The Scottish Government’s STEM Annual Report (February 7, 2019) provides an overview of progress in the first year of the five year STEM Strategy for Education and Training in Scotland. It references links between outdoor learning and STEM subjects particularly for the early learning and childcare sector.
This project aims to help 100 schools across Scotland to get their pupils learning outdoors on a regular and frequent basis, by improving the access to and quality of a local greenspace and building confidence in teachers to take learning outdoors. This project webpage also provide links to all supporting resources, free to download, for taking learning outdoors to your local greenspace.
Three great videos by LTL exploring taking learning outdoors in your local greenspace, which cover 1) how do you get out? (Deshar Primary, Highland) 2) raising attainment in schools (Shawlands Academy, Glasgow) and 3) How to find and access your space (St Mary's RC Primary, Dundee). These make useful training and planning resources for teaching staff interested in outdoor learning.
This resource by The Scottish Government, Care Inspectorate and Inspiring Scotland, provides practical guidance for creating outdoor play experiences in early learning and childcare.
The #GirlsGetOot project has engaged directly with young women seeking their solutions in identifying the barriers to participation, and their suggestions to inspire, in a fun, digital-led way, other young women to get out and enjoy through activity in our many greenspaces. Follow the link for the report (October 2018).
The aim of Women in Wellies is to encourage young women to consider pursuing careers in the rural sector. This 2018 event held in Cairngorms National Park generated ideas and information including video of talks, available via the link below, presented by women who are making their living working in forestry, farming, gamekeeping, recreation, conservation and academia.
This short film showcases the importance of Scotland's natural capital and the innovative work to protect and enhance our natural wealth, including how business is exploring sustainable development. This would be an excellent resource to introduce the topic of natural capital to environmental science students.
Since 2015, Young Scot and Scottish Natural Heritage have been working in partnership to create and support a strategic co-design panel of young people called ReRoute. The group of volunteers from across Scotland aged 13-24 years, explored ways of increasing young people’s engagement with Scotland’s biodiversity. Follow the link to view the report on their findings.
Outdoor Learning is a key component of Learning for Sustainability. This LfS self-evaluation and improvement framework is aligned with How Good Is Our School 4. It can be used to stimulate dialogue and action towards a whole school and community approach to learning for sustainability. Follow the link for further information and the downloadable document and summary document.
This new resource supersedes and builds on the previous Forestry Commission/ OWL Scotland Tree Measuring resources, and provides a progression of learning from Early/ First Level to Senior Phase. You can order it through the distributors on the OWL Scotland Resources Summary Flyer using stock code FCMS140, or download it via the link below.
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. Access and download the resource from the Learning in Local Greenspace project page.
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.