Outdoor activities with local primary schools in Edinburgh to help them become more aware of their local environment
As part of the Scottish Government’s Biodiversity Strategy, ELGT have been supported by Scottish Natural Heritage through the Outdoor learning challenge fund to deliver programmes of outdoor learning. The project is a continuation of SNH’s Learning in Local Greenspace project. This project involves work with schools in Scotland’s most highly deprived areas and aimed to provide learning opportunities in green spaces that were accessible for each participating school.
The project involves the delivery of the John Muir Discovery award. This includes the following activities.
- Explore woodlands and local natural area. Develop nearby links with the community and learn about a variety of habitats. Tree ID & bug survey; mini beast homes; litter pick; bird walks. (Four 2 hour long sessions)
- Planting sessions in greenspaces involving planting bulbs and trees in their local greenspaces using tools. Creating areas for wildlife using only natural materials. (Four 2 hour long sessions)
- Fun outdoor activities and games in the local woods – raising awareness of area and nature e.g. using senses; journey stick; learning knots and shelter building. Woodland craft making and environmental art which involves using natural materials. Building bird boxes. (Four 2 hour long sessions)
- Make a diary about the activities and what they have learned, including photos which can be shared with carers / parents. Post on social media and newsletters to share with the community. (One 1hr long session)
Clovenstone Primary, Wester Hailes
We have been working with staff at Clovenstone Primary to deliver the programme using the nearby greenspaces at Curriemuirend Park. This has involved delivering one session per month (May to September excluding July and August for summer holidays) with nurture group class.
Activities have included: Tree identification, Leaf matching games, Meet a tree (pairs trust game), Smelly woodland cocktails, Shelter building, Meeting the elder and tasting elderflower cordial, planting loads of snowdrop bulbs, Knots & square lashings and Woodland picture frames
Niddrie Mill Primary, Craigmillar
We have been working with Niddrie Mill Primary School which involved the delivery of 23 session with 4 classes. Sessions have taken place in the woodland area of Craigmillar Castle Park and Little France Park. These programmes have been funded thanks to the National Lottery players.
Activities have included: Scavenger hunts, Tree ID workshops, Mini beast hunts, Litter picks, Bumble bee surveys, Shelter building, Woodland crafts, Environmental art, Kelly Kettles and Foraging.
Forthview Primary, Pilton
Taking place at West Pilton Park we worked with two P6 classes who helped prepared the ground and plant bluebells.
Teaching staff have commented that some of the pupils who are normally disruptive in the classroom, have thoroughly engaged with the programme and that it’s been wonderful to watch them flourish and enjoy being in an outdoor learning environment.
Funded by: Scottish Natural Heritage, National Lottery YOYP
- Working with 2 schools to deliver
The programme with Clovenstone Primary has been successful so far and the children involved have enjoyed exploring the park and woodland area and getting to know it better. This had been particularly beneficial to the group we are working with who are part of the school’s nurture programme and respond well to outdoor-based learning rather than classroom-based. It has been challenging to only meet with the group for a relatively short period of time each month, and to plan activities that respond to group members’ typical behaviour which is high-energy and hands-on.
The project with Niddrie Mill Primary has been a great success so far. Many of the children had never visited the park before and it has been fantastic to observe the children’s and parent’s awareness and appreciation grow for nature and wildlife over the course the programme.