School Grounds

The easiest first step to taking pupils outdoors is in your own school grounds. Across the UK more than half of all outdoor learning takes place within school grounds. 

Here are some resources to assist with developing your School Grounds:

Eco-Schools Curricular Map - School Grounds Topic

Our revised curricular maps showing Experiences and Outcomes related to the School Grounds Topic.

Download the curricular map for School Grounds

Beautiful Scotland

Beautiful Scotland is a community environmental improvement campaign run by Keep Scotland Beautiful in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society under the Britain in Bloom campaign. The programme supports community groups across Scotland to improve their local environment. Many Beautiful Scotland groups work with  local schools.

Get involved with your local Beautiful Scotland group

Garden For Life Resources

The Garden for Life Forum is a partnership of Scottish environmental organisations working together to increase enjoyment and understanding of wildlife in gardens. The forum has produced seven guides on gardening to get you started.

Download Garden For Life resources

School Grounds I Spy

Have a look for each of these things in your School Grounds throughout the month of June. How many can you find?

Play I Spy in your school grounds

School Grounds & Outdoor Learning

BBC Terrific Scientific - Trees Investigation

As part of the BBC science campaign Terrific Scientific, this investigation will help your pupils to think and work like a scientist, investigating why carbon storage is important through the context of trees in their school grounds.

Take part in the BBC Terrific Scientific Trees Investigation

Grounds for Learning – Outdoor Lesson Plans

Grounds for Learning helps children to connect with nature, become more active, learn outdoors, develop social skills and have fun. 

Browse hundreds of outdoor lesson ideas for outdoor learning, across all stages, many closely linked to the Curriculum for Excellence.

Grounds for Learning - Teaching Maths Outdoors

These resources look at how mathematical thinking and learning mathematical skills can be explored outdoors and is packed with curriculum-linked activities.

Download resources and get outside!

RHS Campaign for School Gardening - Build a Plastic Bottle Greenhouse

A popular activity with pupils, build a functioning greenhouse from plastic bottles. A great example of Waste Minimisation and plenty of opportunity for curricular links to maths and design. 

Download instructions to make your own Plastic Bottle Greenhouse

International School Grounds Month Activity Guide

International School Grounds Month is an annual celebration of school grounds around the world in May. This Guide is full of ideas to get the most out of your grounds, and was written by 51 organisations from 21 countries.

Download the International School Grounds Month Activity Guide

Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society Education
The RCHS provides lectures, workshops, sharing learning, providing advice, information and practical demonstrations on gardening for young people and educators.

Find out more about RCHS education

Scottish Wildlife Trust - 30 Days Wild

Do something wild every day throughout June: that’s 30 simple, fun and exciting Random Acts of Wildness. Sign up to receive a pack of wild goodies, plus lots of ideas to inspire you to go wild with your class.

Go wild with the Scottish Wildlife Trust

Woodland Trust - Outdoor Learning Pack

This outdoor learning pack for primary school teachers is full of ideas to help teachers deliver outdoor learning in a way that is aligned to Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence and contains 28 stand-alone activities.

Download the pack and get outside

Creative STAR Learning

Inside these pages are lots of practical ideas about learning and playing outdoors including blogs, lesson suggestions and grant information. Written by Juliet Robertson, author of the books Messy Maths and Dirty Teaching: A Beginner's Guide to Learning Outdoors.

Visit Creative STAR learning

Learning Through Landscapes - Outdoor Learning and Play Audit Tool

This audit tool was developed by Learning Through Landscapes Scotland to help reflect on your current outdoor spaces and practice so that you can identify priorities for development that might be supported by your school development plan, colleagues and yourself.

Download the Outdoor Learning and Play Audit Tool

School Grounds Development

Recent research by Learning Through Landscapes finds that well designed school grounds can improve behaviour, reduce bullying and cut vandalism. Improving your school’s outdoor space enhances pupils' self-esteem and improves both attainment and attitudes towards learning

Developing your grounds provides opportunities for parents and community members to get involved with the school and contribute their time and skills. Taking charge of developing their own space gives young people a sense of belonging which reduces vandalism.  The act of regenerating school grounds is good for pupils, giving them on-the-job experience of crucial life skills such as design, budgeting, sourcing and project-management, and encourages responsibility for their surroundings.

On top of all these benefits, developing your school grounds supports pupils’ entitlement to Learning for Sustainability - 'a whole school approach that enables the school and its wider community to build the values, attitudes, knowledge, skills and confidence needed to develop practices and take decisions which are compatible with a sustainable and equitable world.'  Learning outdoors allows pupils to take responsibility for both themselves and for their learning in ways that are different to learning indoors.

Place Standard Tool - How Good is Our Place?

The Place Standard Tool provides a simple framework to structure conversations about place. It allows you to think about both physical elements of a place (buildings, spaces, and transport links) and social aspects (for example whether people feel they have a say in decision making). A useful tool for older pupils to assess their School Grounds.

Get started with the Place Standard Tool

Grounds for Learning - The Playtime Revolution

In recent years, a number of Scottish primary schools have developed innovative approaches to enabling child-led outdoor play in morning and lunchtime breaks. This training resource has been created to share the learning from these schools. Its aim is to demonstrate how free play in schools can support children’s learning and development and to share practical, tested ideas and approaches to providing richer play experiences in primary schools.

Download training resource

Learning Through Landscapes - School Grounds Audit Tool

This excel spreadsheet is full of thought provoking questions about your school grounds and local greenspace for play and learning. It is an ideal starting place for schools looking to develop projects and funding bids.

Download the School Grounds Audit Tool

Learning Through Landscapes - Outdoor Play Audit Tool

Auditing your current early years provision enables you to establish and record strengths and weaknesses, and use this information as a firm foundation for future development.

Download the Outdoor Play Audit Tool

Learning Through Landscapes - Free School Grounds Resources

Loads of fantastic resources to enhance your lessons outdoors. Includes games, studies, crafts, cooking activities, creative writing and citizen science.

Browse free resources from Learning Through Landscapes

Learning Through Landscapes - Good School Playground Guide

This free guide explores the links between school grounds and children’s health, wellbeing and learning and offers practical advice on how to develop the best school playgrounds.

Download the Good School Playground Guide

Care Inspectorate - My World Outdoors

Spending time outdoors and particularly in natural environments is good for all of us and especially for children. The Care Inspectorate recognises the benefits of accessing the great outdoors and this resource aims to make a positive contribution to the further development of outdoor play as part of early learning and childcare in Scotland.

Download My World Outdoors

Scottish Government & Care Inspectorate - Space to Grow

This guidance aims to maximise the positive experiences for children and improve the quality of care and learning by helping settings to think about innovative design through adopting a child centred approach.  The design guidance was initiated as a result of the expansion in early learning and childcare, but should also be useful for out of school care settings.

Download Space to Grow

Scottish Government & Care Inspectorate - Out to Play

This How to Guide complements both Space to Grow (2017) and My World Outdoors (2016) and also provides the important step-by-step, practical advice that we know will promote more use of the outdoors. As well as nursery settings, the guide is designed to be used by childminders, schools and out of school care settings who are looking to utilise local greenspace to enhance children’s learning.

Download Out to Play

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