How can the changing seasons inspire learning? Can celebrating our local landscapes and exploring nearby streets enrich our children’s life and lessons? Could the seasons inspire new attitudes to learning that are responsive to what children themselves discover in places nearby?
Common Ground is working with several state primary schools in Dorset and Somerset to explore how seasonal change and celebration can inspire the daily learning experiences of children. A nearby river or copse, trees in the playground or nearby park, a street-side hedge, a community orchard, old and new buildings in the high street: tuning into these places and returning to see how they change through the seasons can inspire different kinds of lessons, nourishing the national curriculum with outdoor learning activities rooted to the local environment.
By returning throughout the year to host a variety of creative and outdoor workshops, our ‘seasonal residency’ encourages children and teachers to become more familiar with nearby landscapes and wildlife, by making maps and calendars, by walking, telling stories, writing poems and songs. We also help shape these seasonal experiences and expressions into celebrations unique to each school, moments of the year which reflect the particular wildlife, oral history, architecture and cultural heritage of their local area, as well as expressing the childrens’ own intellectual, artistic and emotional connections with it.
Seasonal Schools is being developed with Martin Maudsley, an ecologist and storyteller based in Dorset.
Learning through the seasons