Schools' outdoor learning programme extended after successful pilot period

Local schools are being invited to join a programme run by Keep Scotland Beautiful which focuses on the importance of the country’s forested areas.
​​More than 50 schools took part in the programme’s outdoor learning.​​More than 50 schools took part in the programme’s outdoor learning.
​​More than 50 schools took part in the programme’s outdoor learning.

The charity recently expanded its Learning about Forests (LEAF) initiative after more than 50 establishments participated in the pilot programme.

LEAF, a programme from the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), advocates outdoor learning and hands-on experiences, resulting in pupils gaining a deeper and more involved understanding of the natural world.

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Its key aims are to reconnect children and young people of all ages with natural environments while promoting and expanding outdoor education and improving their knowledge of forest-based ecosystems.

The LEAF pilot programme, which ended earlier this year, was a fantastic success with 53 schools and nurseries across 21 local authorities taking part.

LEAF increases opportunities for pupils to learn outdoors, while allowing students to take the lead in improving their school grounds and local community for the benefit of nature. The programme can be adapted to fit with learners in nurseries, primary and secondary schools and to pupils with additional support needs.

Annette Valentine, teacher at St Andrew’s RC Primary School in Midlothian, said: “It was lovely to have a reason to be outside. As our outside time was contributing to our LEAF award we made a point of going out and not putting it off until next week.

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"Our playground has been transformed, we have an area outside each classroom where pupils can garden and observe wildlife. We have also cleared an area of woodland on our grounds to become an outside classroom.

"The buzz about the gardens and wildlife was something we did not have before and is there in abundance now.”

Nicola Davidson, Keep Scotland Beautiful education and learning officer, added: “LEAF is a fantastic opportunity to get involved in a project that supports mental and physical health of pupils and teachers, as well as giving pupils the opportunity to expand their learning in an outdoor environment.”

Visit LEAF | Keep Scotland Beautiful for details.