Understanding Corvid-19

It is a difficult time of uncertainty, in the outdoor team we are very aware of how  not understanding things can apply huge stress.

Nobody performs well under too much stress, if we add to this not being able to get outside or to visit your friends, we need to all consider our mental health.

We thought it would be useful to give, hopefully, an easily understood guide to the virus because there are lots of names being used and loads of misinformation on social media.

What do all the names mean?

There are two main names being used in the media for the pandemic we are currently in: COVID-19 and Corona virus. These can be misleading, COVID-19 and Corona are both the name of the disease. The virus has a proper name designated by the World Health Organisation of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2  or SARS-CoV-2 for short.

Why are there different names?

Viruses are named based on their genetic structure by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV).

Diseases are named by the World Health Organisation in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

Why is this important?

The virus is named so scientists can develop tests and vaccines. The disease in named to allow people like Doctors in Health Protection, Civil Servants and politicians to think about prevention, spread, transmission, severity and treatment.

Can I go outside?

You can go outside but you must keep physically distanced from anyone who doesn’t live in your house or family group, this is to prevent the spread of the disease.

You can go outside, if there is an outside space around your house as long as you keep 2m away from anyone who isn’t in you household, you can take exercise there or play. If you are lucky enough to have a garden then playing outside is a great idea.

The current Scottish Government guidelines are :

To enforce social distancing, people in Scotland are being asked to only go outside if they have a ‘reasonable excuse’. These include shopping for necessary food, household and medical supplies, travelling to and from work where working from home is not an option, and daily exercise that adheres to social distancing guidance.

This may change as the crisis goes on.

How long is this going to go on for?

There is no simple answer to this, physical distancing may need to go on for several months. The Scottish Government have said they will keep reviewing it.

I feel very stressed, is there anyone I can talk to or get help?

A good place to look is the Young Mind’s web site.

It is also worth watching this video for a idea of how to face the pandemic

We are going to try and post ideas of things to do outside here and on our Instagram.

Training for Nursery Staff (Part 2)

Tim delivered a train the trainer course to allow practitioners to be trainers for the Forest and Outdoor Kindergarten SCQF level 7, the plan is to embed this training throughout the authority. As in the last post on this training it is based round exploring the three areas of People, Place and Pedagogy; the Who, Where and Why of good practice.

The training was delivered at the Water Wheel Building in the Castle Grounds and the surrounding area and although it was chilly it was a great space to play in.

We started by discussing fun important memories from growing up, and although we were in an outdoor setting most of people memories had an outdoor element to them.

Even with the theoretical content which was needed we tried to make the course as practical as possible to illustrate how the learning through playing can be taken outside.

The aim is for the participants to grow their confidence to take the principles into their nursery setting and encourage others to spend more time outdoors with the young people.

Training for Nursery Staff

Since Tim has come back from doing the Forest Kindergarten Training he has been working with the Early Years team to help them develop their skills.

He ran a pilot course with the combined nursery staff in Tong school and will be running a trainer course in November 2019.

Although the course is called forest it is not just aimed at forests, the training is aimed at helping early years practitioners to take the young people they work with outside more regularly.

The model used is to consider the Place, the People and the Pedagogy;

Considering the Place involves the suitability and the practical steps needed to manage the young people in the place.

The People thinks about who is involved; the young people, the staff, the carers/parents managing their needs and expectations.

Pedagogy is the how what and why we take young people outdoors

A possible visual model:

The objective it to show practitioners the connectivity and to challenge them to consider the elements in their own practice.

This is partly done inside through conversation, which because of time constraints is done inside.

The final session on pedagogy was done outside in the fantastic garden area of the school. The practitioners were given opportunity to play. This, apart from being great fun in the rain, highlighted for this group the importance of child lead learning and how few resources they needed as the environment provides them. They saw imaginative play, social skills development, gross motor skills, fine motor skills and peer learning happen within their own group and considered how they could use this in their own practice.

Small world play





Outdoor Play in Uig

Sgoil  Araich Uig have been developing the outdoor area at the back of the school as a place they can go and learn through outdoor play. As part of this Tim was over and had the chance to discuss developments, spend some time exploring the area and playing.

If you would like help developing the area round your nursery for outdoor play please contact Tim or Isi

Busy Time

The team have been busy outside so we haven’t had much chance to update the blog, so expect a flurry of posts when we get an opportunity.

Isi has found a great resource on the Virtual Hebrides Site 

We particularly love bumble bees so the page about them was very useful but the page on wild flowers is also helpful in trying to identify the plants you might find. It is a well researched site and if you are trying to identify things you have found when you are outside in the Hebrides it is worth a visit.

New canoes and kayaks at Sgoil Dhalabroig (Daliburgh School)

In April Sgoil Dhalabroig (Daliburgh School), in South Uist, took delivery of their new fleet of kayaks and canoes to use on the loch next to the school as part of their development of their outdoor spaces. (They were helped by SSE Scottish Hydro).

To allow the staff to run sessions Tim ran a training and assessment session and then some sessions for the pupils. This a fantastic resource and they have plans to develop the area round the loch with the community.

With other schools having lochs next to them this is a model which could be developed there to increase Outdoor Learning. If you would like help please contact the Outdoor Learning team.

Uig Sgoil Araich

As part of helping the Sgoil Araich in Uig to develop their outdoor play Tim went over with the fire pan and a tarp for an hour to look at the fire triangle, set a fire and then toast some grapes and peppers followed by a story round the fire.


This is going to lead to more work in the school and work on developing the area at the back of the school for outdoor play.