Tag Archives: OL Practice

Valentine’s Day 2013 – 10 Reasons Scottish Teachers Love Outdoor Learning

This post was constructed by Juliet Robertson of Creative Star Learning and is based upon a presentation I gave at Dalkeith High School and associated primary schools on a Valentine’s Day In-set along the theme of falling in love with outdoors.

The reasons are formed from repeated comments that I have received from teachers, children and young people over the last ten years. The photos are from Juliet who matched them beautifully I think to each of the ideas. They are captured from her extensive practice with Scottish teachers and Early Years practitioners, taken in all seasons and weathers!

Reason 1
We are happier and more hopeful when outdoors especially when in contact with wildspace and nature.

Reason 2
We are more focussed, more attentive and more engaged for longer outdoors.

Reason 3
We are more adventurous, adaptive, flexible and reflexive outdoors.

Reason 4
We are better connected to places and people outdoors with a stronger sense of identity and purpose.

Reason 5
We learn better in the real world, in real life contexts, where we can make meaningful sense of our experiences.

Reason 6
We are more curious, ask questions, build stronger cognitive pathways and use higher order thinking strategies more readily outside.

Thank you Alistair Seaman for sharing this photo from Grounds for Learning NatNet 2012 event.

Reason 7
We are more relational outdoors and our learning is more collaborative and shared.

Thank you Inverallochy School for sharing this wonderful photo! 

Reason 8
We are more inclusive outdoors, deploying different learning styles and drawing on different ways of knowing.

Reason 9
We are regenerating our practice in learning and teaching through our journeys outdoors.

Reason 10
We are genuinely cultivating new ways of doing things outdoors.

Many thanks to Juliet for making this an easy post and for tweeting the ideas as the presentation was happening. Juliet has been blogging consistently about outdoor learning on ‘I’m a Teacher, get me OUTSIDE here’ which is crammed with ideas from her inspirational practice and leadership.

Inspiring Landscapes Inspiring Learning

Over 20 teachers spent a packed weekend in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park learning about and sharing different approaches to taking learning outdoors.

The teachers from all sectors came from the councils which are funding partners of the Outdoor Learning with the National Parks project, and considered progression through outdoor learning in a variety of workshops including literacy and building a sense of place, numeracy outdoors, emerging technologies and geocaching activities, the John Muir Award and more. Some of the best learning evolved through sharing the wide range of experiences brought by the teachers and workshop providers, and all left inspired to develop new and build on existing opportunities in their schools and local areas.

On their arrival the teachers were first learning from groups of S5 and S6 pupils from ten different schools who had spent the week at the residential centre focusing on leadership, personal development and environmental stewardship through undertaking a John Muir Award and a range of adventure and environmental activities. The groups’ presentations were varied, entertaining, enlightening and challenging, setting the scene well for the teachers’ weekend.

Look out for the film clips from each of the sessions, which will soon be shared on the Education Scotland OL website, with further links and support to provide all teachers with ideas and guidance for developing their own outdoor learning.

Go Play and Getting it Right for Play Launch

Recently I was able to attend the launch of the The Scottish Government Go Play Outcome and Evaluation Framework  and Play Scotland’s national launch of Getting it Right for Play. 

There is a lot of emphasis on outdoor play presently and on building the capacity of staff who supervise and design outdoor play experiences. The Go Play Outcomes and Evaluation Framework was developed to articulate why play is so important for children in Scotland.


Play Scotland’s Getting it Right for Play toolkit is especially helpful for local authorities looking to improve the design and provision of spaces and places for play. I have enjoyed working with schools to pilot this material and find the process of evaluating play spaces and places with children as active participants particularly helpful.

There is also a very helpful and substantial summary of research about the benefits of outdoor play which can be found on their main website in the resources section.

TESS article on Outdoor Learning in Highland

An article written for TESS highlights some of the great work going on at Park and South Lodge schools in Highand. Jean McLeish visited the schools and joined in with one of the regular Friday afternoon trips to Embo. On a Friday, both schools have been taking part in a number of outdoor activities, all part of their John Muir, JASS, Dynamic Youth & Sports Leader Award. It has been a fantastic opportunity to get staff and children together from both schools and the children have really worked hard. The staff have enjoyed themselves too!

The John Muir Award  for P7 and Junior Award Scheme Scotland for P6 will continue into the summer term, but transition activities will take over for P7. The article can be found in text at


Thanks to Lawrence Bews for sending this info.