News, stories and reports from Forestry Commission Scotland and the National Forest Estate

Woods for learning

We work with education professionals to promote the use and benefits of teaching outdoors – particularly in woods and forests.

Our education advisors have been sharing their knowledge internationally that outdoor learning contributes to good health and wellbeing, and raises awareness of issues like climate change and sustainable development.

education

Bonnie Maggio, OWL Scotland Manager, and Sally York, FCS Education Policy Advisor, travelled to Slovenia to contribute to the international seminar – ‘Nature and Children Know no Bounds’.

Pedagogical work in a forest, forest pedagogics, forest kindergartens, implementing the curriculum in natural environments are trends which have been gaining importance. Since 2012, Slovenian kindergartens and schools that have incorporated forest pedagogy into their programmes have been united in the Slovenian Network of Forest Kindergartens and Schools, which is led by the Institute for Forest Pedagogics.

Currently, over 100 educational institutions from Slovenia and neighbouring countries are united in the Network. The ways in which forest pedagogy has been incorporated into the regular programmes of Slovenian kindergartens and schools are diverse and unique, just as our forests and children are. Owing to its own development path, Slovenia is becoming a good practice example in the broader European area.

Bonnie and Sally were invited to share their knowledge of practice from Scotland with the 50 teachers who attended the event over two days giving keynote speeches and running workshops on Soils, Outdoor Numeracy, Biodiversity for Early years and Outdoor Archaeological Learning.

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No sooner had Sally come back from Slovenia then she was off to Osnabruck Germany by invitation of Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald (SDW) to speak at their conference, ‘Young people and forest-related education - beyond the box’.

SDW is the networking organisation for Forest Pedagogues in Germany where many of the members are foresters trained in Forest Pedagogy, although there appears to be people with educational and environmental backgrounds. The conference was essentially about giving young people a voice in forestry, exploring ways in which this was done in Germany and other European countries, with speakers from Austria, Finland, Scotland and Switzerland. This was very timely with the draft strategy out for consultation and Sally gained many ideas how to engage with young people.