Myth busting: Outdoor Learning Edition
SOUL Blog
by andycarley
4M ago
Time and time again we hear the biggest barrier to regular outdoor learning in schools is rooted in a lack of staff confidence. Teachers often feel unprepared or too inexperienced to teach in an outdoor setting. There is a good amount of validity here since teacher training and traditional school schedules largely fail teachers in the outdoors. There is limited time, if any, dedicated to it for most. Conversely, some of the things that worry teachers most about teaching outside aren’t actually the case. Let’s look at the most common misconceptions about outdoor learning and do some much needed ..read more
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Our Busiest Year Yet
SOUL Blog
by andycarley
5M ago
It has been an action packed year for us at SOuL. Of course, it’s good for business, but more importantly it says a lot about current trends and the status of the outdoor learning agenda. We are getting more enquires than ever before and having more conversations with school leaders who want to change the way children learn. Some schools are ready to pull the trigger on large installation projects such as an eco hub or natural playscape, while others opt for an intensive teacher training day to prepare staff to take children outside or some basic resources to get started. No matter the size or ..read more
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The Case for School Uniform Reform
SOUL Blog
by andycarley
7M ago
We’ve all heard the infamous outdoor learning quote, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing,” or something like it. We have used it before in another blog and on our socials, it’s a fan favourite! Alfred Wainwright famously wrote it in his 1973 book, Coast to Coast, and it’s true, so long as you have access to or permission to wear the right clothing. Many of our pupils don’t have high quality outerwear, appropriate warm layers or are heading out in their uniforms that they have to wear as per school policy, and yet doesn’t offer protection from the elements.  &nb ..read more
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Natural Materials Make a Big Difference
SOUL Blog
by andycarley
8M ago
If you’ve been following the SOuL journey for a while you’ll have noticed that we have a strong preference for natural materials and flow in our installations. We have good reason, beyond the fact that they look beautiful. Let’s have a look at why natural materials benefit pupils’ learning and wellbeing.   A powerful nature connection Children directly connect with nature when they touch the curve of a branch or knot along a ladder made from wood. They feel every bump and grain along a wooden rail or scoop up handfuls of wood chips to pour through a funnel. Studies tell us the simple act ..read more
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How to Develop Character in Your Pupils
SOUL Blog
by andycarley
9M ago
What is character? We know that certain experiences are character building but why? We know that the character of our pupils has a massive impact on their outcomes in life yet how can we as teachers work with them and help them to grow and flourish? It seems that as important as character-based qualities are such as resilience, determination, creativity, independence, composure, they are at the same time illusive. We can clearly see the what Richard Hammond calls the ‘visible curriculum’, an A in Maths or Science, a B in English etc. yet under the bonnet there are a multitude of invisible fact ..read more
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A busy summer for SOuL installations
SOUL Blog
by andycarley
9M ago
This summer has been especially busy for SOuL. There is a huge demand for outdoor classrooms, natural play spaces and character education learning spaces. We’ve also installed ponds, school allotments and more. Every time we visit a school or return to a familiar one to add to their resources, we feel lucky. Lucky to be able to give teachers and pupils spaces and tools to facilitate more outdoor learning. Lucky to work outdoors with a great team. And lucky to see a project come to life once it’s complete. We are now booking for Winter, Spring and Summer 2024. Don’t miss out on your installatio ..read more
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Risky Play at School
SOUL Blog
by andycarley
1y ago
One of SOuL’s recent designs Let’s talk about risky play and opportunities for pupils to test limits at school. Many schools are turning their backs on conventional timber trail type designs as they lack challenge, tend to be quite uniform and conform to standardised designs and elements.   Our ‘all natural’ approach generates more challenge and creativity through asymmetric and irregular shapes and elements, whilst also ensuring that there is a natural aesthetic with materials left in a more raw form with bark left on natural hardwood wood chip surfaces where possible.    This ..read more
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Whittle Away A-Level Stress
SOUL Blog
by andycarley
1y ago
  A-levels are stressful for most pupils. Imagine if there was a way to beat sixth form stress and get pupils outside. Well, the team at Bohunt Sixth Form in Liphook, Hampshire are doing just that.    The outdoor education team offers optional drop in sessions for pupils during the day at their outdoor classroom. Some pupils choose to physically work out their worries and anxieties and chop wood with axes. Others get stuck into ongoing projects that they can store at the classroom and return to such as whittling. And there are pupils who simply bring their lunch and eat it ..read more
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Why Eco Hubs are the future?
SOUL Blog
by andycarley
1y ago
  Eco Hubs are the future of outdoor learning spaces in schools. There, we said it! And here’s why. In the last year or two SOuL has installed several Eco Hubs of various sizes and styles in schools, and they make so much sense. Not only does an Eco Hub act as a base for outdoor learning, it teaches pupils important lessons about sustainability and environmental stewardship.    So, what is an Eco Hub?  An Eco Hub is an area dedicated to teaching, learning and connecting to nature with an emphasis on sustainability.  Our Eco Hubs are designed to provide areas within sch ..read more
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Outdoor learning belongs on the curriculum
SOUL Blog
by andycarley
1y ago
Simply put, outdoor learning belongs on the curriculum. It must be both embedded in all subjects, at all levels, and be implemented as its own stand-alone subject. This may sound like a daunting task to some, but we assure you that it is very much achievable. It is not nearly as tough or time consuming as it sounds to get started. And, most importantly, it’s worth it.   Schools are uniquely positioned to get young people outdoors on a regular basis. Now, we at SOuL (and many of you reading this), want to see outdoor learning weaved into the National Curriculum. And, while we continue to a ..read more
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