Tag Archives: ol network gathering

National Network for Outdoor Learning Meeting 5

The National Network for Outdoor Learning recently gathered at Camperdown Country Park in Dundee for their first meeting of the 2012/2013 session. The network is made up of representatives from each of our 32 local authorities (a lead education officer and a SAPOE officer) as well as partners from key national outdoor learning organisations and groups. Our remit is to

  1. work together to generate innovation and creativity in outdoor learning practice, especially as regards Curriculum for Excellence through Outdoor Learning (CfEtOL) and Building Your Curriculum Outside and In BYCOI)
  2. take forward a cohesive whole community approach to CfEtOL at a strategic local and establishment level
  3. share our emerging practice and to support and encourage each other in those developments
  4. cultivate genuinely new approaches to learning and teaching through high quality professional learning and development programmes
  5. most importantly, increase opportunities for children and young people to regularly and frequently access their learning across the curriculum through a broad range of high quality experiences in outdoor learning.

Here is some of our group reflecting on how well things in outdoor learning are moving forward strategically in our nation. Ali Hammerton drew us a map of Scotland in chalk and we used a series of weather symbols to feedback from our experiences of working on implementing CfEtOL in our own contexts. The overall picture was one of very ‘sunny’ weather – a bright outlook created by all the great work going on in local authorities from launching their Council outdoor learning strategies, to increasing opportunities for all children and young people to engage in literacy and numeracy outdoors and to creating new programmes for adventure and residential activity based on geography, technologies, sciences and history.

At lunchtime, we were delighted to join a large crowd of local people attending the launch of Dundee Partnership’s outdoor learning strategy. Thanks to Derek Napier, Outdoor Education Team Leader for Dundee, we were treated to a fabulous display of outdoor activity and to some fine speeches outlining the benefits of outdoor learning for all ages and communities.

We spent some time hearing from network members about how they were taking CfEtOL in their own contexts. Many thanks to John Garvie, chair of Highland Outdoor Learning Group, who shared the development of Highland’s Outdoor Learning strategy and the work that is going into its implementation. Willie White from East Ayrshire outlined the process that his local authority strategy group has gone through in developing their approach to outdoor learning and Sue Thorburn from Aberdeen City shared how their many 3-18 Places Projects are bringing literacy alive in the outdoors as a key part of their stratgic implementation of CfEtOL. 

The final part of our day together was spent hearing from members sharing their expertise in developing an outdoor nursery, curriculum links to the land use strategy, professional recognition in outdoor learning and in planning for the Year of Natural Scotland.  What a wonderful day – so encouraging to be with people who are totally committed to supporting outdoor learning across Scotland with such passion and strength!

Looking after the Earth

Just as the mornings are getting a wee bit lighter and the world starts waking up into early springtime, we have a lot of upcoming opportunities to think about looking after the earth and keeping it beautiful. Three events which present many opportunities for learning through the outdoors are:

Fairtrade fortnight begins 27th February until 11th March and this year there is a campaign about taking active steps to promote fairtrade products and practice in your neighbourhood and community. More information can be found here.

Green Schools Week begins 26th – 30th March with many schools joining the green schools revolution through growing their own food, taking care of the school grounds and local surroundings and participating in sustainable development education activities about healthy living, energy and water. There are masses of ideas and resources available through the GSR site here.

Lastly, WWF’s Earth Hour will take place this year on 31st March. All over the world people will be switiching off lights and wearing it bright to demonstrate their intention to protect the natural world and tackle climate change. There is an education support pack and other resources as well as information about Scottish events available here.

National Network Meeting 18-11-2011

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 .

Welcome to our Outdoor Learning Blog !

In Scotland, all children and young people are expected to regularly access their learning through a consistent and progressive experience of the outdoors. There is lots of wonderful learning going on in all sectors as educators explore, design and provide creative and challenging opportunities outdoors through which learners are developing rich, deep and connected understanding.

I love to talk with people about how their outdoor learning is going. I can be contacted at: julie.wilson@educationscotland.gov.uk