The Conference Theme: learning in green spaces The presentations will be available at the foot of this page.
With education one of the protected services for government funding and young people needing a wider range of skills to succeed in the employment market, we focussed on young people and the benefits of engaging with them and others in the field of education to create inspiring places for formal and informal learning.
heard about research that shows how important, but variable young people's access to nature
learned from Plymouth City Council about how it has been providing learning in the natural environment whilst making improvements to its green spaces
discussed ways to equip and prepare green spaces to be more useful and attractive for learning to both teachers and children
discussed ways to reduce spending in parks whilst maintaining a quality venue
heard some of the lessons from the Rethinking Parks innovation projects
What did we learn?
Make sure that school staff, who may live in another area, know about green spaces near to the school and the opportunities they could provide for children to learn.
Talk to the local head teacher or whoever is the environmental education champion.
Green space managers or Friends groups could try to make it simpler for schools to make arrangements to use green spaces.
Hold site visits for teachers to familiarise themselves with the spaces and do a joint site assessment to look for learning opportunities
Reduce the admin burden on schools
put together an education pack of resources,
Provide site risk assessments for the school to use and tailor to its activities
Allow schools to apply for formal use once at the beginning
Think about things other than nature and the environment - could there be opportunities for making music etc
Make the park parent-friendly: its often the parents who control whether or not children can go outdoors
Signs, facilities (toilets, shelter etc) and information need to be good
Consider log circles, fire pits and wild corners in highly maintained parks
Offer apprentices and volunteers a chance to get involved