The New Norm Outdoors.

During a live broadcast with the Alberta curriculum in Canada it was interesting listening to the guest outdoor guides and their application of their indigenous knowledge. One idea to enhance the delivery was to use elders and storytellers to enhance the curriculum. Much the same as in as in the UK in our curricular delivery we might use the older generations to tell our children stories connected to topics or subjects in school e.g. World War Two. However, this indigenous knowledge is deeply imbedded within a culture with strong spiritual and sacred connections. I feel we too need to have that greater connection to place and with our natural Welsh heritage and world around us. In the new Wales Curriculum 2022 and ‘developing cross-cutting themes for designing your curriculum’ it is mentioned, that to develop an authentic sense of cynefin, builds a knowledge of different cultures and histories, allowing to develop a strong sense of individual identity and understanding how this is connected to and shaped by wider influences. “Cynefin – the place where we feel we belong, where people and landscape around us are familiar, and sights and sounds are reassuringly recognisable. Though often translated as ‘habitat’, cynefin is not just a place in a physical or geographical sense: it is the historic, cultural and social place which has shaped and continues to shape the community which inhabits it.” Using our Welsh indigenous knowledge within our new learning would maybe allow us to discover the real cymry in Cymru. We also have an opportunity with post Covid19 and emerging into the ‘new normal’, to use the outdoors to a greater degree within the curriculum. Connecting deeper to Nature and the outdoors has been a revelation for most in this insular lockdown period. However, for those of us who have championed learning in the Outdoors the prospect of using Outdoor Learning to delivery many aspects of the new welsh curriculum is an amazing opportunity. Although for some, it may still be a daunting task and outside their comfort zone. Since lockdown started and learning at home became the default practice, there are more outdoor resources available than ever before as many organisations and practitioners have dutifully shared so many. But being just a resource forager does not complete your graduation in outdoor learning. To confidently deliver these resources and integrated them into your curriculum or scheme of work it may need some training and individual courage to accept the challenge and start the journey. Once you have taken that first step and your outdoor educational adventure has begun, you will see, hear and feel the power of this free teaching resource and wonder why you hadn’t frequented this path before. Outdoor learning, once out of your resource pack has the ability to take you on a journey to explore your cynefin. To do so you will need to learn navigation skills to continue your journey through the outdoors. If you’re nervous on stepping out into this world of awe and wonder, take a stroll in the outdoors over familiar ground rather than challenging a Himalayan peak too early. In time, once you have the experience and maybe with further training you will be familiar with your outdoor compass and be able to travel anywhere outdoors with ease.




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