EedNET goes outdoors

As the beech leaves in my part of Hampshire are beginning to turn brown and the mornings are chill with heavy dews it’s a wonderful time to be outdoors.

Two new pioneers

And we are delighted to announce that two new pioneering organisations are joining eedNET.

The first, Learning through Landscapes, has helped to transform the way school grounds are used – as outdoor classrooms. It has also played a significant role in rethinking the way we see the outside of school as a place for certain kinds of learning and play.

As its Director, Juno Hollyhock, puts it: ‘Expansive education may be one of the few remaining pathways towards ensuring that our children grow up as competent and confident life-long learners where-ever they are educated.’

And the second organisation needs no introduction, the Eden Project. Its charismatic creator Sir Tim Smit has long been a public supporter of expansive education as well as being an extraordinarily visionary thinker about the future of the planet. Here’s what he says about us: ‘The Expansive Education Network is to be applauded for bringing so many pioneering organisations together to help young people discover themselves and develop the appetites and interests that make for a rounded life. I wholeheartedly support it and am delighted that Eden can play a part.’

As someone who has long been associated with learning outdoors and sustainable development I am thrilled to welcome both of these organisations. I’ll be at Eden on 9 October to work with schools in the region.

A pedagogy for green teaching

But it’s not just because the values of these two organisations are so much ours that I am excited.

Expansive education is specifically concerned about the way in which we encourage certain capabilities in young people and the great thing about teaching outdoors is that there’s no desk and the walls are invisible!

The outdoors invites teachers to play a different kind of teaching role, more facilitative and more likely to let children explore and experiment. The learning is almost bound to be more hands-on and experiential. Frequently it engages and connects with learners and teacher’s passions that are bigger than school.

This is a wonderful opportunity for us to establish a special interest group of teachers who would like to understand more about the power of this kind of pedagogy and its impact on the development of young people’s capabilities.

I know that my own curiosity is piqued by being in and learning about the natural world. How about you?