Czech it out!

21 November 2008 · 2 comments

in General Commentary, International

When you think of the Czech Republic, what comes to mind?

  • Beer?
  • Prague?
  • Environmental education?

The Czech Republic continues to amaze me. The environmental education organisations are really getting down to business…of securing European Union funding and using it for environmental projects. A director of one field studies centre has run courses for schools on the matter. He believes that every school has the potential to receive £33K in EU funding, if the school applies for all the various grants for all that’s on offer such as teaching assistants, accessing training, attending courses, etc.

The evidence speaks for itself. I gave a presentation at an Eco School information day for local teachers in Brno. It took place in a spanking new building owned by the regional government and paid for out of EU funds. This was the first event to take place in this building.

South Moravia alone will have another field centre built shortly not far from Brno. Three years ago a state of the art forest school centre opened. This is also just outside Brno. Both buildings have substantial European funds invested into the projects. The region has a population of 1.2 million people, similar to Glasgow.

Now, when was the last field studies centre, urban environmental education centre or outdoor activities centre built using EU funding in Scotland? I simply don’t know, do you? This is the next investigation for the No. 1 Outdoor Learning Private Detective Agency. Pay me well (in Euros if you wish) and I’ll tell you about my findings!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill November 24, 2008 at 19:55

Found your blog through your recent comment. I was recently at a conference which included information on green-space use in European schools and examples of outdoor classrooms where they had removed tarmac playgrounds and replaced with “wild” green areas. The accident rate dropped by 95% in this new playground as pupils began to play in natural environment and learn to assess risk on their own.

I entirely agree with your comments on new LTS post and the Scottish strategy overall, and possible lack of visibility of this. LTS have done some great work over the last couple of years on Outdoor Learning but we definitely need to fund more tangible sustainable projects


CreativeSTAR November 24, 2008 at 21:23

Hello Bill

This is a very good point. RoSPA have interesting statistics too about the effectiveness of rubberised play surfaces and the type of accidents which happen. There’s also been research in Sweden comparing an ordinary nursery to an I Ur och Skur (Rain or Shine) nursery – the name for their outdoor schools. It was a year long study which investigated a range of behaviours. One of the key findings was that the presence of uneven surfaces in the I Ur och Skur grounds and the amount of play on uneven surfaces hugely improved the children’s physical coordination and gross motor skills.

Thanks very much for taking the time to look at my blog and respond.


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