Learning in the great outdoors

Learning in the great outdoors


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Get outdoors and enjoy the world around you this Wales Outdoor Learning Week! The week promotes and celebrates the benefits for both people and the planet of learning in the natural environment.

Sitting within the wider context of the Wales declaration of a climate and biodiversity emergency and the planned response to that, this week brings the opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness of the value of outdoor learning.

Connection with nature and immersion in the natural world lays the foundations for the journey to net zero. It is essential that we understand the connection between what is happening in the world around us and the changing climate– if you don’t care about or understand nature, it can be harder to understand the importance of climate change.

Nature and wellbeing

Wales Outdoor Learning Week runs from 19 to 25 April; the aim of the week is to encourage all – families and schools – to embed outdoor learning, environmental education and connections with nature within the core of the education provided for children and young people.

Outdoor learning week has four calls to action – get outside and spend time in nature, learn outside, take responsibility for nature and get active. Recent events and the impact of the pandemic have raised awareness of the value of being outside for our wellbeing as well as for the planet. There is so much to see and do at home as well as in the countryside around us.

Wales leads the way

Wales Outdoor Learning Week is an initiative of the Wales Council for Outdoor Learning. The shared vision of the Council is for Wales to become a world leader for education on sustainability and a beacon for outdoor learning.

Amanda Smith, Training Manager at the Centre for Alternative Technology and joint Vice Chair of said:

“The hands-on learning that we see in the early years and through forest school works for all ages and helps children and young people develop confidence, resilience and team working as well improving wellbeing and building their understanding of the world around them.”

Outdoor learning at CAT

At CAT we support a learner-centred approach, providing varied opportunities to experiment and discover whilst immersed in nature. Once a barren slate quarry, CAT’s visitor centre is now a haven for wildlife with a wide variety of thriving habitats. These outdoor spaces offer emersion in the natural world while exploring a wide range of themes at CAT, whether it’s exploring sustainable building solutions throughout the visitor centre or learning about water and sanitation near CAT’s reservoir.

We hope to welcome visitors back to explore the displays and outdoor spaces at CAT very soon but in the meantime, our ‘CAT at Home’ activities and events offer a wide range of ideas for all ages of things you can do outdoors and at home to explore, engage with, learn about and be inspired by our amazing natural world.

What should secondary education for sustainability look like?

CAT is working with partners across the UK on education for environmental sustainability. Secondary teachers and young people aged 16-18 are invited to share their ideas and contribute to a manifesto for education for environmental sustainability, being launched to coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in November.

CAT is leading on the contribution from Wales. If you are 16-18 years old, or teach that age group, a great action for Wales Outdoor Learning week is to sign up for a workshop and have your say.

To take part sign up here:

https://www.york.ac.uk/education/research/uyseg/research-projects/manifesto-efes/

Get involved

Find about more about the work of the Wales Council for Outdoor Learning: https://www.walescouncilforoutdoorlearning.org/

#walesoutdoorlearningweek

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