Outdoor Learning

I completely agree with the previous submissions in relation to and supporting the increased use of Outdoor Learning in Scotland as part of the recovery plans. The previous comments are all valid, come from years of professional experience and practice and are fully supported by a committed network of providers. Outdoor learning should play a pivotal role in the recovery for children and young people, to build their resilience, to support their mental and physical well-being , to allow nature to nurture and to ensure the inequalities that have become increasing obvious are overcome and addressed.

Why the contribution is important

We have an amazing opportunity to reconnect children and young people with the natural world, to ensure they can access this on a regular basis, in their local area. This natural health service is waiting on them, a natural recovery. We need the guidance to support teachers and practitioners to ensure they have the confidence to embed this entitlement for our nations children.

by AliCush on May 11, 2020 at 12:54PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.5
Based on: 8 votes

Comments

  • Posted by DiBFvowl May 11, 2020 at 13:57

    I agree. A concerted effort to build capacity in education to deliver more and better learning outdoors is going to be critical for the future. Using existing organisations such as Forest School, Learning through landscapes Scotland and SNH, as well as the network of outdoor nurseries and schools, and outdoor education centres, rebuilding connections with nature and thereby improving future resilience. Combining this with NHS and social services attempts to address the catastrophic mental health crisis that approaches is going to be hugely important.
  • Posted by batzzz May 11, 2020 at 14:41

    Fully support this idea. Learning out-of-doors in nature provides so many research evidenced benefits to young people (and teachers) - physical and mental wellbeing, improved attainment, social integration aswell as a better appreciation of their natural surroundings and the massive challenges ahead of them (biodiversity crisis and climate change emergency). And outdoor learning provides more opportunity to maintain physical distancing - particularly if local greenspaces can be used and motor transport avoided. Scottish Natural Heritage is currently sponsoring development of an outdoor learning support app called Zepto, with strong curriculum links, which will support and enable young learners to work alone or in small groups in any school grounds or greenspace near where they are.
  • Posted by polarbearmac May 11, 2020 at 14:57

    Whilst I absolutely support this idea in principle, there are a number of challenges that our education system is not resourced to meet. Considering some of the most vulnerable groups who require the consistent, safety of school routine, outdoor learning will be much more difficult particularly in the context of physical distancing. For example, children with autism and learning disabilities who may not be able to assess danger as accurately or effectively as mainstream children of the same age will require close adult support to manage this environment. It is going to be hard enough to set up systems to enable these children to return to school in any capacity (whilst many of their parents buckle under the pressure of providing the high intensity care they require) without complicating it further by trying to enable outdoor learning as a standard part of the school day.
  • Posted by GMPotts May 11, 2020 at 19:37

    Scotland has a national network of outdoor learning practitioners. Our Countryside Rangers work in many urban and rural locations all across Scotland. In a 2017 survey, 68,578 learners from Nursery age to undergraduate, engaged with Countryside Rangers supporting the Curriculum for Excellence statement that "all children are entitled to outdoor learning experiences". Our Country, Regional and National Parks are geared up to support educational visits - not just environmental education- any and all topics can be covered by arrangement. Countryside Rangers are a national resource for all learners and teachers and I would recommend that due Government priority is attached to developing and enhancing this service for the benefit of the current and future generations of outdoor learners.
  • Posted by eaparsons May 11, 2020 at 20:49

    Indeed, start by asking organisations that specialise in Outdoor Learning and Forest School for their input - staff, training, advice, and then roll out from there so existing staff get necessary training to enable this.
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