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School’s out in National Park!

14th October 2008

A MAJOR drive is underway to help get schoolchildren out of the classroom and into Britain’s biggest national park.

Education experts from the Cairngorms National Park and beyond are keen to use the park’s spectacular landscapes in teaching subjects from art and English to science and technology.

Research has shown that learning outdoors boosts the personal development of children and young people as well as giving them first hand knowledge of the natural world and sparking enthusiasm for the outdoors.

More than 80 people, including teachers, councillors, education chiefs and outdoor education staff, recently gathered at the Lecht Ski Centre in Morayshire to develop ideas on using Scotland’s national parks to the full.

Forging strong links between the parks and the Scottish Government’s formal educational programme, the Curriculum for Excellence, was a main priority of the day organised by Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) and Learning and Teaching Scotland. (LTS)

“Obviously there are superb opportunities in the Cairngorms National Park for kids to learn about things like geography, geology, culture and history” said CNPA convener David Green. “But scope for young people to learn and broaden their horizons through their experience outdoors goes way beyond that.

“The big country of the Cairngorms National Park encourages big thinking and children who are inspired and encouraged by the landscape will grow up to become knowledgeable, enthusiastic ambassadors for the area.”

LTS Area Adviser, Eddie Broadley chaired the ‘Cairngorms in the Curriculum’ event at the Lecht.

He said: “Curriculum for Excellence is about giving teachers the freedom and flexibility to look at new and innovative approaches to learning. The Cairngorms National Park offers a excellent opportunity to engage children and young people in their learning and make links across the curriculum, showing how learning is relevant to modern day life.

“There is a great reservoir of support available to schools to assist them in taking learning outdoors and there is a wealth of opportunities for teachers to inspire pupils, developing skills for work and life in the 21st Century.”