In a first for Scotland, the park was transformed into the country’s largest outdoor classroom to give pupils from forty schools from across Edinburgh the chance to experience Outdoor Learning in the fresh air and inspiring surroundings of Holyrood Park.
As is often the case in Scotland, the weather changed a two-day event into a single day, due to the first named storm of the year. Pupils and teachers took part in a diverse array of active learning topics including team building, physical activity, archaeology, geography, biodiversity, history, conservation and environmental art.
The Outdoor Learning challenge was the first event of its kind in Scotland, and what better stage than Holyrood Park and it's famous Arthur seat backdrop. All participants gave the day a big thumbs up.
Organised with partners Historic Environment Scotland, Dynamic Earth and Moray House School of Education. The event featured three themed zones – Explore, Discover and Create. Many organisation supported the innovative event, which was commended by the Convener for Education, Children and Families at Edinburgh Council, Cllr Ian Perry, who 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 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 was aimed at providing 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 was a great event and well done to our Sports and Outdoor learning Unit and partners... for pulling it all together.”
Learners and teachers had the chance to build a microscope at the National Trust for Scotland station, try an adaptive bike course with Edinburgh all-ability bike club, master storm kettles and fire building with Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust and the Green Team to name but a few.
Learning manager for Dynamic Earth, Anna Danby, said: “We were excited to support Edinburgh’s first ever Outdoor Learning Challenge. Our mission is to inspire people to learn all about how our planet 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.”
Holyrood Park Ranger Robert May said they were looking forward to giving Edinburgh school pupils the chance to “experience the joy of learning outdoors.”