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CPD twilight: language and literacy


Do your school grounds do their bit to improve outcomes for children? A generous grant from the Ernest Cook Trust allowed us to research, develop and pilot this short course, one of three to examine the potential of school grounds to enrich specific curriculum areas.

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“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” -John Ruskin

Poets, writers and artists have long been inspired by the natural (and man-made) world around them. Outdoors, children really begin to understand how to celebrate their environment and in turn, this might inspire a lifelong love of language and literacy.

This twilight course is designed for a teacher and TA to attend together in order to understand how to make the most of the spaces and resources they already have available. Through discussion, case studies and outdoor experimentation, we consider ways of providing rich and diverse outdoor literacy encounters.

This course (and its siblings, The Outdoor Science Encounter, and Creative and Expressive Arts Encounter) work best when a group of schools band together to bring us in to deliver to all of you. This approach is very cost effective, but more importantly, one school hosts the session but participants from all the schools get to hear about the potential of one another's grounds.

During the piloting of these courses, we learned a huge amount about how the other schools in our neighbourhood used their grounds, and discovered that some lend themselves to particular outdoor learning approaches (e.g. Forest School sessions), whereas others had amazing ponds or space and storage for ambitious STEM projects.

Course objectives

  • To examine the potential of school grounds to support language and literacy

  • To devise and test ideas and approaches that will enrich and embed learning

  • To discuss barriers to learning in the school grounds – and establish how to overcome these.

  • To provide advice to teaching teams to enable them to plan and assess high quality language and literacy learning outdoors.


"Julie worked with us over several sessions and we ended up with a team of staff who were energised and engaged and up for outdoor learning. It's fantastic to see how the children are now learning outside in all weathers in all sorts of ways.”


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