Welcome to the first official SESEF blog post! As we launch our new website, we’d like to use our first post to share our thinking about some of our new resources that we’ve been busy creating for you. With the advent of the new curriculum encouraging all of us to use the outdoor environment to take learners on a Journey to Excellence, the publication of new guidelines1 by Education Scotland, and a new set of outdoor learning case studies by the Health and Safety Executive2 on implementing learning in the outdoors in your school, we feel the launch of our Outdoor Learning bundle is perfectly timed! What is it that’s different about these resources? Let us share our thinking with you………………….
Valuable Lessons from the School of ‘Beyond the Classroom Door’
We’ve all had one of those days where a series of small, unexpected events seem to occur that put a bit of a dampener on everything. On a day like that, it’s not uncommon to be informed by a friend or colleague ‘Ah, it’s just a lesson from the School of Life.’ We ask you ‘What kind of School, exactly, is that? Who on earth planned those lessons?’. We’d like you to consider this idea:
If you were planning lessons in ‘The School of Life’, how would you make sure your pupils had the most positive, valuable learning experiences to equip them for their Lives?
Here at SESEF, we celebrate positive learning experiences: those, which enrich lives and inspire and equip us to reach our potential. To celebrate the launch of our brand new website, we are getting back to our grass roots by encouraging pro-active learning in school that creates opportunities for active learning, team-working, co-operative learning, the development of pupil confidence and a range of skills, not least problem-solving and higher cognitive development. We are encouraging learning in an environment that naturally improves health and well-being, personal and social awareness, develops curiosity, and promotes the development of skills to explore and investigate the very subject that roused inquisitiveness and intrigue! Furthermore, lessons in this school, by their very nature, provide rich contexts for learning about Earth Science, Sustainability and Citizenship. Yes! We are promoting learning in the School of ‘Beyond your Classroom Door’.
We understand that all schools differ, and the environment outside your classroom door may not be considered as ‘ideal’ for promoting a desire to be outdoors. The SESEF team have been working hard to create a set of outdoor learning activities that recognise that schoolchildren throughout Scotland each have very different experiences of their local environment and, regardless of whether you have a landscaped garden, a muddy field or a tarmac schoolyard, we have activities that will provide creative, engaging and inspiring opportunities to get your pupils out into the School of ‘Beyond your Classroom Door’.
In this set of activities, we have taken the view that it’s not all about what you do outdoors! We believe that the context you provide for outdoor learning, the tools you use to set the scene before you go, and the way you follow up the learning once back in class are of vital importance. That is why, in this set of resources, we blend outdoor and indoor learning with literacy, numeracy, ICT, science, technology, and communication and presentation skills to provide you and your pupils with a rich learning experience that puts the pupils in the driving seat in the Journey to Excellence. The powerful social, cultural and personal development opportunities provided by the outdoor classroom are recognized and celebrated in A Curriculum for Excellence.
‘Outdoor learning connects children and young people with the natural world, with our built heritage and our culture and society, and encourages lifelong involvement and activity in Scotland’s outdoors.’1
We are committed to encouraging an understanding of, and a respect for, Planet Earth and the natural world. The beauty of this commitment for us is that every single teacher and pupil in Scotland has free access to take their learning into the world in which we would wish them to see, hear, feel and sense – and to do so they need only step outside of their classroom door. It is by far our cheapest learning resource and, without question, our most precious. The outdoors can be the best classroom in the 'School of Life' and will provide you with free, yet invaluable, learning opportunities.
Visit Outdoor Learning Launch Bundle for these lessons.
We hope you have a great time in the School of ‘Beyond Your Classroom Door’!
1 Building Your Curriculum: Outside and In http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/Images/building_your_curriculum_outside_in_tcm4-656470.pdf
2 Health and Safety Executive http://www.hse.gov.uk/services/education/case-studies.htm