This short film from Grounds for Learning features Deshar Primary, a small Highland school comprising composite classes, which uses a woodland clearing a short walk from school on a weekly basis. School staff share the thinking, planning and practice used to take these learners outdoors and raise engagement and attainment.
This Scottish Natural Heritage biodiversity website includes information on education and nature, class activity resources, the learning in local greenspace project, teaching and training, Teaching in Nature, citizen science, and managing your school building to improve biodiversity. Plus find information on Learning for sustainability, Eco-schools, and education on National Nature Reserves.
This film published by Grounds for Learning on 21 February 2018 film tells the story of how 3 schools have started to provide regular child-led free play in woodlands that are either in or immediately adjacent to their school grounds. Find out how children are developing social skills, improving behaviour, exercising creativity and boosting physical exercise - and learn how teachers have overcome the practical challenges.
A range of useful videos produced in partnership with Education Scotland and OPAL (Open Air Laboratories) on Scotland’s Environment web Get Learning pages. These include Recording earthworms, Measuring soil pH, Measuring tree height, Pitfall traps, Pond dipping, Sampling strategies, Small mammal trapping, Soil texture and Water clarity and pH.
Online resources from the Planting for Pollinators along the John Muir Way project, from the Central Scotland Green Network Trust.
This activity guide is for anyone looking to use the John Muir Way and engage with the diverse places found along it. It brings together a sample of free resources developed by different groups and organisations. Teachers, youth workers, outdoor instructors, rangers, group leaders, volunteers, families and individuals can use this guide to connect with and enjoy the wild spaces along the Way.
This thought provoking blog post by Kate Holl, SNH’s woodland advisor, explores why the ground flora of Scottish woodland differs so markedly from those in other European countries, illustrated by visits to sites in France, Norway and Iceland. She reflects on how browsing pressure by herbivores differs between countries. This might make interesting reading for students of Science (Biodiversity & Interdependence), Environmental Science and similar disciplines.
Beyond your Boundary is a comprehensive online resource for educators in all schools, of any subject, working with pupils of all stages. It helps you to find, access and use your local greenspace for learning. It also offers support to help you improve your greenspace and spread and embed learning in local greenspace in your establishment.
Outdoor & Woodland Learning (OWL) Scotland summary guidance to support skills development, training and specialist guidance delivered by trained practitioners. This includes: introducing fire to groups, building & lighting a fire, using fire outdoors, benefits of fire activities, environmental considerations, and activity risk/ benefit assessment forms.
Outdoor & Woodland Learning (OWL) Scotland summary guidance to support skills development, training and specialist guidance delivered by trained practitioners. This includes: introducing tools to groups, using tools outdoors, a safety checklist, guides on tools and when to use them, benefits of tool use activities, and activity risk/ benefit assessment forms.
This document, available to download from the John Muir Trust website, outlines the 'Five Ways to Wellbeing', developed by The Centre for Wellbeing at the New Economics Foundation. It illustrates how schools, mental health support groups, and outdoor centres have used the John Muir Award to help promote these themes.
This lesson pack guides pupils through different groups of invertebrates and what functions they carry out within the habitats they live in that help the environment. It includes different activities for pupils to build artificial invertebrate habitats that will help encourage invertebrates into urban spaces. (CfE Levels 1&2).
This OWL Scotland website resource enables teachers and pupils to access and interpret the results of the Native Woodland Survey of Scotland, to support Environmental Science National 4 & National 5. It explores historical impacts, explains mapping and survey techniques and introduces skills required for data interpretation, tree identification and fieldwork.
This resource is aimed at land managers, access professionals, rangers, planners, surveyors, and community and interest groups involved in the development and management of outdoor access in Scotland. It may also be of interest to outdoor learning practitioners and those supporting young people to develop practical outdoor skills. The Outdoor Access Design Guide gives consistent and clear advice on the selection and design of outdoor access furniture and structures.
The natural heritage of the Cairngorms creates ‘outstanding opportunities for outdoor learning’. In the plan, Priority Project 6 (pp. 38-41) describes opportunities for Learning and Inclusion. This identifies opportunities to expand outdoor learning to the wider community, sustain and expand programmes like the John Muir Award and Junior Ranger Programmes, and engage more with under-represented groups.
SNH describes how Scotland's Landscape Monitoring Programme will allow us to assess better how our landscapes are changing; and to identify key trends and their significance in terms of how people feel about them and respond to them. This information and associated links may be useful for Geography teachers and students.
This pack has been designed to be used primarily with adult learners but could be used in schools or other appropriate learning contexts, and has a strong numeracy focus. It covers weather and climate, climate change, energy and renewables, numeracy support, and places to visit in Scotland. Although it has few outdoor learning context examples it could support outdoor investigation in these topic areas.
This exemplar on the National Improvement Hub describes how Middleton Park School in Aberdeen has adopted whole school approach using outdoor learning to enrich their curriculum and raise attainment. It includes videos that demonstrate the class buddy approach and the range of literacy and numeracy activities used outdoors.
These Adaptation Scotland resources help students to think about their place and different environments, climate change impacts, aspects of their place and how they might improve it, plus consider their own place in the context of a changing climate. These resources could support place based learning outdoors.
A presentation given by the ENFOR Outdoor Learning Project Officer at the OWL Scotland national network event February 2017, exploring what progression in outdoor learning might mean in terms of curriculum, time, and place.
Scotland’s national youth biodiversity panel, ReRoute has carried out a new survey of young people in Scotland. This has revealed that nearly three quarters (74 per cent) enjoy spending time in nature and that one in nine (87 per cent) agree we need to protect the natural environment. Find out more via the link below.
This collection of articles and activities is designed to encourage place-based learning. Through discovery, exploration and sharing, young people can develop their critical thinking skills, creativity, confidence and teamwork. This resource is intended for anyone taking groups of children to an archaeological site: teachers, youth group leaders and archaeological educators. Follow the link below to find out more details including how to request a free copy, or to download a copy.
This resource combines geography and history and helps children and young people to make connections with their local environment. There are learner journeys for early to fourth level.This is aimed at practitioners working with children across the broad general education years, from early to fourth levels
This resource is designed to support Forest School practitioners, but is not a substitute for Forest School training. Ideas and activities within the pack may also support outdoor and woodland learning approaches. It is available as a downloadable zipped file via the Outdoor & Woodland Learning Scotland website.
Packed with information and updates about Scotland’s wildlife, land management issues, and projects, including ReReoute, the Youth Biodiversity Panel. A great resource for Social Subjects, Biology and Environmental Science teachers/ students or anyone interested in Scotland’s nature. Information on how to subscribe to this online publication is also provided.
This series of free guides by SNH provide information on some of the best places to enjoy nature, landscapes and history, across many areas of Scotland. These may also help inform teachers when planning their outdoor learning and teaching. All leaflets are available for download via the link below or in hard copy from local tourist information centres and other tourism outlets.
The Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park education pack supports the National 4/5 and Higher Geography curriculum, and provides 6 individual case studies on camping pressures, footpath erosion in the uplands, Loch Lomond byelaws, Balloch Charrette, impacts of hydroelectric power impacts, and the goldmine. These can be accessed by following the link below.
Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park combines an internationally important environment with a fragile rural economy and a renowned visitor destination. This new education pack explores how the National Park manages these conflicts and supports the National 4/5 and Higher Geography curriculum. To download the whole pack, follow the link
Scottish Wildcat Action is a project that aims to protect the Scottish Wildcat from extinction, supported by SNH and Forestry Commission Scotland and other partners. This 20 minute programme joins a group of children as they visit a wildcat family at Edinburgh Zoo and talk to the keeper who looks after them. Join Wildlife officer Emma as she checks on a hidden camera in a forest where wildcats are known to live. The programme contains two interactive sections: a big cat quiz, and active section where children role play being a wildcat.
Scottish Wildcat Action is a project that aims to protect the Scottish Wildcat from extinction, supported by SNH and Forestry Commission Scotland and other partners. This 20 minute programme follows Wildlife officer Emma Rawling on her rounds to check for any live trapped feral cats, to help prevent interbreeding with the Scottish Wildcat. She also checks a hidden camera in a forest– will there be any feline photos on it this time?
Follow the link below to access this website which provides comprehensive data and information on Scotland’s soils. You can look at a range of maps and download the data associated with these maps. Other useful sources of data and information are also signposted. You can find out about what soils do for us, how well they do it and what happens when they are damaged.
This free educational game is all about tree health and the ways in which resilience to pests and diseases can be increased. Players aim to keep their forest thriving whilst meeting specific objectives (CfE Levels 3 & 4). Follow the link below to play and download for free. Why not use this as a fun follow-up to using OPAL Tree Health resources outdoors?
This environmental award scheme encourages everyone to connect with, enjoy and care for our wild places. The National Park is a fantastic place to complete your John Muir Award and learn all about what makes it special. Suitable for upper primary and upwards, individuals and groups. Follow the link to find out more and how to take part.
Scotland's Urban Past supports projects which help people investigate, record, engage with and celebrate the heritage of our towns and cities.You can contact SUP staff about events, exhibitions and training opportunities, essential resources and continued project support, and browse other current and past projects including those involving schools.
A free book about play for P3, P4 and P5s by Tim Archbold created for the Scottish Government. The result is a fun, and colourful journey through the world of play, available in English and Gaelic. It includes outdoor encounters with streets, trees, people and other suprises. Great for sharing with families!
This handy flyer pictures key OWL Scotland educational resources with a brief descriptor, age and stage and how to find it. This includes newly available resources such as a Gaelic version of the popular Tree Stories resource and an updated Wee Green Fingers Pack - Biodiversity Gardening for Young Children. Details of how to order publications are included.
With the current focus on improving attainment, this article by Dr Greg Mannion, University of Stirling, on why children do better when they can get outdoors is still relevant. It refers to international and national research evidence, including that conducted for Scottish Natural Heritage and partners.
As part of Scotland’s Nature Festival, one of the event participants, a teacher from Girvan Primary has created this wonderful lesson plan for her students on bees and pollination - it includes indooor and outdoor elements. This forms part of Scottish Natural Heritage's Nature Festival resources for 2016.
A research report (January 2016) released by The Scottish Campaign for National Parks and the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland discussing the economic and tourism benefits of designating more National Parks in Scotland’s rural and fragile communities
A toolkit for the use of school grounds for playing out of teaching hours, providing case studies, rationale and practical tools. Part of the Scottish Play Strategy, this resource is aimed at head teachers, parent councils and local community organisations. Free to download, or order a hardcopy at postage cost.
This resource (revised April 2014), based on Blawhorn Moss National Nature Reserve, is written for the primary school sector but includes advanced resources suitable for secondary students. The guide, together with a curriculum map, is designed to help teachers run themed projects on peat and peatlands, and to plan projects and/or site visits. Download the relevant documents from the link below.