Visions, values and outdoor learning

15 November 2008 · 0 comments

in General Commentary, International

Slovenia is a country about which I know very little. However thanks to the worldwide web and social networking sites, I have become acquainted with a few Slovenians and l’m learning a lot. Here are some interesting facts which I will share with you:

  1. Slovenia has a population of 2 million inhabitants.
  2. It spends 6% of its GNP on education.
  3. This is the OECD average.
  4. The Ministry of Education runs all the outdoor centres and day centres.
  5. There are 23 outdoor centres and 12 day centres.
  6. The day centres include zoos, outdoor museums, etc.
  7. The outdoor centres have been located in different parts of the country in different habitats. There is a mix of environmental and sports activities offered at every centre.
  8. All school-aged children, spend 2 weeks at an outdoor residential centre every year.
  9. Further information can be found on the Ministry of Education website…if you can read Slovenian!

Okay, I hear you muttering “so what?” as you read this. What impresses me about this little country is that The Powers That Be in the Slovenian environmental outdoor education world got their act together. I don’t know any other country which has taken such as systematic and organised approach to offering residential outdoor experiences to children.

What do we, in Scotland, want to offer out children in terms of outdoor experiences? Where is our national strategy? There is plenty of evidence that outdoor learning can impact positively on the health, well-being and academic achievements of youngsters. Does Scotland value this real world, place-based learning? Where’s the evidence?
Admittedly I am on a rant. I think this is partly because the advert for the LTS Outdoor Learning Development Officer came out a week ago. A key remit appears to be organising a conference to take place in March or April 2009. I have erected a marquee once upon a time. Perhaps I should apply!

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