Holyrood Park to transform into huge outdoor classroom

Holyrood Park Assistant Ranger Melissa Viguier giving a talk and taking a school group on a tour around Holyrood park covering subjects on volcanoes, geology and wildlife.

Thousands of school kids will ditch the classroom and take to Holyrood Park for a day of lessons in the great outdoors.

In a first for Scotland, the park will be transformed into the country’s largest outdoor classroom to give pupils from 40 schools the chance to learn in the fresh air.

Over two days next week, children will take part in activities including orienteering, mountain biking, archaeological excavation, ropes/tents/knots challenges, learning about geography, biodiversity, conservation and environmental art.

The Outdoor Learning Challenge is the first event of its kind to be staged in Scotland and will accommodate 1,900 pupils from primary 6.

Organised with partners Historic Environment Scotland, Dynamic Earth and Moray House School of Education, there will be a wide variety of outdoor challenges for the pupils to tackle in three themed zones – Explore, Discover and Create.

Convener for Education, Children and families at Edinburgh Council, Cllr Ian Perry said: “The Outdoor Learning Challenge is a fantastic opportunity to bring together young people from across the city and showcase just how amazing our planet really is alongside discovering many other exciting ways you can learn and play in the outdoors.

“As well as providing an exciting and challenging day for pupils, the event aims to provide school staff with ideas and stimulus to take their regular teaching into the outdoors, and to showcase the many providers who operate across the city to support and provide Outdoor Learning experiences.

“It’s going to be a great event and well done to our Sports and Outdoor learning Unit and partners Dynamic Earth and Historic Environment Scotland for pulling it all together.”

Kids will get the chance to build their own microscope at the National Trust for Scotland stand, as well as trying out an adaptive bikes course with Edinburgh All-Ability Bike Centre or dabbling with storm kettles, fire lighting and fire building with Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust

Learning manager for Dynamic Earth, Anna Danby, said: “We’re really excited to be supporting Edinburgh’s first ever Outdoor Learning Challenge. Our mission is to inspire people to learn all about how our Earth works and we believe that hands-on outdoor learning is an essential part of achieving this.

“In Edinburgh we are so lucky to have the amazing landscape of Holyrood Park at the heart of our city.

“Experiencing first-hand how landscapes form, walking on ancient lava flows, discovering fossilised tropical beaches and getting up close with a whole manner of unique wildlife are just some of the learning potential the park offers.

“Our learning team are looking forward to some outdoor time travelling to uncover the explosive past of Arthur’s seat.”

Holyrood Park Ranger Robert May said they were looking forward to giving Edinburgh school pupils the chance to “experience the joy of learning outdoors”.

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