Scotland eyes outdoor learning as model for reopening of schools

By Libby Brooks for theguardian.com

Outdoor learning could offer a template for socially distanced schooling across Scotland, according to practitioners who believe the coronavirus pandemic could push parents and teachers to embrace the benefits of education in the outdoors.

While Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has warned that schools may not reopen until August, the Guardian understands that local authorities are exploring how using outdoor space could optimise physical distancing.

Scotland’s children’s minister, Maree Todd, said: “There are a growing number of fully and partially outdoor childcare settings in Scotland. This model could have many benefits for maintaining physical distancing and minimising risk of transmission as part of the transition from lockdown back into early learning and childcare and school. While specialist outdoor nurseries are well attuned to the needs of children spending all day outdoors, other establishments are considering how to adapt their practice to enable more time to be spent in gardens and playgrounds.”

The outdoor experience is already a part of Scotland’s “curriculum for excellence”, while many councils have ambitious plans to expand outdoor learning as they meet the Scottish government’s commitment to a near-doubling of funded childcare this year.

Read more here.

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