How To Guide

Please note that we are currently running a pilot version of the LEAF programme, so registrations are not currently open. If you are not registered on the pilot programme, you can complete our waiting list form and use these pages to learn more about LEAFYou may find our resources and training pages especially useful as these contain activities and training opportunities that are open to all.  

This How to Guide contains all the information you need to complete your LEAF award. You can start with our handbook, which contains detailed step by step guidance on completing the award:

LEAF handbook for Educators

In the rest of this How to Guide you can find templates, ideas and examples to help you complete each step of your LEAF award.

View our Tree of Learning curricular maps to help you link your LEAF activities to the curriculum: Early Level, First Level, Second Level, Third Level, Fourth Level


The key aims of the LEAF programme are to:

  • Reconnect children and young people with natural environments
  • Promote and expand outdoor education
  • Improve knowledge of forest-based ecosystems

In completing these aims, children and young people should gain a deeper understanding of the natural world and a desire to protect it.

We expect to see evidence of fulfilment of each of these aims in order to qualify for a LEAF award. Examples of how to do this can be found in the Action Plan section of this How to Guide.

LEAF programme outline

The steps of the programme are as follows:

  1. Register as a LEAF establishment.
    • The award is free to all nurseries and schools in Scotland.
    • You need at least one staff member to act as LEAF coordinator for your establishment.
  2. Work through the steps of the Forest Cycle.
    • 1 year for first award (6 months for pilot).
    • 2 years to renew award.
  3. Complete and submit your award application.
    • You can count your LEAF award towards an Eco-Schools application.
  4. Receive award.
  5. Start new Forest Cycle.

The Forest Cycle

To gain your LEAF award, you need to complete each part of the Forest Cycle. Please note, the order of the Forest Cycle can be changed to suit your setting, provided all steps are covered. There is a lot of flexibility in how you meet the requirements of the award.

Further guidance on each step of the cycle can be found within the sections of this How To Guide.

If you are unsure about how to cover any aspect of the award, please contact us: leaf@keepscotlandbeautiful.org.

Taking part and registration:

We are currently running a pilot version of the LEAF programme, so registrations are closed. Registration for LEAF will open up to all schools in Scotland in August 2023. If you would join LEAF in August 2023, please complete our waiting list form.

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