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:
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
School Grounds Design
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
School Grounds Case Studies
Carstairs Primary School
Carstairs Primary School's outdoor learning day is an excellent example of using School Grounds for learning. Read more.
Cadder Primary School
Pupils at Cadder Primary School chose School Grounds as one of their Eco-Schools topics and shared their work with us as part of their most recent Green Flag Award application. Read more.