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Update - Wednesday January 20th

Dear all,

I hope you are all well and coping (not sure anyone is thriving at this time but coping is good). 

1. Communication and class groups

Mrs Giles has a list of PTA contacts who facilitate the Whats App groups. E-mail and Mrs Giles will put you in touch with the correct person. Parents can then organise on-line contact between children or the class. 

2. Outdoor learning focus (lots of links that may or may not be useful. They care cobbled together from various sources so some may or may not work).

We used to have a 'Welly Wednesday' in school (a bit 'twee' and not really about integrating outdoor learning into the whole curriculum) but we have moved on from that BUT it may be a good thing for home as a mid-week break and a defined time for getting outside (if working from home and everything else allows). 

Attached photos - these are ideas and you don't have to do a full 8m high version ! Small versions with pebbles and stones are just as good to explore art, engineering and Science. You don't have to print them but just show the image. 

BACKYARD NATURE Want to become a Backyard Nature Guardian? Nature Backyard are inviting you to sign up and pledge to protect a patch of nature near you, “because by helping plants and animals in your own backyard, you will help protect the planet for the future”. Visit the above link for ideas to help plants and animals thrive on your patch with a range of resources and special missions. Size doesn’t matter, you could plant bee-friendly plants in a window box, make a bug hotel for your garden or patio, or simply feed the birds. 

BECOME A LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) have some great resources that may appeal to children. Well worth a look.

BOROMI Not outdoors per se but the concept is brilliant and could be adapted for outdoor use – realistically post lockdown. It’s essentially play boxes for nursery children with thought put into what’s being offered and why. Not sure if it’s about free play or supported by an adult.

BUCKET FULL OF NATURE – NATURE ACTIVITIES AT HOME Here is a list of 31 Bucket Full of Nature activities to help you access nature in your own home. These activities can be done indoors, or outside when it is safe to do so, and feature: make a weather chart and track the weather; create natural musical instruments; make numbers and letters using nature. A free eBook “7 Easy Steps to Making your Bucket Full of Nature” is also available to download. 

CHILDREN IN PERMACULTURE PROJECT Lovely set of practical resources which dovetail nicely with Learning for Sustainability. It is an unsung hero of a resource. There is also a free downloadable manual too.

COUNCIL FOR LEARNING OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM have a list of resources from a broad range of organisations that support education beyond the classroom. Refreshing and helpful if you have a specific project or focus or if you are just in need of more inspiration.

EDEN PROJECT have lots of online resources suitable for all ages and the ones on this page are particularly suitable for being at home.

FIELD STUDIES COUNCIL COVID-19 resources The FSC have a range of resources including #Fieldworklive will be a fortnight of free live lessons which will take place from Monday 20th April – Friday 1st May 2020, focussing on a range of Geography and Science content aimed at Primary (Ages 7-11), KS3 (Ages 11-14), GCSE (Ages 14-16), Progress GCSE to A Level (Ages 16-18)

FINDING NATURE – NEW RESOURCE The Children and Nature Network have launched a new resource to help children access nature during the current crisis. Finding Nature: Staying connected to the natural world during COVID-19, is a new website that will provide resources, events, stories and insights weekly from it’s partners, via tips, tools, blogs and webinars.

GREEN SCHOOLYARD RESOURCES Green Schoolyards America and their partners at the International School Grounds Alliance have published a set of books that include 250 hands-on activities and curriculum ideas, written by colleagues at organizations around the world. These free, downloadable books were designed to help schools make the most of their school grounds – but the majority of the ideas can be modified for use in children’s back gardens and neighbourhoods. A series of blogs will also be published to highlight activities from the publication, here are 2 examples – Explore Art in Your Backyard or neighbourhood and Maths in Your Backyard

INDIGENOUS CLIMATE ACTION group have a COVID-19 page and this includes a range of practical suggestions and links. Well worth a read, even if not all is applicable to you.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL GROUNDS ALLIANCE (ISGA) This international website has two free hefty downloads packed full of lessons from all around the world. This is another of my “go to” freebie resources. It dovetails well with Eco Schools. They run an international conference every year and in 2021 IT WILL BE IN SCOTLAND – go to the Learning through Landscapes website to find out more. It will be online at least partly!

INTO THE OUTDOORS A US website full of environmental and outdoor suggestions. Lots of videos and full of energy!

KEEP CONNECTING TO GREENSPACES Greenspace Scotland have compiled a list of activities and ideas to keep you connected to greenspaces, parks, nature and each other while social distancing and isolating. The listing consists of links to organisations providing resources, projects, events and more. You may also wish to view their interactive digital map to locate greenspaces in your area. Another point of interest is their Growing ideas and outdoor fun resource which focuses on food growing and outdoor learning.

KIDS LAB – EDINBURGH SCIENCE FESTIVAL downloadable resources – DIY science activities to do at home. Most aren’t outdoorsy but still good to know about.

LEARN ABOUT THE CALEDONIAN FOREST What do you know about the Caledonian Forest? Trees for Life now have an informative website for you to catch up on your knowledge of Scotland’s wild forests. It features pages on Trees, Mammals, Birds, Plants and Insects as well as other creatures you can find while exploring the forest. 

LEARNING FROM HOME RESOURCES Friends of Barnes Common in London have put together a set of home learning resources, most of which link to the curriculum while some explore wider issues such as the community and citizenship. 

LEARNING INSIDE OUT is focus of a Canadian charity, Learning for a Sustainable Future (LSF). They are curating a free weekly email of at-home learning activities for grades K-12 (Reception to Y11). There is an emphasis on activities that are simple for parents or teachers to implement, outdoor activities (where possible under social distancing practices), and hands-on sustainability  education. All activities are related to curriculum and are reviewed by teachers. The emails will be archived here every week, and there is a sign up button for people to receive them directly in their inbox. 

LITTLE CHATTERS An outdoor consultancy that also focuses on Philosophy for Children and Global Education as well as learning outdoors.

LOST – Learning Outside Support Team in East Ayrshire are also compiling ideas. This has become a really AWESOME place to find stuff.

LOVE OUTDOOR LEARNING blog. This is Carol Murdoch’s website and the blog contains lots of ideas and suggestions for educators and families. Carol is a Scottish primary teacher.

MARLEY’S SCHOOL OF GARDEN MAGIC This is the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh’s online learning portal for children. There are also links on the LH side to other courses for adults too!

MINDSTRETCHERS ACADEMY NATURE PLAY DIARY The above resource is aimed at children in the early years, taking inspiration from nature. It consists of a variety of downloadable sheets to create your own diary, which focus on stones, wood, shadow, reflection, mud and leaves. The resource is free and will help you to: create ideas and plans with children; gather ideas of things to do inside, outside and beyond; share images of the things you do.

Have a good day.


Mr Batstone