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Keep up the outdoor learning

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Logo: Natural Resources Wales
Maths & Numeracy in the garden – NRW’s Natural Symmetry activity (NRW)
Maths & Numeracy in the garden – NRW’s Natural Symmetry activity (NRW)

Wales Outdoor Learning Week is one of the many events and activities across the country to have been cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The campaign, which was scheduled for 30 March – 5 April 2020, is held annually by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) in partnership with the Wales Council for Outdoor Learning.

Its aim is to highlight practical ways people can connect with nature, as well as inspiring teachers, learning groups and families across Wales to embed learning in, learning about and learning for, the natural environment within school and family life.

It is hoped the events planned for Wales Outdoor Learning Week can go ahead later this year. In the meantime, Natural Resources Wales will be sharing daily ‘outdoor learning’ activities and ideas for things to do at home – whilst adhering to the Government’s social distancing guidelines.

Sue Williams, Lead Specialist Advisor: Children, Education, Lifelong Learning & Skills at NRW explained: “During this period, when most of us are told to stay at home for the foreseeable future, many parents will be struggling for things to keep their children entertained and to support their learning whilst schools are closed. Evidence shows that connecting with nature is good for us. It is also good for the environment because it can help prevent the loss of environmental knowledge and encourages lifelong positive behaviours. So we want to encourage people to continue to do so as much as they can – even if that means taking learning about the outdoors indoors for the time being! We have a bank of really useful online resources linked to the Curriculum for Wales, which are fun and educational at the same time. We have games and activities that can be done out in the garden, or indoors, so people in the same households can learn about nature and the environment together – in line with the current guidelines, of course.”

Natural Senses – awaken your natural senses, try out the activities in NRW’s Natural Senses pack (photo from Pixabay)
Natural Senses – awaken your natural senses, try out the activities in NRW’s Natural Senses pack (photo from Pixabay)

Phil Stubbington, Chair of Wales Council for Outdoor Learning said: “Whilst Wales Outdoor Learning Week showcases all that Wales has to offer (year round) to connect with nature and wildness – as well as display the amazing Outdoor Learning that goes on everyday across schools, outdoor centres, youthwork and family life – we recognise that now is not a time to celebrate. With measures put in place to keep each of us safe, we can still connect with the natural environment, through our gardens and local green spaces, the night sky, or even through reading, creativity and art. Whilst this state of reduced access to the wild places of Wales is temporary, we can rest assured that it will be there… ready... for us to connect with, enjoy and care for in the future.”

Arwel Elias, on behalf of the Outdoor Education Advisors Panel Cymru (OEAP), said: “OEAP Cymru encourage everyone to strictly follow social distancing guidance while learning outside, close to home. Carefully managed local outdoor learning will provide welcome active release for individuals and families feeling trapped. Getting into the outdoors sensibly, now, possibly more than ever, is vital to everyone’s physical and mental wellbeing, and for all of us to develop our understanding of the value and benefits of outdoor learning.”

Logo: Outdoor Learning Wales

For daily inspiration, follow the Outdoor Learning Wales Network on Twitter and Facebook. Resources are also available on the Children, Education, Lifelong and Skills section of NRW’s website, naturalresources.wales/learning

Logo: Wales Council for Outdoor Learning

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