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Course Ref: SD0623
Nature Based Learning and the Outdoor Classroom

3rd July – 18th Aug
20 hours


In association with Seed Scholars, this course for Primary School teachers provides foundational information about the history and philosophies underpinning nature-based learning, as well as a host of practical tools, lessons and ideas for how to implement a curriculum-aligned, tailored nature-based learning program for your school.

The course grounds teachers in the core theories of nature-based learning whilst accompanying the theory with tools needed to put it into practice. Crafted by a fellow primary school teacher with a background in outdoor environmental education, the material is intended to be informational and also quickly implementable in order to draw the ecosystem of the teachers and students into deeper understanding of and closer connection to the ecology of the natural world.

Course Objectives

The course hopes to:
  • Provide an introduction to the theoretical frameworks that form the bedrock of nature-based learning
  • Offer a historical overview of nature-based learning to serve as context for our current methods of outdoor environmental education in general and in schools specifically
  • Teach a variety of specific nature-based learning skills and crafts that can be embedded into outdoor environmental teaching and learning
  • Contribute curriculum-aligned lesson plans and practical tips for implementing nature-based learning for a variety of school contexts

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, participants will have gained:
  • Knowledge about the history and theoretical frameworks affiliated with nature-based learning
  • An understanding of the benefits that nature-based learning contributes to the entire school community.
  • Practice with a toolkit of tips, tricks, and ideas for implementing Forest School and School Garden crafts and DIY projects
  • Engagement with a variety of templates and sample curriculum-aligned nature-based learning lesson plans, adaptable to different school contexts

Course Modules

Plant parts as a metaphor for NBL Programme Elements.

Module 1: Seed - storage of nutrients, where it all begins
1.1 Course Introduction, Overview & Rationale for Nature-Based Learning (NBL) in Schools
1.2 Background on Theoretical Frameworks & History of NBL + Defining Key Terms

Module 2: Roots - sturdy foundation, soaking up additional resources
2.1 Focus on Precedent for NBL in Schools
2.2 Pedagogical Lenses to Accompany NBL Facilitation & Case Studies

Module 3: Stem - the backbone of the plant/programme, holding everything up
3.1 Establishing NBL at School - Design, Core Materials & Resources
3.2 Making it Sustainable & School Self Evaluation

Module 4: Leaves - feeding the plant/programme, the photosynthesis hub of transformation
4.1 How-To’s - Sampling of Nature Craft Skills, Games & Songs
4.2 Health & Safety
4.3 Assessment Strategies & Tools

Module 5: Flowers/Fruit - plant/programme production and outcomes
5.1 Aligning the Curriculum
5.2 Templates & Sample Lessons

Course Closed

This course is approved by the Department of Education & Skills as part of the 2023 Courses programme for Primary Teachers.
Total course time is 20 hours with a minimum of 13 hours online. There is no synchronous/live requirement on this course. Participants will be expected to participate in course forums and submit assignments as required. Tutors will be available for support and feedback. Access to the course will be available from 3rd July to 18th August 2023. On completion of the course qualifying teachers will receive a CPD Certificate and will qualify for 3 EPV Days.

The course will also be open from 3rd July to SNAs, Secondary School Teachers, Childcare Workers, Childminders and Parents who feel that they may benefit from the course

Our Support team are on hand to answer all your queries, either by phone or e-mail.
Online Forum: Check your Course Homepage
Phone: 01 4406608
Click here for a list of Frequently Asked Questions.