Aviemore ELC started to develop the outdoor learning experiences for their children this time last year by engaging in STEM training funded by the Scottish Government. However, since the challenges of Covid-19 they have worked hard to develop this further and have continued this journey using the Highland Council online Bitesize sessions on outdoor learning.
Each bubble of children has a tarpaulin shelter, a toilet and handwashing station. Children are free to explore, be creative, investigate and problem solve in a variety of ways. Children can be seen making up their own games in groups, playing alone and responding to materials and resources provided by the staff in response to their interests. Examples of the kind of child led play and learning that can be observed are children using real tools, a small group making up a story of their own and other children using what they could find to create dens supported by interested and supportive adults. In addition to the bases the groups go on adventures to explore beyond them providing different opportunities for learning, for example at the burn.
Most notably there has been a significant impact on the wellbeing of the children. Staff have observed the positive impact on the children’s relationships and social skills, their level of engagement in their play and perseverance. Staff are enthusiastic and keen on making good use of these spaces within the community that provide rich and varied opportunities for learning outdoors.