Francesca Osowska and John Swinney with school children. ©Greg Macvean.

School pupils join call to help nature

25 November 2019

More than 100 schools have signed up to offer pupils in our most disadvantaged areas outdoor learning sessions in nature, Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced today.

Through outdoor learning and play, young people can enjoy and learn about the outdoors in their local area.

Spending time in nature helps people to understand and value it more – a key step in addressing biodiversity loss and tackling climate change. Nature has also been proven to improve mental and physical health for people of all ages. It can also contribute to a range of educational outcomes and help reduce the attainment gap, giving pupils who might struggle in a classroom environment an opportunity to thrive.

Mr Swinney joined children from the 100 schools at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, to create an art project from natural materials as he called on more schools across Scotland to join the scheme and get involved over the next year.

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:  “Learning outdoors has many benefits, from developing an appreciation for the natural world to problem solving, as well as improving the health and wellbeing of both pupils and teachers. Building in opportunities for outdoor learning into everyday school activity means young people from all backgrounds have the opportunities to engage, understand and help our natural world.”

Francesca Osowska, Chief Executive, Scottish Natural Heritage said: “We know how important getting outdoors is for children’s health and wellbeing and for their learning. 

“A priority is to make use of local parks and greenspace to help make sure every child can access regular, structured time outdoors. This is so important in learning how to value and explore our wonderful outdoors, and starting heathy habits that can last a lifetime.”

Over the next year, SNH and partners will work with over 100 schools to deliver regular outdoor learning activities to over 3000 pupils in their local greenspaces, as well as providing professional learning to approximately 250 teachers.