Scottish Natural Heritage are always coming up with creative ideas for how we can explore and enjoy nature on our doorstep. Their Simple Pleasures campaign materials include activities for young adults which use things easily found in nature to inspire enjoyable outdoor tasks.
My favourite idea is the bag dangle, a lovely collection of activities all collected together in a little booklet that is easy to hang on a bag or backpack for quick access. I have printed mine off and put them in a jar as separate activities – I have taken to delving in and picking one out to carry with me into my busy days – there is always an opportunity to try things out as I am travelling around.
Go and explore the Simple Pleasures section of the SNH website here. Try out some activities and post a comment or two here to let us know how you get on.
One of the most innovative, crazy and exciting projects (and teams of people) I have come across in a long while is Mission Explore.
The idea is to inspire, take part in, record and communicate as wide a variety of missions into the outdoors as possible. Some of these are themed, some progressive, some challenging, some creative, some totally mad !
Go visit the Mission Explore site: http://www.missionexplore.net/ – get together with some friends – start and complete some missions of your own. Some missions have strong links to curricular learning particularly for secondary schools. Creative, playful and adventuresome learning at its best !
There is something very lovely about growing your own fruit, picking and eating it. But growing an orchard full of plums, pears and apples also produces many benefits for learning. Great article in the Scotsman about a programme from Fruitful Schools which aims to create an orchard in every nursery, primary and sceondary school in Scotland. Read the article here and find out more about how they plan to realise their goal, as well as some great examples from schools that have already begun to establish their orchard and to develop rich learning experiences from that context.
You can also visit the Fruitful Schools website: http://www.fruitfulschools.com/ as well as the School Orchards national glow group here, where you will find lots of resources and materials to inspire you to get started with growing fruit.
Here’s the link to the recent TESS article on Thornlie Primary school, and the impact of their natural play work on key areas of school life.
The link to the other report I mentioned a the recent national network day. More adventurous and risky nature play REDUCES accidents in a Glasgow school. http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/Naturalplaycentralscotland.pdf/$FILE/Naturalplaycentralscotland.pdf
Here’s the link to the recent TESS article, which describes one of the most interesting school playgrounds in Scotland – and its impact on some very signficant issues. http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6133983
HSE have launched their new and improved Education web pages which can be found on HSE’s main website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/services/education/index.htm
This microsite has been updated as part of HSE’s on-going project to rationalise and update their guidance material. As well as revising existing pages they have also added several new sections for example Health and Safety checklist for classrooms. You’ll also find the High Level Statement on tackling the myths about health and safety law being a barrier to school trips and outdoor learning activities, including case studies about school trips.
Another new feature which has been added to the web pages is an e-Bulletin where interested parties can sign up to receive automatic notification via e-mail of any updates to the Education web pages, thereby helping users to keep up -to-date on key additions to online guidance. If you are interested in subscribing to the e-Bulletin, please follow the instructions in the following link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/services/education/subscribe.htm.
We will be looking at whole school approaches to outdoor learning through our Building Your Curriculum Outside and In regional events for head teachers and deputes. These events will take place:
Glasgow: Thistle Hotel Tuesday 17th January 2012
Aberdeen: Aberdeen Football Club Tuesday 24th January 2012
Edinburgh: Thistle Hotel Wednesday 1st February 2012
Inverness: Drumossie Hotell 8th February 2012
We hope to be showcasing some of the work in establishments where a whole community approach to outdoor learning is being developed. We will also be looking at a new toolkit for planning and designing neighbourhood projects where local woodlands, parks, waterways and other places will provide a context for strong, vibrant inter-disciplinary and subject based learning. Please contact your local authority outdoor learning network co-ordinator or strategy group leader for more details, or email email@example.com.
Thanks to all those from local authorities and partners who made it along to our national network for outdoor learning gathering at Stirling Management Centre on 8th November. We were treated to some wonderful presentations by:
- Vanessa Morris – Dumfries and Galloway – Creativity and Glow
- Ross Donald – The Scouts Association Scotland – Partnership with Schools
- Alistair Seaman – Grounds for Learning – Playful Outdoor Learning
- Simon Fraser and Aonghas MacNeacail – The Shepherd’s Trees
- Pam Rodway – Crofting Connections
Slides from the presentations can be found in the I-Share section of our OL Network CPD Community page on glow here: http://bit.ly/olnet .