Dress a Tree Week – OWLS East Lothian

OWLS

OWLS East Lothian is celebrating National Dress a Tree Week this year to launch the group under its new name.

Please join us to celebrate trees and to raise awareness of the importance of outdoor spaces and places for children to learn, play and grow.

Dress a tree in your local woods or school grounds.

Photograph it.

Send your photo to: kmisselbrook@sandersonswynd.elcschool.org.uk

We will then share the photos through our web page and other media to show how East Lothian celebrates nature!

For more information

Guidelines on decorating your tree

OWLS

OWLS East Lothian is celebrating National Dress a Tree Week this year to launch the group under its new name.

Please join us to celebrate trees and to raise awareness of the importance of outdoor spaces and places for children to learn, play and grow.

Dress a tree in your local woods or school grounds.

Photograph it.

Send your photo to: kmisselbrook@sandersonswynd.elcschool.org.uk

We will then share the photos through our web page and other media to show how East Lothian celebrates nature!

For more information

Guidelines on decorating your tree

Nature Play and Nurture CPD for Early Years

Last few spaces available

Nature Nurture Booking Form May 2015

This course is available to all Early Years Practitioners in East and Midlothian  

Aimed at Nursery and Early Years Staff, Nature Play and Nurture is a short course in using the outdoors as an environment for nurture, play and exploration. Three days (9am–3pm) of hands on training by two experienced forest school / kindergarten leaders and a ½ days observation of a Nature Play and Nurture programme.

 

Nature Play & Nurture CPD

Nature Play and Nurture CPD for Early Years

Aimed at Nursery and Early Years Staff, Nature Play and Nurture is a short course in using the outdoors as an environment for nurture, play and exploration. Three days (9am–3pm) of hands on training by two experienced forest school / kindergarten leaders and a ½ days observation of a Nature Play and Nurture programme.

This course is free to East Lothian practitioners.

Course venue:             to be confirmed

Course dates

Session 1         Friday, 20th September 2013, 9am–3pm,
Session 2         Friday, 4th October 2013 9am – 3pm

Session 3         Friday, 8th November 2013 9am – 3pm

plus one observation visit on one of the following : Tuesday am 3, 10, 17, 24 September, 1, 22, 29 October, 5 November

Course aims for participants to

  • explore and (re)connect with the benefits of Nature Play
  • understand the affordance (or action possibilities) of natural environments
  • feel confident to lead Nature Play sessions for your learners
  • feel inspired to incorporate more Nature Play into provision
  • find ways to overcome barriers to incorporating Nature Play sesions within your nursery provision
  • to look at incorporating Nature Play and Nurture opportunities within nursery grounds and linking to indoors

 To book this course please complete the linked form and return to: Pauline McLaren, Room 2.17, John Muir House, Haddington, East Lothian. EH41 3HA Or E-Mail to  pmclaren@eastlothian.gov.uk

Tea coffee and biscuits will be provided. Participants should bring a packed lunch. Participants will be provided with a course folder and notes, and are advised to bring pen, paper and camera.

Outdoor Learning in the Early Years

The following link is to a great resource book for anybody working in an early years setting who wants to develop their outdoor learning opportunities. Easy to read but detailed with lots of easily applied ideas.
http://www.nicurriculum.org.uk/docs/foundation_stage/learning_outdoors.pdf
“the best kept classroom and the richest
cupboard are roofed only by the sky”
Margaret McMillan (c1925)
Nursery Schools and the Pre-school Child NSA Publication

 

Natural Outdoor Play – in the playground

Another great report on the value of outdoor play opportunities for children. This one by the Forestry Commission on a project at Merrylees School in Glasgow. Thanks to Judith Wood for high lighting this report.

Lots of East Lothian schools and nurseries are thinking along these lines often initiated or prompted by parents. It is something parents can really help schools achieve  Its fun – its healthy – and its good for the birds and beasties and if that’s not enough reason then it also helps children’s learning. So if you like what you read – get your parent council interested and get stuck in!

Natural Play Study_Forestry Commission_100811[1]

Overview

Natural Play: Making a difference to children’s learning and wellbeing

presents the findings of a longitudinal study of the pioneering partnership between Forestry Commission Scotland, Glasgow City Council and Merrylee primary school in Glasgow. It provides evidence to show that children’s engagement with a natural play space within school grounds has a multitude of positive impacts on their learning and physical and emotional wellbeing. The study also provides a value for money assessment, concluding that the cost of developing natural play spaces is comparable with those of building traditional tarmac playgrounds. In view of the benefits outlined in the report, it is argued that the provision of a natural playspace within school grounds represents excellent value for money.

 

Builiding curriculum outside in

Some great new resources on the Learning and Teaching Scotland website. The first one is a comprehensive and practical guide for using the outdoors to achieve educational objectives. It makes the argument that forest school leaders have been making for years now and seeks to place Scotland at the centre of a developing recognition of the importance of nature and the outdoor environment to learners.

http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/Images/outdoor_learning_support2_tcm4-675958.pdf

The second is a shorter review of how outdoor learning can be developed strategically to enhance and deliver curriculum objectives

Outdoor learning is an integral part of good practice within learning and teaching. Schools need to take a strategic approach to developing outdoor learning. Building your Curriculum is a collaborative and participative process ………..

http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/Images/building_your_curriculum_outside_in_tcm4-656470.pdf

This document published in the last week is very timely. The discussion at a conference celebrating forest school development in East Lothian held on the 28th October stressed the need for a more strategic approach to the development of outdoor learning. The document makes some clear suggestion about how this could be done both at a regional and school / nursery level. The following are described in more detail in the document – but they form the basis of a comprehensive acion plan.

  1. Where are you now? (audit)
  2. Use How Good is Our School 3 to audit how effectively outdoor learning is embedded into all aspects of school life
  3. Integrate outdoor learning into the school improvement plan
  4. Communicate with and consult parents and carers about improving learning and teaching through outdoor learning
  5. Include reference to outdoor learning when reviewing a school policy
  6. Identify children with additional support needs who could benefit from more time outside
  7. Plan outdoor activities together (practitioner sharing)
  8. Encourage practitioners to support each other
  9. Share outdoor successes
  10. Create opportunities to access continuing professional development about outdoor learning
  11. Make outdoor learning a focus of classroom visits
  12. Involve partner organisations to help enhance the quality of experiences offered outdoors
  13. Get to know your local environment and use it
  14. Develop the habit of going outside regularly and frequently
  15. Enthuse the children and young people about being outside.
  16. Take a broad view of outdoor learning experiences offered across the stages, including the transition points
  17. Compile generic and specific risk – benefit assessments (RBA) for outdoor learning which takes place within the outdoor space and for local or day trips
  18. Organise the resources needed for outdoor work
  19. Develop your school grounds year on year
  20. Ensure learners have appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear
  21. Consider intervals and how to facilitate free play outside

 

 

 

Nature Play & Nurture

Whitecraig primary made a short video about their experience as a exemplar for the nature, play and nurture training held at the school earlier this year. This involved the nursery class working with Aline Hill from Big World training and Ros Marshall a nursery teacher and forest school leader, to run an outdoor learning programme. The programme included sessions that could be observed by staff taking a three day course in Nature Play & Nurture. Stobhill Primary in Gorebridge is currently hosting this training and acting as the exemplars. A further course will be available in the spring.

 

 

Celebrating forest school developments

Support from the Start – East & Midlothian’s Equally Well test site has supported the development of forest school and nature play and nurture over the last two years. Staff and volunteers have been trained through different levels of training, and equipment has been purchased. Lots of children have had time in the woodlands of East Lothian as part of their learning at school or nursery.

Its time to celebrate the hard work of everybody that has been involved, and to tell the stories of its impact on children.

Sanderson’s Wynd have kindly agreed to host a celebration on Friday 28th October – a programme is being developed for circulation at the start of the new term – but put this date in your diary.

If you have been involved if forest school or nature play in East or Midlothian and want to tell your story then you can do that at this event. I am very keen to get people to display children’s work connected to forest school, and to hear from teachers / rangers and volunteers if their are particular stories abut the impact of a forest school.

Whitecraig and Campie joint forest school programme for nursery children has a very good reason to celebrate as they are the runner up in a hotly contested national school section for the Scottish Finest Woods award. Lynne Welsh nursery nurse an former Whitecraig pupil collected the award from the Scottish Environment & Climate change minister Stewart Stevenson at a ceremony at the Royal Highland show

For more information on the October celebration event – contact myself or Tina Misselbrook at Sanderson’s Wynd primary

 

Regards

Steven Wray

Jack & The Giant

I have been following the learning of the amazing P2P class at Sanderson’s Wynd who have published their own e-book. Its a re-telling of the Jack & the Beanstalk story and I think their version is better than the original.

In public health at the moment there is a lot of talk about the ‘assets model’ – basically building on and supporting what helps people stay healthy in a community. Assets that support children to have positive experiences, to explore the world in a variety of ways and to be proud of themselves, their peers , their families and communities  have got to be amongst some of the most important community resources.  Following the class blog gives you no doubt that the children of P2P are the beneficiaries of such assets.  Whilst I am sure there is lots of work going on in schools and communities that is just as positive, this is a story we  can all share by promoting and even purchasing the book. The children have decided to donate the funds they raise to Save the Children for a project in Malawi.

This is an asset everybody can afford to invest in by buying their book at the princely sum of 71p at this link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jack-And-The-Giant/dp/B004NNVWIE/ref=sr_1_…

P2P have alsobeing out in the woods for forest school – for some really joyful photos visit the Sanderson’s Wynd Forest School blog  http://www.edubuzz.org/sandersonswyndforestschool/