Take Me Out


I went along to the Take Me Out training a couple of weeks ago at the  House for an Art Lover in Bellahouston Park after being invited by Heather Douglas the Early Years Lead at Glasgow City Council . The course was led by Matt Robinson from Grounds for Learning (in England it’s known as Learning Through Landscapes) and the aim of Take Me Out is to promote a much more proactive approach to getting children outdoors into nature in the early years. They hope to do this by sharing good practice from across Europe and providing resources for people to use.

The Take Me Out project has run for two years, sharing the best practice in outdoor play in Slovakia, Estonia, Denmark and the UK. Developed by Outdoor leaders and practitioners in all partner nations. Through this project they have developed a range of resources and ideas for play and learning outdoors as well as training.  Here is a video summarising the learning from this international collaboration.

For those of us who have been immersed in the research and practice for many years a lot of what came out of the day was not new, however what was different was the commitment and passion to really make change. It was brilliant to see the useful and supportive work that came out of the Take Me Out collaboration.  The training day allowed us to take a step back and be playful outdoors as well as reflect on good practice, misconceptions about risk and how to get our children playing outdoors in all weathers.

Through my previous work as a Psychology Researcher at The Centre for Confidence and Well-being and my background in working in the early years, I remember learning and writing about the problems of the lack of time outside in nature for children and how they were suffering as a consequence.  Back then, over 10 years ago, it was definitely a counter cultural  argument and it was difficult to get people to take the issue seriously.  This has changed.   There is now a  much more focused effort to make practical changes to how we think about the outdoors in the early years.  This change is thanks to the many people working to spread the word as well as the training and development happening across Scotland and also further afield.

Inspiring Scotland who are a major player in the move to get Scotland’s children outdoors have been collaborating with eight local authorities, thanks to Scottish Government Funding. They are developing outdoor learning as a way to meet the Scottish government’s commitment to a near-doubling of funded childcare. The government has committed to providing 1,140 hours a year for all three- and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds by 2020

Inspiring Scotland in collaboration with Glasgow city council are already implementing this idea in three of its most deprived areas – Castlemilk, Drumchapel and Tollcross . Go2Play, the Jelly Piece Club and Peek are collaborating with the council on these exciting projects to make outdoor learning. It’s so exciting to see real change taking place and that this could make a real and positive difference to the future of many children in Scotland.

At the Children’s Wood we are already supporting local nurseries (and primary schools) to get outside more and we hope that we too will continue to support those local nurseries through this initiative so that more children, especially those who really need it, get this opportunity.

If you are looking to get your children outside more then The Take Me Out handbook is really useful for teachers and educators working in the Early Years, you can download a FREE copy from here

We’re looking forward to disseminating some of the research and ideas to share with you. Keep an eye out on our Facebook Page for more information

 

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