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Pairc Primary School in Gravir, South Lochs, will be involved in an outdoor learning pilot scheme next year to support pupils to connect with nature.

Environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful are launching the Learning about Forests (LEAF) pilot programme in January 2023.

Nicola Davidson, Education and Learning Officer at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “We are delighted to announce the 55 schools that will form our LEAF pilot programme. By participating in the LEAF programme pupils will gain a better understanding of the natural world and learning lifelong lessons about their environment and how to protect and promote it.”

Since 2019, pupils and staff at Pairc School have been developing their outdoor learning environment and curriculum with the support of charities such as Learning Through Landscapes and community partners including Breedons and Mowi.

Last year, the pupils at Pairc developed learning for sustainability approaches through initiatives such as community litter picks, energy and waste awareness and improvements to the school grounds including the re-generation of the polytunnel. As a result, Pairc School achieved their first Eco-Schools Green Flag Award.

Hendrika Psaila, Education & Learning Officer at Keep Scotland Beautiful, reported: “It is great to see that Learning for Sustainability is embedded within the curriculum, this has helped the pupils to achieve a better understanding of how to build a socially-just, sustainable, and equitable society.

Activities have helped to promote a sense of exploration and discovery and have allowed the pupils to develop their sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around them.”

Bethany Clement, Head of School at Pairc said: “This is an exciting opportunity to expand our learning for sustainability goals through collaboration with Keep Scotland Beautiful and the LEAF pilot programme. We have seen many benefits of outdoor learning including an increase in pupils’ connection with the natural world as well as improved focus and mental wellbeing.

"We look forward to using our unique outdoor environment to engage in this project.”