Learning outdoors in the Cairngorms National Park is proving to be a winning combination as schools in the area celebrate their success in the first ever Outdoor Learning Awards.
Organised by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), the Outdoor Learning Awards are set to be a biennial event. Winners receive a certificate, £300 to spend on outdoor learning and a flag to proudly show visitors and the community their achievements.
Winners of Lower Primary category, Aviemore Primary School, are extremely delighted to be able to hoist up their flag outside their brand new building. They have been studying biodiversity and produced an interesting report about taking part in the RSPB ‘Every Child Outdoors’ event.
Presenting them with their prizes, CNPA vice-convener Brian Wood said: “There is no better outdoor classroom than the Cairngorms National Park and the entries we received for the Outdoor Learning Competition demonstrate that pupils and teachers are very inspired by the environment around us. As a former teacher I know that getting children into the outdoors for learning can help stir their imaginations and capture their interest.
“We are very fortunate to have this resource on our doorstep and from science to history and from geography to art; there isn’t a subject in the curriculum that can’t be taken outdoors. We hope that the competition will help raise awareness among young people about what the National Park is about and the responsibility we all share for looking after this special place.”
Other winners were Abernethy Nursery who produced a big Forest School Book containing lots of photos of them enjoying local woodlands and Abernethy Primary School who submitted their report of the local tourism industry in the area. Grantown Grammar School were also successful with their competition entry which was a film all about their John Muir Award experiences detailing what they had learned. The Bridge Intensive Support Unit in Inverness were awarded for their powerpoint presentation which showed the activities they took part in the Cairngorms National Park and detailing what they had learned from their experiences.
The competition was open to schools and education facilities from all over Scotland who had used the Cairngorms National Park as a topic for their outdoor learning either remotely or by visiting the Park. The next competition will be in 2014.
Alan Smith, Outdoor Learning Officer at the CNPA commented: “This has been a great start to the Cairngorms National Park Outdoor Learning Awards, we received entries that showed the breadth of outdoor learning opportunities in the National Park and they were all of a very high standard; very well done to everyone who took part!”