BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 17th June '14

AN INITIATIVE TO GET SCHOOL KIDS TO LEARN OUTSIDE

A series of workshops is taking place across the South west – and tomorrow’s your last chance to get involved.

The workshops are open to all, but teachers from primary, special and secondary schools have been targeted. The aim is to give teachers the confidence to maximise the cross-curricular learning opportunities that an outdoor ‘blue space’ – whether it’s a beach, estuary, lake or river – has to offer. ‘Teach on the Beach’ will also encourage more children to become involved with the marine environment.

‘Teach on the Beach’ is the first water-based CPD (Continuing Professional Development) training initiative from the Natural Connections Project, funded by DEFRA, Natural England and English Heritage. It aims to increase the number of school-aged children experiencing the massive benefits of learning in the natural environment.

Teach the curriculum outside

Ian Blackwell, Natural Connections’ project manager, said: ‘The aim is for teachers to be able to use blue spaces all year round to help them deliver lessons from across the curriculum. We know that schools take children down to the beach or the river, but often there is no link to the curriculum; so this is different.

‘When the curriculum includes history, literacy, numeracy and modern languages, providing lessons on the beach or beside the river is an innovative approach that will help to bring these subjects alive for children and have a lasting impact on their learning. Through this programme, teachers will get the opportunity to develop a whole range of new skills and build their confidence to take their class outdoors and make the best use of blue spaces.

‘In the last few years there’s been a real desire among teachers to take children outside of the classroom and a growing acknowledgement that it is beneficial to children’s learning and to their health. We will evaluate the success of the programme and hope to expand it to help meet the growing demand for this kind of training.’

Workshops

Tomorrow (18th June), the Marine Biological Association will be hosting a workshop at Batten Bay, Plymouth, Devon. The cross-curricular workshop will look at species, habitats, life cycles, food webs, evaporation and how humans affect the blue environment. Pollution is among the topics.

On the same day, Earthworks’ ‘Go with the Flow’ will take place at Snuff Mills on the River Frome, Somerset. It will include hands-on activities including stream dipping, global games to examine issues such as pollution and creative activities to help bring the curriculum alive including sculpture, poetry and performance.

The world-class training programme will come from the Eden Project, the Marine Biological Association, Nature Workshops and Earthworks. The sessions are open to all schools across the South West on a first come, first served basis. All participants from every workshop will receive a comprehensive pack of materials to support their teaching.

Places are limited, so fill in a reservation form on the website to reserve a spot.

For more information on Teach on the Beach, have a look at the Blue Mile website.