Category Archives: Uncategorized

RSPB Big Schools Birdwatch 2024

The RSPB Big Schools Birdwatch takes place January 8 – February 19th, 2024. It’s an easy way to support learning outcomes of all kinds (while taking part in one of the UK’s largest citizen science projects). Check out the video that explains it here and get your class registered to take part here. It’s simple!
And if you haven’t done so already, there is plenty of time to register for the RSPB Schools Wild Challenge Wild Challenge (
East Ayrshire schools have been using this wider achievement award to support nature connections, learning across the curriculum and as part of a variety projects to develop school outdoor spaces as rich environments for learning.  See further suggestions for developing your outdoor spaces Greening the School Estate in East Ayrshire | Learning Outdoors Support Team (

Outdoor Classroom Day, 3rd November

EAC Learning Outdoor Support Team sees every day as an outdoor learning day! But if you are looking for inspiration visit the Outdoor Classroom Day website, take a look at our 20 Minute Activities Early Level20 Minute Activities First Level and  20 Minute Activities Second Level planners on the EAC LOST blog or sign up to or catch up with the monthly EAC LOST Newsletter.

Shelters for EAC Schools

It’s great to see so many teachers and schools embracing the opportunity to learn and teach outdoors.

We want to help in anyway we can and one of the supports we have put in place is high quality, long lasting shelters!  This  quick  movie  will  show  you  how   to  look  after  your  shelter. Risk  Assessments  and  further  support can  be  found  at  the  bottom  of  this  page.



Pupils at Dunlop Primary school enjoyed putting up their shelter in the bright sunshine!






Catrine primary pupils are loving their new shelter.






Our team had help from some Superhero’s at Mount Carmel Primary school!



Logan Primary have put their shelter up near the Chicken shed and polytunnel – what a diverse playground they have!




Onthank pupils helped our team to set up their shelter!





St Sophia’s pupils helped to put up the shelter, they have lots of new exciting plans for their playground…watch this space!


Hillhead Primary have  put their  shelter  next  to  their  newly  designed garden  area,  it  looks  great!


Hurlford Primary have put their shelter next to the polytunnel.




Fenwick have placed their shelter in the wildlife garden.



Head Teacher Mrs Yorston at Patna Primary can’t wait to get out and teach in their new shelter!




Ochiltree pupils now have a covered castle!



Newmilns staff are really pleased to be able to use the shelter on the big playing field.




Park School liked their shelter so much they purchased a second one! Now even more children can be outside enjoying the fresh air.




Shortlees love their shelter so much they have 3 spread around the school estate!



Gargieston pupils are really pleased with their shelter – it is close to the wildlife garden so they will be able to bird watch from there!


Hillside pupils will enjoy this new space, it will feel like camping out on an adventure!



Muirkirk shelter is sure to be tested! The wind can blow!



St Joseph Academy PE team were happy with this new feature, the perfect spot to teach orienteering from 🙂



St Patricks have done a great job of erecting their shelter in the wildlife garden.  They will be able to study nature really close up!


Mauchline are looking forward to reading more stories under the shelter!



Soon we will have shelters out to: Dunlop Primary, Whatriggs Primary, Kilmaurs Primary and Dalrymple Primary.

Outdoor shelters  Risk assessment

Please note: In Yellow Wind Warnings shelters consider removing and directly monitor wind strength and direction. In Orange Wind Warning staff must remove the shelter.

If you need support for repairs to your shelter or further advice please use the contact form below.

If you are an East Ayrshire school and would like a shelter please contact us.



Geocaching for Blue Switch Day with Hillside School

Hillside School Seniors Class – Geocaching for Blue Switch Day – 5/5/21

What was the event?

Hillside School, Cumnock and East Ayrshire Council Learning Outdoors Support Team (LOST) partnered up to celebrate the 21st anniversary of Blue Switch Day.

To mark the event, pupils from the Senior Class at Hillside School went to the Woodroad Park, Cumnock to use GPS technology on the Geocache App to search for two Geocache treasures within a short walk from their school.

What is Blue Switch Day?

It is no secret, that Global Positioning System (GPS) is a huge part of our lives.  When we find the fastest way to work, check the weather at our location, tag our location on social media, or order a dinner from an app, GPS is responsible for it all.  We can even add finding a geocache to this list!  This is all thanks to a change made to GPS in the year 2000.  When GPS was first developed, it was only available for use by the U.S Military.  Eventually, GPS was opened up to civilians, but with Selective Availability.  This meant that although everyone had access, the accuracy was lowered for civilians.  On 2nd May 2000, the U.S. government ‘flipped the switch’ so high-accuracy GPS was available to everyone.  For reasons unknown, geocachers know this as Blue Switch Day.  However, there really wasn’t a blue switch!

Opening up accurate GPS technology to everyone around the globe launched a flow of innovation and new cutting-edge technology that changed the world forever.  It created an entirely new world of possibilities.  It’s not a coincidence the first geocache was hidden on May 3, 2000, and the game of geocaching was born!

What happened?

Two senior pupils from Hillside School, a classroom assistant and LOST staff used GPS technology and the Geocache app on an iPhone to navigate a walk from the school on the Barony Campus, Cumnock to the Woodroad Park.  Once in the park, pupils used the GPS with support to navigate to the location of the Geocache treasure hidden within the park.  They had to work out which way they were facing, the direction they had to travel and how near or far they were to the treasure.  Once the location was found, pupils had to ID a tree from a description and photographs to find the correct one and then get on their hands and knees to explore the base and find the treasure!  The two pupils were then able to retrieve a piece of the treasure hidden and replace it with something of their own, as is Geocaching custom, before returning it to its hiding place to be found by others.

Willie White, Education Officer, said, “Could there be a better way of demonstrating science, technology and maths combined in the real world than geocaching?  Pupils understand the significance of these subjects through a fun, outdoor activity; who doesn’t love finding hidden treasure?  Using the free app on any phone to adventure out and find hidden places on your doorstep to all over the world, really opens the door to a lifetime of exploration and learning, but warned, it can be addictive!”

Other East Ayrshire schools will celebrate the 21st Blue Switch Birthday by placing 21 new geocaches at significant cultural and heritage locations around East Ayrshire for everyone to explore.  Delivered through the Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership and organised by EAC Learning Outdoors Support Team, many of the new caches will highlight special places recently restored and returned to community access as a legacy of East Ayrshire’s coal mining heritage.

Geocaching is worldwide and accessible.  It is free to anyone with a phone, if you want to try; download the Geocache App, register an account, find a geocache and share your experience, just like these pupils.

Case study compiled by:

Alyson Conquer, COACh Teacher, East Ayrshire Learning Outdoors Support Team

With thanks to:

Hillside School pupils

Janet McKechnie, Principal Teacher, Hillside School

Mary McEwan, Classroom Assistant, Hillside School

Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership

Further information can be found at:


Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership:

Blue Switch Day Blog Post:

What is geocaching?:

Shape Hunt Resources

Staring another week with another brand new resource ready for use by you in your remote learning, or as part of your planning for school return.

We have created three different shape hunts, with accompanying worksheets, differentiated for Early, First and Second Levels.  This activity allows learning about shape to be extended and to be explored and applied in real life contexts.  We have also added a SWAY resource that could be used to supplement the second level activity.

Find more information and the resources here:

Daily Walk – Shape Hunts

Coming up next week @LOST

Welcome to another Friday!  Well done to all of you for all that you are doing!

Next week, we have one of our most popular webinars coming up – Make your own Resources.  This webinar will support you in making your own practical resources for teaching outdoors using easily found, cheap materials.  There will be something to suit every age, stage and ability and plenty of hints and tips coming from our team members.

The webinar is on Tuesday 9th February, starting at 4pm and running until 5pm and will be hosted on Google Meet.

Visit our Webinars page to find the link to the meeting and we hope to see you on Tuesday.

The Jack Family achieve John Muir Award Success

We are excited to share another example of fantastic learning and parental engagement from across East Ayrshire.  Roady Jack, brother Riley, who both attend Shortlees Primary and their family achieved their John Muir Family Award through lockdown and put together this video to share and celebrate all the hard work they put in.  This is a really brilliant example of outdoor learning in action.  Well done to all the Jack family and thank you to the family, Miss Cardie at Shortlees Primary and Lorna Sloan, John Muir Trust for letting us share this video.  

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with any of us here at LOST if you have been inspired by the Jack family’s journey and would like to learn how you, your family or your pupils could take part in their John Muir Award, even during lockdown.


Write a Guide to a Wild Place

Lots of people are out exploring their local area at the moment, as a way to get fresh air and clear their head through lockdown. Our ‘Write a Guide to a Wild Place’ lesson encourages learners to connect with and explore the spaces that they are walking in to share what they have discovered with others through a guide or presentation. This lesson can be differentiated to suit both First and Second Level learners and we have created a generic Sway presentation which can be used and extended to suit your classes.

Find out more and access resources here: Write a Guide to a Wild Place

Well done Galston Primary!

We are really excited to be able to share a fantastic film created by Galston Primary School’s P7 class as part of a film course they took part in for their John Muir Award. What a brilliant example of sharing learning and super work done by all! The class have also submitted the film to a competition about taking action on climate change which may be shown in front of world leaders at COP26 – the global United Nations summit about climate change and how countries plan to tackle the issue, which takes place in Scotland later this year.  More information to follow in the coming weeks. You can watch the video by following this link: