In early September, 38 Senior pupils from a number of different schools and settings across Highland, Moray, Angus and West Dunbartonshire were brought together for four days at Loch Lomond Outdoor Centre, as part of the Outdoor Learning in the National Parks project. The focus was to provide the pupils with a range of challenging and fun outdoor experiences in the beautiful setting of the National Park to learn about leadership and personal development. This is the first such event, with a similar residential exchange programme planned for 2012 in the Cairngorms National Park – which some of the pupils from this year’s programme will hopefully help to organise.
Delegates at the Outdoor Learning in the National Parks conference will also get a chance to hear first hand from some of the pupils involved as they will be sharing their learning in a wokshop. All pupils were undertaking a John Muir Award as part of the residential, and as part of the sharing challenge were returning to their own schools and authorities ready to present or exhibit their experiences with local pupils and staff.
The event was an overall success, with each pupil being challenged, and rising to those challenges, in different ways. One such challenge for many was to offer a presentation of some description on their final day, in groups mixed from the different schools, to a group of teachers who were arriving for a CPD weekend. While nearly all pupils were anxious about this, their presentations were excellent and many took the teachers outdoors to show them what they had experienced and learnt.
Visit the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs website to read the full article: http://www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/looking-after/national-parks-provide-the-perfect-outdoor-classroom/menu-id-483.html
- July 29th, 2011
- Comments: none
The Outdoor Learning in the National Parks project’s second annual conference is shaping up and will also offer additional events and activities around the conference day.
Friday 28th October 2011 sees Glenmore Lodge in the magnificent ancient Caledonian pine forest in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park play host to the conference, which will focus on outdoor workshops showing a wealth of innovative and exciting approaches to outdoor learning. The workshops will provide a mix of partner-led and practitioner-led experiences highlighting the benefits, applications and fun of outdoor learning as it supports all curricular areas.
More information and invitations will come through the seven partner local authorities, and there are opportunities to also undertake one or more CPD courses or to be involved in the Joint National Parks Media Project’s Film Premiere night also on the 28th October. These opportunities are open to staff in the seven partner local authorities and those involved with the Project.
- July 27th, 2011
- Comments: none
Education Scotland in partnership with some national organisations have published a raft of new support for staff covering a wide range of approaches to outdoor learning. Developed through collaboration with National Parks, Forestry Commission Scotland, Grounds for Learning and a number of schools, this impressive range of resources can be found on the LTS website using the links below.
Do you visit woodlands with your children and young people, or are you thinking about how to use a local woodland? If so, you should really have a look at Visitwoods.org.uk!
What is Visitwoods.org.uk?
• the UK’s largest woodland web portal
• an interactive gateway to 3000+ Scottish woods & forests that welcome visitors
• the 1st website of its kind to feature all the major woodland owning organisations in the UK
• a partnership & communications project, funded in Scotland by the Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and People’s Postcode Lottery
Find out more by viewing the flier here: Visit Woods Scotland Flier
This could be a fabulous resource for outdoor learning in Scotland! Visit woods encourage you to leave comments about how you have used the woodland you have visited so that others can benefit from your experience.
You can search their extensive database and may find that your nearest woodland is much closer than you think.
Ten secondary schools have embarked upon an exciting initiative to make their own short films, with support and skills development from Aberdeenshire Media Unit. Each group of pupils involved will receive training in scriptwriting, filming, sound recording, production and editing, and support in completing their final film clip on the theme ‘Outdoor Learning through National Parks’. Already there are a range of entertaining and inspiring ideas from the schools, who are drawn from the local authorities involved in the Outdoor Learning in the National Parks project. The final product will be premiered at the end of October, and film clips will be available on the project’s Glow pages, open to all to view.
- January 17th, 2011
- Comments: none
At its mid-way point, the Outdoor Learning in the National Parks project is looking for your feedback and suggestions for the next year. Use the link below to access the surveymonkey questions – there are only four simple questions – and give us your impressions and wishes for next year. To give some more information about what the project is delivering, have a look at the fliers being sent to all schools and settings in the seven local authorities involved, and see the Glow pages for the project at http://glo.li/9Mg9GZ .
Access the survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/D8BHMNZ
- November 3rd, 2010
- Comments: none
Learning and Teaching Scotland is working in partnership with the Scottish Government to provide a programme of professional development opportunities for teachers and early years’ practitioners.
The programme will run from mid-November 2010 to the end of March 2011 and will provide practitioners with a choice of practical and focused development opportunities. All CPD opportunities will be provided free of charge (although transport and cover costs cannot be met) and places will be allocated directly on a first come first served basis.
The difficulties in attending CPD sessions in the current financial situation is recognised and a wide range of times, dates and venues has been offered in an attempt to facilitate attendance.
Topics will cater for early, primary and secondary sectors and will engage with key issues for teachers and practitioners many of which were highlighted at the range of regional conferences held in May and June.
We aim to provide support for over 1000 teachers and education practitioners directly through this programme and hope that many more will benefit from using the new materials due to be available at the end of March next year.
A flyer with brief details and dates has been sent to all schools and key personnel in mid-October and the full programme – in the form of a PDF – has been emailed to all schools and key personnel, including all those who attended one of the 6 regional conferences in May/June 2010. Details of how to sign up online for CPD sessions are on the flyer with a direct link on the PDF and can also be found at www.LTScotland.org.uk/outdoorlearningevents
- November 2nd, 2010
- Comments: none
Thursday saw the Outdoor Learning in the National Parks annual conference hosted at Carrochan, headquarters of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, which was very well received and over-subscribed. Many commented on the success of the day, with a very positive atmosphere and a wide variety of workshops being delivered by teachers and practitioners.
Introductions from Fiona Logan (Chief Executive of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority), Brian Wood (retired headteacher and new board member for Cairngorms National Park Authority) and Anne Jardine (Director of Learning and Communities at Learning and Teaching Scotland) were followed by a thoroughly inspiring and entertaining key note speech ‘My Journey through a Career in Outdoor Learning’ by Alan Smith, Outdoor Learning Officer for Cairngorms National Park. A mix of experts in their fields offered workshops in the morning based around overcoming some of the common perceived barriers to outdoor learning (see http://www.cairngorms.co.uk/learning/educationalresources/), with workshops entitled Access to Information, The Benefits of Risk, CPD and Developing Confidence, Practical Support, and Structured Educational Experiences. Teachers and practitioners from the local authorities involved in the project delivered workshops in the afternoon, sharing their experiences and expertise on partnership working and delivering forest schools activities at nursery and primary level; developing nursery gardens and grounds for outdoor learning; numeracy outdoors; the Cairngorms media project (http://www.cairngorms.co.uk/learning/schoolsvideoproject/); Making Connections, a whole year group ongoing initiative for interdisciplinary learning using outdoor learning and delivering the discovery and explorer awards of the John Muir Award for all pupils in S1 and S2; and on transitions, highlighting the values of partnership working and outdoor learning for transitions between primary and secondary, and secondary into senior phase choices and chances.
Following these workshops in the morning and afternoon, there were discussions in local authority groupings to explore ways in which to ensure the sustainability of the project and each local authority (as well as each delegate) made pledges as to how it would enhance their practice and how the key messages could be spread far and wide. We look forward now to hearing of these developments at next year’s conference at Glenmore Lodge, near Aviemore, on 28th October 2011!
The first annual conference of the Outdoor Learning in the National Parks project is nearly upon us. It takes place next Thursday, 28th October 2010, in Balloch in Scotland’s first National Park. The project aims to support, develop and embed Curriculum for Excellence through Outdoor Learning and provide advice, resources, CPD and opportunintes for sharing good practice to practitioners throughout Scotland.
The conference is shaping up to be an exciting and lively day with a wide variety of workshops providing opportunities for sharing ideas, networking and venturing outdoors to inspire and support teachers, partners and practitioners in developing outdoor learning as an approach to support learners in the Curriculum for Excellence.
For more information contact me at a.hammerton@LTScotland.org.uk
An exciting new development is taking place next week for the local authorities and partners involved in the National Parks project.
Kingussie High School in the Cairngorms National Park has agreed to host a day of training (provided by the National Parks project and LTS) to support staff in making the best use of the National Parks Glow group. This will aid improved communication and sharing of resources, ideas and planning strategies both within and between the local authorities, and strengthen the sustainability of the project. Longer term it is also hoped that schools and individual pupils will also contribute to the group and stimulate their and others’ learning through such tools as Glow Meet and Glow Learn.
Remember also that you can find out more about the National Parks project and the various ways in which they are supporting outdoor learning and Curriculum for Excellence at their stand and their workshop (Curriculum for Excellence? It’s a walk in the Parks!) at the Scottish Learning Festival at the SECC in Glasgow on Sept 22nd and 23rd.