The aim of this project is to encourage and inspire pupils and teaching staff through positive outdoor experiences. By participating in engaging, motivating and achievable tasks and activities outside of the classroom each participant has an opportunity to develop intrinsic motivation, sound emotional and social skills. Due to changes in society and the rise in the use of technology, many children do not make the most of the world outside of their classrooms and homes. This project is a way to further develop these skills with our students, preparing them for the future career market but it also offers valuable opportunities to expand our pedagogical practice and our own professional competences. As part of a staff meeting and through discussion with our locality colleagues we have identified as a school that we are not using the outdoors to its fullest effect and that we want to develop staff confidence in using the outdoors more creatively across a range of subjects.
Over the two years, training and job shadowing will be targeted so members of staff who will have most impact from their training and members of staff who would most benefit from the training will be selected. Groups of participating staff will be carefully selected so that there is a balance of experience and language skills. The selection process will be clear and transparent so that all members of staff are clear why and how successful staff are selected.
The opportunity to collaborate and learn from our European partners, will help us improve our future cooperation both as teachers and as future workers, using our languages in a meaningful way and developing our understanding of the huge potential the outdoor curriculum can develop in children's lives.
The project partners in England, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Slovakia, Romania and Italy are keen to develop our skills, knowledge and understanding together. All partners are new except for England and Greece. We would like to work together again as during our Comenius project together, which finished 2 years ago, we identified these skills as a priority for both of our schools. We are planning a 2 year project including teacher training and job shadowing.
During the first year of the project (2017/2018) there will be a focus area each term. In the first year we will also participate in two 'Outdoor Curriculum' courses which will focus on different skills. On returning from the courses the teachers will develop 'Outdoor Curriculum' guides that can be used as a training tool with staff and that can be shared on our etwinning space. This can ultimately be shared with a wider audience when we publish the space as a website. In the first year we will also develop literacy skills during an 'Enchanted Woodland' project, develop a health and wellbeing project and there will also be a Science focus.
During the second year of the project (2018/2019) we will review all the training we have received in the Spring and Summer term of the first year and ensure that we incorporate the skills and practices into our projects. Our focus areas will be Maths in the Outdoors, Art in the Outdoors and caring for our Environment.
Assessment and dissemination are two of our main concerns whilst carrying out the project. All of the people involved, meaning parents, teachers and pupils will evaluate and disseminate what has been done through different media. We will also carry out a clear audit of current skills/expertise across staff and pupils before the project begins and complete the same audit at the end of the project so we have a clear measure for impact.
The impact will also be visible on the work published on the etwinning space and the 'Outdoor Curriculum' guides produced for staff training. We will review our curriculum during the project to ensure skills acquired whilst we are collaborating with our partners are embedded as part of our ongoing curriculum. This will ensure that these skills continue to be taught and developed long after the project has finished. Longer term benefits are the increased confidence of staff and pupils to be creative and imaginative in their use of the 'Outdoor Curriculum'. There should be an increased use of the outdoors for teaching and learning and a tangible improvement in teachers' confidence levels. We should also see an improvement in the childrens' confidence when outdoors and a child centred approach to teaching the outdoor curriculum where pupil voice is strong.