compare the stucture of a tree to the structure of a flowering plant. Pupils will use sweep nets to find pollinators (e.g. flies and beetles) and explore pollination, and seed formation. Finally, pupils will play a pollinator team game.

National Curriculum Statutory Requirements:
Pupils should be taught to:
1. identify and describe the functions of different parts of flowering plants: roots, stem/trunk, leaves and flowers
2. explore the part that flowers play in the life cycle of flowering plants, including pollination, seed formation and seed dispersal.

Statutory practical skills covered:
1. making systematic and careful observations
2. using results to draw simple conclusions,
3. identifying differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes
4. using straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings.

Year 4: Living things and their habitats

During this full or half day session, pupils will have the chance to investigate the different invertebrates found in a woodland or a meadow. If coming for a full day, pupils can investigate both habitats. They will learn how to classify invertebrates into groups based on their common features and will use a simple key to identify invertebrates in the field. The results will raise questions about the positive effects of nature reserves and the negative effects of urban development on invertebrate species.

National Curriculum Statutary Requirements :
Pupils should be taught to:
1. recognise that living things can be grouped in a variety of ways
2. explore and use classification keys to help group, identify and name a variety of living things in their local and wider environment
3. recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things.

Statutory practical skills covered:
1. asking relevant questions and using different types of scientific enquiries to answer them
2. setting up simple practical enquiries, comparative and fair tests
3. making systematic and careful observations
4. gathering, recording, classifying and presenting data in a variety of ways to help in answering questions
5. recording findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys, bar charts, and tables
6. reporting on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions
7. using results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions
8. identifying differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes
9. using straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings.

Year 3 and 4: Poetry – The Lost Words

The Oxford Junior Dictionary removed 20 nature words as they were regarded irrelevant to today’s children. In response Robert Macfarlane wrote The Lost Words – a collection of beautiful acrostic poetry exploring these words. During this half day session the pupils will explore these poems and use their imagination to describe acorns, holly and ivy as well as writing their own acrostic poems about bluebells or perhaps a conversation between a cricket and a grasshopper!

National Curriculum statutory requirements:
Pupils should be taught to develop positive attitudes to reading and understanding of what they read by:
1. listening to and discussing a wide range of poetry
2. preparing poems to read aloud and to perform, showing understanding through intonation, tone, volume and action
3. discussing words and phrases that capture the reader’s interest and imagination
4. recognising some different forms of poetry.

Year 5: Life cycles and reproduction – Animals and Plants

During this full day session pupils will explore metamorphosis by investigating the lifecycles of a frog and invertebrates found in the pond. They will then use sweep nets in the meadow to find a variety of insects at different stages of their life cycle.

Perivale Wood is home to thousands of bluebells, which flower in April. During the afternoon pupils will investigate the life cycle of either a bluebell or buttercup in this beautiful setting. They will identify the male and female parts of the flower and learn about how pollination occurs. They will learn about how some plants such as bluebells carry out both sexual and asexual reproduction.
Finally, the pupils will learn about the life cycle of a bluetit, observe different nests and embark on a nest building challenge!

National Curriculum Statutary Requirements :
Pupils should be taught to:
1. describe the differences in the life cycles of a mammal, an amphibian, an insect and a bird
2. describe the life process of reproduction in some animals.
3. describe the life process of reproduction in some plants

Statutory practical skills covered:
1. identifying scientific evidence that has been used to support or refute ideas or arguments.

Year 6: Living things and their habitats

During this full day session pupils will begin by building on their learning about grouping living things in year 4 by looking at the classification system in more detail. They will focus on the species found in Perivale Wood and will complete activities to decide into which group these species should be classified. The work of Carl Linnaeus will be discussed. Pupils will then examine the classification of invertebrates in more detail and will devise a key that will be used to classify unknown invertebrate species into an invertebrate group. The class will then carry out an Biodiversity Survey which looks at the biodiversity of invertebrates in a hedge. The survey provides an opportunity for pupils to carry out a  scientific survey where the outcome is not known (it is not a ‘fair test’ style of science practical). The data collected will be used to determine the condition of the hedge investigated.

National Curriculum Statutary Requirements :
Pupils should be taught to:
1. describe how living things are classified into broad groups according to common observable characteristics and based on similarities and differences, including microorganisms, plants and animals
2. give reasons for classifying plants and animals based on specific characteristics.

Statutory practical skills covered:
1. planning different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary
2. recording data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, scatter graphs, bar and line graphs
3. using test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests
4. reporting and presenting findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of and degree of trust in results, in oral and written forms such as displays and other presentations.