"A Sustainability and Curriculum Change curriculum needs to provide children with the truth about climate change through a knowledge-rich education."
The rapid changes in our world require educators to adopt a flexible approach to teaching and learning within a pedagogy of hope.
Using a hands-on approach, outdoors, through direct experience of nature, young people can be empowered to not only understand ‘the facts’ but also to develop a greater appreciation of nature through participation in experientially informed, interactive discussions about environmental problems and possible solutions, offering opportunities for critical thinking and communication skills, creative thinking and collaboration, showing children that they can be agents of change.
Bloomsbury's 'Sustainability and Climate Change Curriculum Outdoors for Key Stage two' is all about outdoor learning; learning in nature, learning about nature and learning through nature, specifically in relation to climate change and sustainability.
It is a similar format to Bloomsbury's National Curriculum Outdoors series of books, but with lesson progressions for lower key stage 2 and upper key stage two (rather than a book for each year group).
The lesson progressions focus on assessing and developing the school grounds and increasing awareness of, and mitigating, the effects of climate change through improving the biodiversity of the school grounds or nearby open space.
The new book builds on the award winning National Curriculum Outdoors; a complete scheme of work series, providing 6 progressions for Lower KS2 and 6 progressions for Upper KS2 linked to the National Curriculum programmes of study to support the DfE Sustainability and Climate Change strategy.
As with the National Curriculum Outdoors series of books, progression in knowledge and skills is key.
The book provides background information about climate change, leadership strategies to embed a whole school approach to a practical, hands on approach to Sustainability and Climate Change learning outdoors and guidance for school-ground development - aiming to to support teachers to deliver the DfE Sustainability and Climate Change strategy effectively - outdoors.
Matthew Dampier Headteacher 2023
"The most important component for making any project like this successful is consensus and near-universal support – a buy-in for all. Gaining the ‘voice’ of the whole school community, not just listening but hearing the voices, views and opinions of others was vital to the grounds tranformation project; as important as securing funding in order to be confident of genuine support for the project. Initial workshops and consultations to share views and suggestions on the proposed plans were undertaken, to collect to the ‘voices’ of the children, staff, parents and governors of the school. Gathering the advice of many could be seen as an onerous task, but actually the process is a powerful one as it enables everyone to realise that they are not a lone voice, that many others agree with the ambition and through this the vision gains momentum. Developing a collaborative long-term Strategic Plan for the grounds means everyone in the school has a shared positive vision. It is then not a design created by a consultant but is created by the entire school and everyone within it. It is made all the better for being the sum of so many parts."
"We are now at a point where I know we have achieved a lot in 18 months, with much pre-planning. The profile of outdoor education at Droxford has been raised by the inclusion of in our School Improvement Plan, staff have been tasked with developing their subjects with more focus on outdoor learning, head teacher performance management is linked to increasing the profile of outdoor learning and we want to run another Landscape Strategy Plan this summer to find out where are we now; what difference have made and what our new cohort of children want for their future. The school targets and school council have this as key tasks."
"We really want to know the difference our project would make, attracting wildlife in and around the school site. So, at the start of the planting process, before the professional horticulturalists were brought in, an ecology study of the site was commissioned to provide accurate baseline data. We have two very detailed reports of what was seen growing in the grounds and what wildlife was seen, at certain times across the year, which forms part of a longitudinal study. There is still much to do but the constant cycle of planning through the seasons never fails to inspire.
The site looks wonderful and when the plants begin to bloom this spring I am confident we will see some of our ‘target’ insects identified on the Wilder Committee ‘Wanted’ posters. But we are not a finished article. Not only do we want to see more wildlife in school and how we attract it but we need to evaluate that what are we doing will increase happiness and wellbeing. How do we know our children are healthier and happier? Is it impacting on engagement with learning and raised attainment? What will the ecology study say next time? What can we do next? How can this be made sustainable? "
You can read more about this process here: https://www.droxfordjunior.co.uk/page/?title=Outdoor+Learning+and+Play&pid=26
Frankie, Immy, Maisy, Matthew Tree Council Young Tree Champion Junior ambassadors 2023
“Nature gives and gives and we can never measure up, but we must do what we can. We want to get more people helping nature so there is a chance for nature to have a chance. We are fascinated by the natural world and there is so much to uncover - new species are being discovered every year. We want other people to understand and experience how nature makes us feel”.
“Between us, we have carried out a lot of actions for nature since we started the project in Year Four. We took part in after school “Speaking Up for Nature” sessions and entered this year’s writing competition. We have presented in assemblies and gave a guided tour at our Nature Roadshow, to tell people about our project and inspire others. There are videos we have created and posted on our website, and we also took part in filming for ITV Meridian, telling people about the importance of wild bees. We are often drawing or writing about nature and set aside our own time to care for the grounds regularly.”
“In the past, we have shared our ideas through newsletters, our school website, assemblies and the Club Space. We’ve made videos, written poetry and campaigned outside of school. As well as carrying on with these things we’d like to add an outside display board that showcases what we are doing. We need to “go public”. We liked appearing on ITV Meridian and saw that it can have a big impact, so we think we should make more use of TV. Writing social media posts is on our list because we see that many people use it and it can spread the message to a wider community of people. Lots of children across the school have been involved in the project but we’d now like each House to champion a mini project involving biodiversity or reducing pressure on the environment. We want to help KS1 lead more things and help them to achieve Hedgehog Friendly status. However, this year we would like to bring the adults in. We want to share our thoughts and feelings with them, so they understand the magic of nature. We think we should contact councillors and join up more often with local organisations. We’d also like to bring our parents into school, to help us make changes to our grounds so we can leave a legacy but also to inspire them to make changes at home.”
You can read more from teacher Julie Newman, St Alban's CofE Primary School, Hampshire here:
Michelle Roberts - Arena Director 2023
Our team of Wild Tribe Outdoors trainers have developed Earth Tribe; a Sustainability and Climate Change programme to be delivered in schools - outdoors.
The core themes running through the scheme include:
You can find out more here: https://www.arena-schools.co.uk/news/23768/wild-tribe-rewild-competition-launched
Aimee Felus 2023
As part of its schools and education programme, the Brighton-based The Aquifer Partnership (TAP) has developed Rainscapes, also known as Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS). SuDS are a nature-based solution that promotes water health and the rainscapes optimise play and educational opportunities while reducing flooding, cleaning water, and increasing biodiversity.
One of the schools they worked with, Moulsecoomb Primary School, had a well-used courtyard garden that had become tired and a burden upon the management team. The Aquifer Partnership worked with the school to renovate the courtyard space, transforming it into a water-friendly garden, increasing biodiversity and an area used for outdoor learning, quiet space and play. The pupils in the school were involved every step, creating art and helping with the planting, with the project providing opportunities to link to the curriculum, e.g. in maths exploring a variety of measures, as well the opportunity for community action and biodiversity studies.
You can find more information about the partnership here:
Photo credit Robert Bray Associates Maple Photography
Look out for our book launch CPD events in
Cornwall, Devon, Hampshire, Surrey, Gloucestershire and Dorset in March 2024!
Join the National Curriculum Outdoors Facebook group to find out more.