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.


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 ………..


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