Last week saw imagination sparkle in a meeting of professionals at Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Outdoor Learning Centre.
This was the first time this event had been held on campus and was co-ordinated by Chantelle Haughton, Senior Lecturer in Cardiff School of Education, and members of the Outdoor Learning Wales (OLW) Network.
The Outdoor Learning Centre hub is a seven metre wide circular classroom providing a comfortable learning environment, all in the surrounding of a small strip of ancient woodland, adding to the other forest based learning spaces, the log circles and the yurt, all based on the Cyncoed Campus.
The centre offers a wide range of outdoor learning opportunities to under-graduate and post-graduate students at the university, as well as workshops, holiday clubs, conferences, and community projects for children, practitioners and families.
Forest School, Earth Education, Skogsmulle and other outdoor play and learning approaches are considered in theory and practice as part of the varied work in the OLC. The facility also provides a hub for the focus of current academic research into outdoor learning.
The Outdoor Learning Wales Network group meeting saw Dylan Adams, Lecturer in Literacy, lead the group in a ‘Twilight Search for Stories’ through Queens Wood, and participants shared their ideas for practice.
Senior Lecturer and qualified Forest School Leader and trainer, Chantelle Haughton said “It was a great opportunity for practitioners from different schools and organisations, undergraduate students and academics to collaborate in creativity. We had great fun and were inspired by the thoughts and tales that Dylan shared with us.”
The Cardiff Met Outdoor Learning Team were joined by National Resources Wales, Bute Park Outdoor Education Centre, Bryn Celyn Primary School, Llanishen Fach Primary School, Albany Road Primary School, BA (Hons) Ed Studies and Early Childhood Studies Student Volunteer Team and a lecturer from the PGCE Primary course. More details about the OLW Network groups is available on: http://www.outdoorlearningwales.org/home
The centre has been funded by the University’s Development Office who worked with the Outdoor Learning Team to generate support from four trusts and foundations, as well as the University’s alumni and staff. A total of £49,000 was secured through fundraising, and Cardiff School of Education contributed the remaining shortfall to enable the innovative project to go ahead. More details about The Outdoor Learning Centre at Cardiff Metropolitan University are available: http://www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/education/enterprise/olc/Pages/default.aspx