John Muir Award and Curriculum for Excellence

Developing Outdoor Learning through the John Muir Award

Outdoor learning is an important and compulsory part of a child's education throughout their school career.

In partnership with a number of Primary Schools in Fife, Ardroy has developed a two year inter-disciplinary programme, achieving key outcomes of the Curriculum for Excellence. This concept was originally set up in partnership with Donibristle PS, but we additionally now work with six other Fife schools.

The John Muir Award  has three levels, and is all about affinity for wild places. There are four elements to it:-

Discover, Explore, Conserve and Share a Wild Place.

There is an excellent document here illustrating how The Award integrates into the CfE

We produced a video about our favourite wild places here, as part of it ask children to think about what their favourite wild place is as well.

Central to the plan is to have the same group with the same instructor over the duration of two years. Children will attend Ardroy in either the summer or winter of their P6 year (this varies from school to school), and return as P7s for a programme in the other season. This allows for improved continuity and CfE outcomes to be achieved. Specific outcomes will be listed for each of the residential courses and Instructors will incorporate these into their sessions.

The P6 residential course objective is to complete major elements of the John Muir Discovery Award.

During the period between the residential courses the schools work on projects and outdoor learning experiences - these will complement the outcomes that will be focused on during their time at Ardroy and reinforced by a 'Discovery Day' delivered at the school by Ardroy staff for the P6s who will be starting their 2 year course.

The 'Discovery Day' will consist of presentations from the P7s to the P6s, instructors, teachers & guests - followed by an environmentally focused outdoor learning session with Ardroy staff, based at the school. Other agencies from Fife including the Ranger Service and Kingdom of Fife Orienteers are also involved.

P7s begin their John Muir Explorer Award at school in the autumn term, which will integrate with the second residential course at Ardroy. There is scope to link this course beyond P7 into S1 using the John Muir Conserver Award in conjunction with CfE outcomes.

Mr Begg from Donibristle PS produced this video , which summarises beautifully how the whole thing is integrated. The video was used for their Sharing Event, which was attended by Mike Russell MSP, the then Education  Secretary.

We would like to see this model of integrated outdoor learning rolled out to other schools so they can benefit from this innovative initiative, and would welcome enquiries from other schools regarding the above.

To find out more, please speak to Phil Thompson at Ardroy.