Kate Coutts is the head teacher at the UK’s most northern school. If you look at Shetland on a map, Unst is the most northern island. From here has sprung a beautiful framework for interpreting and revisiting a familiar local environment for children and adults of all ages. Basically the approach aims to promote discussion and create links and understanding between children’s lives and the place that they live. It uses real objects and activities as a metaphor for personal discovery.

Kate developed the concept on a leadership course, so in the video below, the questions relate more to issues around leadership. However it does expand upon the principles.

The Metasaga webpages, give tried and tested examples from schools and events throughout Scotland and explains the framework. The structure of a metasaga is simple and it’s worth practising this beforehand before trying it with your children or a whole class. It is based upon considering in order:

Place – Values – Questions – Task – Music

These teachers are discussing and constructing metasagas for use with their class in this local woodland

Metasagas can be created for any place and any topic, theme or interest. They can be fact or fiction! In some respects the process reminds me of De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats in that once you have the concept, it is simple and flexible enough to be adapted and really helps with critical thinking outdoors. Try it and see what you think!

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