Tag Archives: outdoors

The Big Pedal 20th – 31st March 2017⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

The Big Pedal is our UK wide inter-school scooting and cycling challenge, where schools compete to try to get the largest percentage of pupils, staff and parents travelling to school by two wheels.

the-big-pedal

 

Details:

This year’s challenge will be running from March 20th – 31st. It is open to primary and secondary schools who register and then log their data each day.  Schools with the highest participation win great prizes.

Schools can choose to enter a 1 or 5 day challenge where their best day or best 5 days out of the two weeks count. On the final day of the challenge we encourage schools to run a Superhero Day, where pupils dress themselves and their bikes as superheroes.

This year’s theme is Around the World in 10 Days and schools will track their progress on a wall chart – register using the link below –  learning about the countries and cities they pass through along the way.

Information and registration is at http://bigpedal.org.uk/.

The value:

We see the challenge as a great way to get whole school communities excited about active travel and to impact school traffic issues.

 

Teachmeet Firestarter 2017.⤴

from

It was cold. Cold like winter. In fact, it was winter, but 15 teachers from across the region started fires, literally and metaphorically.

The first part of the teachmeet involved using steel and flints to spark onto a cotton wool pad which had some vaseline on it. It was huge fun. I think your class would like it.

Once we’d managed a spark and ignited the cotton wool we added the kindle we’d been taught how to split and gradually built our fires. Some were in Kelly Cans and one was in a colander with a trivet on the top. Simple, but huge fun. We boiled the water in the Kelly Cans and mashed ourselves a cup of tea. I know my class would love this, all of them and when they went home that night I reckon they’d tell their folks.

Matt from Grounds for Learning explained how to keep it safe, how to use the equipment and gave examples of the ages of children who’ve done this. You’d be surprised.

Aileen gave out some red strips of paper to add to the fire with our reasons we don’t do more outdoor learning. For me it’s really a bit of laziness. I know when I’ve gone outside with my classes they’ve loved it and they are engaged. Engaging children is something I believe is vital to our children getting the most from school life. I burned my laziness paper, I need to do a bit better.

The more traditional teachmeet section that followed was, as always, interesting. Listening to teachers talk about what they do, why they do it and the impact it has always is. Listening to Aileen talk about children needing recent experiences to talk and write about sparked my thoughts. I need to get my class outdoors a bit more. Teacher after teacher talked about outdoor experiences they had with their classes and each one spoke of the engagement with the traditionally ‘hard to reach’ groups of children.

Our final challenge was to write and then share:

‘What fires are you going to start:

In yourself?

In your class?

In your school?’

 

Well, I am going to take my class out once a week for at least half an hour of learning – I’m thinking this will be maths as this is an area I feel comfortable with and happy to challenge myself with.

In my school, I’m going to tell people how much my class enjoyed going out and offer to share the learning we’ve done and resources we’ve used.

In myself, I’m going to get my outdoor clothing organised so I can go out whatever the weather with my class!

 

Many thanks to Matt and Aileen. Grounds for Learning is know in the rest of the UK as ‘Learning Through Landscapes’.  Their website has lots of resources and ideas.

It really was cold, but it was worth it and I will make sure my children’s learning benefits.

 

New Education Officer for Forestry Commission Scotland⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

lichen

Forestry Commission Scotland has appointed Sarah Archer as the new Education Officer for the Central Scotland area.

Sarah is responsible for delivering the Commission’s Woods for Learning Strategy, which encourages the use of woodlands for learning outdoors in early learning and childcare, primary and secondary education. Her role will have a focus on young children and involves working with educational establishments to support outdoor learning projects, such as Forest Kindergartens, and to co-ordinate Forest Kindergarten training for early learning and childcare practitioners.

Sarah said: “I know from my own teaching days what a difference being outdoors can make to learning, so I am really looking forward to working with nurseries and schools across central Scotland to develop Forest Kindergartens and other outdoor learning projects.

“There is lots of evidence to demonstrate the education, health and well-being benefits of outdoor learning and the Commission’s involvement in this area is continuing to grow. A key part of my work will be to build on this and encourage greater use of forests, woodlands and green spaces for education.”

Forest Kindergartens provide opportunities for young children to explore their local woodland or natural outdoor setting for active learning and play on a regular basis.

Sarah is a qualified primary school teacher and also brings a wealth of knowledge from working in the environment sector.

To discuss outdoor learning opportunities, please contact Sarah on 01698 368 553 or email sarah.archer@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

Look out for our autumn edition of Early Years Matters, which features an article on the Forest Kindergarten approach.

A kind of madness …⤴

from @ blethers

It's a sort of madness, I suppose. This need to be out of doors, preferably away from streets and cars and - if I'm honest - other people. This compulsion to walk fast enough, far enough, or maybe high enough to be tired, to warm up, to feel hungry.

Yesterday was not one in which I could accomplish this - a trip over the water to an appointment in Greenock and a subsequently late lunch meant that daylight had almost gone, and the rain was battering down once more. But today?

Not as promising as you might think. We drove out of Dunoon into a blizzard; the hill where we planned to walk couldn't be seen. But there was a glimmer further west, the merest hint of blue in the sky. I felt all would be well. And it was. Actually, we had one or two fierce snow showers in our faces as we walked, and an arboretum wasn't exactly a sensible place to start in the aftermath of a gale. There were branches and twigs all over the track; four conifers had fallen in a straight line, each one miraculously not hitting any of the trees among which they toppled; one huge eucalyptus was down while another swayed at a crazy angle. We could hear the wind roaring through the tree-tops, and there were alarming creaks all around. There were two daunting moments when we had to duck under half-fallen trees on the track. (One, two, three ... Why? What will that do? ... Make sure we have no survivor guilt.) But then we reached the lookout point, and the sun was out. It was quite sheltered, and the tall deciduous conifers to the left of the picture were swaying in unison as if conducted. My shadow, and that of the lone tree beside me, were clear on the far side of a small gorge - you can tell how far by the tiny figure beside the tree, which is yours truly.

By the time we got home it was 2.30pm. We'd eaten nothing since 9am. I felt legless with hunger. But I felt so much better than I have for days. It's a sort of madness, but it's my madness.