Cumbrian Schools Environmental Excellence Awards Presentation

This competition was open to all Cumbrian Schools as a way of highlighting and publicising the excellent work that is undertaken in so many of them and is rarely given the priority it deserves in official inspections.

Each school was asked to say what their recent achievements have been and how they would like to spend a possible prize of £500 to further improve their environment. It proved too difficult to select one winner that was so much better than several others so £250 is being awarded to each of these four equally excellent schools:

Hawkshead

Esthwaite Primary,

Kirkoswald CE Primary,

Skelton,

Ulverston CE Infants;

and a smaller runners-up prize to Roose Primary.

The presentation of cheques will be made at Cumbria Outdoors Hawes End Centre on the shores of Derwentwater, Keswick on THURSDAY 13th SEPTEMBER at 4.30pm.

Mick Waters, a respected advocate of all that is best in education, an ex Cumbrian teacher and headteacher, latterly CEO for Manchester and then head of QCA, and recently appointed as NAEE President, was one of our competition judges and will be the guest presenter.

Environment Cumbria has been promoting the value of Environmental Education for over 40 years in partnership with the National Association. We have used up funding held for a revised  county resource guide, which is no longer deemed necessary, for the competition and remain keen to recruit a new generation of educationalists who can see the value of learning IN, ABOUT and FOR the ENVIRONMENT.

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NEW Forest School movement launched

On July 7th the Forest School movement reached a milestone in its history in the UK.  After two years of consultation and many years talking, the new independent Forest School Association was launched.  The first Directors were duly elected, there was a healthy debate about the name of the organisation which has now been decided on, and it is the Forest School Association, there was the usual networking and a variety of workshops.  The day had a real celebratory feel to it along with a sense of ‘pulling together’.  The association will be a voice for Forest School, support practice, ensure quality training and push forward on research.  It has been welcomed by many including patron Tim Gill who said:

I am very honoured to be asked to be the patron of the first national association for those working to take forward the Forest School movement……………… For me, the potential of Forest School is built on two vital foundation stones: the intrinsic qualities of natural places, and the intrinsic motivations and learning impulses of children. If Forest School is to leave a lasting impression on the lives of the children and young people who experience it, these two need equal emphasis…………. I look forward to following and cheering on the work of the Association, and I am happy to do whatever I can to help take the organisation forward.”

Source : http://www.outdoor-learning.org/Default.aspx?tabid=104

Forest Schools have featured in many articles in Environmental Education journal – https://naeeuk.wordpress.com/naee-journal-and-publications/environmental-education-journal/

Compiled by Henricus Peters, Co-chair of NAEE

Launch of the new ‘Forest School Association’

Saturday 7th July 2012 saw the launch of a new national body for those working in UK Forest School settings – the ‘Forest School Association.’ The launch event was seen as a milestone in the growth of Forest School in the UK with almost 200 participants braving the elements to undertake workshops and networking sessions, which all took place outside. The event saw the first Directors elected, a group of whom will function as Officers to the body and aim to represent the variety of those involved with Forest School. The association will be a voice for Forest School, support practice, ensure quality training and push forward on research.

(Information taken from www.lotc.org.uk)

 

The new association will take time to develop and more information will be available on the IOL website in coming weeks, see: www.outdoor-learning.org/Default.aspx?tabid=104

Campaigning For Environmental Education

 

The ingredients of the curriculum – what goes in and what does not – are being hotly debated at the moment regarding Environmental Education. NAEE is part of this debate, but we need to ensure our advice is ready to roll out, when the Curriculum Reviews are complete.

Here are my thoughts on this debate, I hope it stimulates thought and discussion, and get in touch if you have any comments for us about it.

  • What do we mean by ‘environmental education’?
  • What should ‘environmental education’ look like?
  • How is it similar/different from pure science/geography?
  • How do teachers include it in an already-busy timetable?

We aim to produce a series of key ideas and transform these into short pieces, which will then become part of a NAEE Environmental Education Paper policy with exemplars.

…………………..

NAEE is a key player in promoting Environmental Education (EE) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) to be part of/a major theme within school curriculum.

As executive member and former EE advisor Sue Fenoughty points out:

“This definitely seems to be the moment when we must act, as in this article from the Guardian, it says there are going to be major changes to science studies under the reforms for the national curriculum with the Science curriculum expected to ’emphasise using the natural habitat around schools – learning biology by studying the growth and development of trees, for example’ – so, in other words, much more emphasis on using the local environment. (environmental education). The article mention that the science curriculum in Japan has at its core the love of nature … and, as we know, you can’t develop a love of nature unless you’ve been out in a natural environment.”

The new programmes of study are being published for consultation this week, and are to be introduced in schools in September 2014, so not far away.

Yes, it’s all ‘up in the air’ and no-one knows where it will end up. And yes, it’s confusing and frustrating in the meantime. But also, yes, NAEE will have some key concrete ideas to present – intelligent responses and exemplars to the questions when they come along.

Henricus Peters, NAEE CoChair

 

Bringing Education to the Jungle

In the 1980s a handful of Bolivian street children were taken on a field trip into the Amazon Basin.  These children were blown away by what they saw – the trees, the flowers, the animals – but also by devastation from farming and illegal logging.  When they saw a spider monkey, malnourished and trapped in a cage, the children rescued the monkey.  Then they began to campaign; eventually they raised enough money to open the first sanctuary for wild animals in Bolivia.  They called it Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi, which means sun, moon and stars in Quechua, Aymara and Chiriguano Guarani, symbolising hope for unification between Bolivia’s environment and its people.  Now CIWY runs three refuges in different parts of Bolivia, rescuing exotic animals from captivity, rehabilitating and releasing where possible – where not, offering damaged creatures dignity and respect in environments as wild as possible.

I started working with CIWY in 2007 and, like countless other international volunteers, my experience (including the totally unexpected relationship I formed with a female puma) changed my life.  But CIWY not only takes in animals and raises awareness with their volunteers; they also help underprivileged young Bolivians by providing them with safe homes, educations, the chance to learn about their environment and, ultimately, the chance to make a difference on their own.  CIWY take their work out into local communities, and they are just beginning to bring the jungle into English speaking classrooms.  We have created an educational resource pack that tells the story of CIWY – how it is possible for paws, claws, boots, roots, feathers and tails to live together, in harmony.  If you are interested, please visit www.ciwy.org

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Laura Coleman, CIWY

Empty Classroom Day – Taking Learning Outdoors!

Friday 6th July 2012 marks the Empty Classroom Day, a day where pupils will head outside to learn, and we would like you to join us! This exciting initiative seeks to uniquely tackle recent concerns, from both the National Trust and Natural England, that children are suffering from ‘nature deficit disorder’ and that there is an ‘extinction of experience’ when engaging with the natural environment.

The Empty Classroom Day is happening right across the UK, but was created by a collection of organisations who met at the London Sustainable Schools Forum (LSSF), all supporting learning outside the classroom, school grounds and growing. The day was developed to help schools benefit from outdoor learning and share their best practice with other schools.

Schools are signing up to support outdoor learning and to show that one class will be learning outside for one lesson on Friday 6th July. Pupils will be:

  • Doing their maths lesson in the playground
  • Making art on city farms
  • Doing bug hunts at nature reserves
  • Running races for school sports days
  • Bird watching in their playgrounds
  • Writing stories in the local park
  • Following maps in Zoos
  • Weeding in the school vegetable patch.

What are the benefits?

Learning outside the classroom can be fun, memorable and healthy. Everyone benefits from learning outside:

  • Young people will get the chance to learn in new, more relevant and exciting ways – in particular these can benefit those who find classroom learning difficult
  • Teachers will be able to broaden and deepen their teaching skills and subject knowledge while working with more motivated pupils
  • The school can use these new approaches to raise achievement
  • The wider community can benefit through involvement in, for example, developing school gardens of all kinds, leading to a wider understanding of issues such as healthy eating, sustainability and caring for the environment.

How does my school join?

Schools can sign up to the event by following this link:

http://projectdirt.com/group/the-empty-classroom/page/signup

For those schools that have signed up there are special offers for visits, tours, treasure hunts and lots of activity packs with ideas for what your class can do in your school playground.

We hope you and your school can join us on this fantastic initiative and that we can take learning outdoors together!

– By Sarah Simmons, NAEE Member

BIRMINGHAM CHILDREN : NEW OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD FROM ‘NAEE’

Many Birmingham school children are being denied the opportunity to experience learning about their
environment due to school funding cuts. Schools report finding it increasingly difficult to find money within their budgets to take classes out to Environmental Education Centres where charges have risen recently due to cuts from local authority funding.

The National Association for Environmental Education (NAEE) is now stepping in to help schools by providing bursaries to enable these key activities to continue within the city.

A local Birmingham family, with a long history of supporting education in the area, is concerned that city children should not be deprived of the opportunity to experience a more natural environment away from the city streets. They have awarded NAEE funding from the Kenrick Trust to enable pupils from nine schools annually to visit Environmental Education Centres, covering all costs involved. These visits will give our young citizens the opportunity to learn and understand about the natural world,
leading to fostering more responsible and caring attitudes.
The Hugh Kenrick Days was launched on Monday 14th May.
Lozells Primary School and St. Paul’s School, Balsall Heath, are amongst the first to benefit from this much needed project. Lozells Primary will be visiting Bell Heath Education Centre, run
by Birmingham City Council.

White House Summit on Environmental Education

 

The White House convenes a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss the importance of environmental education and the core concepts and principles that contribute the most to environmental literacy, including panel discussions with environmental education leaders, remarks from several Administration officials and a panel on the Federal government’s on-going commitment to the field of environmental education.