Learning in the great outdoors
Edinburgh’s iconic Holyrood Park will be transformed into the country’s largest outdoor classroom for two days next week.
The Outdoor Learning Challenge is the first event of its kind to be staged in Scotland and is taking place in Holyrood Park on Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 September.
It has proved so popular that organisers from the City of Edinburgh Council’s Sports and Outdoor Learning Unit have put on an extra day to accommodate the 1,900 pupils from 40 different schools taking part.
Over the two days of the event, organised with partners Historic Environment Scotland, Dynamic Earth and Moray House School of Education, there will be a wide variety of outdoor challenges for the pupils to tackle in three themed zones – Explore, Discover and Create.
Activities include: orienteering, mountain biking, archaeological excavation, ropes/tents/knots challenges, learning about geography, biodiversity, conservation and environmental art.
Cllr Ian Perry, Convener for Education, Children and families at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “The Outdoor Learning Challenge is a fantastic opportunity to bring together young people from across the city and showcase just how amazing our planet really is alongside discovering many other exciting ways you can learn and play in the outdoors.
“As well as providing an exciting and challenging day for pupils, the event aims to provide school staff with ideas and stimulus to take their regular teaching into the outdoors, and to showcase the many providers who operate across the city to support and provide Outdoor Learning experiences.
“It’s going to be a great event and well done to our Sports and Outdoor learning Unit and partners Dynamic Earth and Historic Environment Scotland for pulling it all together.”
Anna Danby, Learning Manager for Dynamic Earth, said: “We’re really excited to be supporting Edinburgh’s first ever Outdoor Learning Challenge. Our mission is to inspire people to learn all about how our Earth works and we believe that hands on outdoor learning is an essential part of achieving this. In Edinburgh we are so lucky to have the amazing landscape of Holyrood Park at the heart of our city.
“Experiencing first-hand how landscapes form, walking on ancient lava flows, discovering fossilised tropical beaches and getting up close with a whole manner of unique wildlife are just some of the learning potential the park offers. Our learning team are looking forward to some outdoor time travelling to uncover the explosive past of Arthur’s seat.”
Robert May, Holyrood Park Ranger at Historic Environment Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be able to host the Outdoor Learning Challenge event, the largest of its kind, along with our partners, City of Edinburgh Council, Dynamic Earth and University of Edinburgh.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming school pupils from all over the city to Holyrood Park, to take part in a number of exciting and interesting workshops and experience the joy of learning in the outdoors.”