This is a follow up to the release of the full report in July of the Natural Connections Demonstration project, the 4 year outdoor learning project working with 125 schools across the south west of England, especially those in deprived communities, to help them to use their grounds and local greenspaces frequently and regularly for learning across the curriculum.
We are now thrilled to report that a brand new teacher’s guide, Transforming Outdoor Learning in Schools – Lessons from the Natural Connections Demonstration Project, has been published. Find it here, free of charge! It features teachers and pupils across the project talking about the benefits the project brought to their school, alongside practical advice on how teachers can successfully embed outdoor learning in their school.
And thanks largely to all of your support and efforts, the findings are now being used by practitioners and decision makers across the UK, Europe and beyond.
People are interested in what the Natural Connections project showed…
- A record number of people viewed the press release “England’s Largest Outdoor Learning Project Reveals Children more Motivated to Learn When Outside”.
- 1000s of people have shared and downloaded the fullNatural Connections project final report , viewed the project film and read the blog “Busting the Myths Around Outdoor Learning in Schools”.
- 100s of websites and social media accounts across the outdoor learning, environmental and education sectors have shared the project’s findings and used the evidence to help inform their work and share positive messages about the benefits of learning outdoors. See the Student Outcomes and Natural Schooling reportfor pathways to 21st century outcomes and keep an eye open for further articles in Teach Primary, Teach Secondary, My Academy Magazine and the DfE blog in the coming weeks.
There has been global interest…
- People from over 30 countries have viewed the Outdoor Learning Blog by Natural Connections.
- The findings from Natural Connections have been presented and discussed at conferences and seminars in 17 countries.
- In Australia,the Victorian and Western Australian State Governments have requested information from the project to support the development of policies and initiatives linked to outdoor learning.
Schools are talking about how Natural Connections worked for them and changed their ways of teaching… For example, John Golding, Assistant Head at Torpoint Community College told the Key Finding event audience in July that ‘…our involvement in the Natural Connections Project over the past 4 years has cost the school less than we spent on tea and coffee’. John’s case study of how the project worked in his school has been published – click here to take a look.
Natural England and partners continue to seek opportunities to expand the Natural Connections project across England and would welcome discussions on how we might work together to help build on the momentum and great practice now established in the South West.
As part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science there will be a free event near Kingsbridge demonstrating three outdoor pedagogical approaches to science learning. Register here
By the way, if you would like to vote for The Natural Connections team and others in the upcoming CLOtC awards, please visit this site!
I do hope you will keep in touch and let us know how you have used the findings and guidance – we would love to hear from you!
Natural Connections team.
Sue Waite | Associate Professor (Reader) |Rolle 504 | Plymouth Institute of Education | Faculty of Arts & Humanities | Plymouth University, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA | 01752 585341