Dirty Teaching

Edited by Ian Gilbert.

Juliet Robertson offers tips and tricks to help any primary school teacher to kick-start or further develop their outdoor practice.

One of the keys to a happy and creative classroom is getting out of it and this book will give you the confidence to do just that. Drawing on academic research, Juliet explains why learning outdoors is so beneficial and provides plenty of tips and activities to help you to integrate outdoor learning into your teaching practice, providing a broad range of engaging outdoor experiences for your students.

There is no need for expensive tools or complicated technologies: all you need is your coat and a passion for learning – oh, and you’d better bring the kids too!

Topics covered include: forest schools, learning outside the classroom, outdoor education, nature activities, caring for the environment, play in schools, investigative play, urban outdoor activities, problem solving, creative thinking and strategies for supporting curriculum objectives.

For all primary practitioners who want to shake up their usual classroom routine and discover the benefits of teaching outdoors.

The Golden Principles of Teaching Outdoors
Before You Go Outside
The First Few Sessions
Thinking, Reflecting and Reviewing
Creating and Constructing
A Sense of Adventure
Exploring What’s Out There
Caring for Nature
What to do in Concrete Jungles
Keeping the Momentum Going
Nagging Doubts, Fears and Worries
Embedding Outdoor Learning
Cross Reference of Ideas to Subject Areas

Independent Thinking on Nature-Based Learning

Written by Dr Alexia Barrable, Independent Thinking on Nature-Based Learning: Improving learning and well-being by teaching with nature in mind is an engaging and insightful take on how educators can deliver more outdoor- and nature-oriented learning opportunities for the benefit of their pupils’ mental and physical well-being.

Foreword by Ian Gilbert.

At a time of unprecedented challenges in relation not only to the climate crisis but also to children’s and adolescents’ mental health, connecting to nature offers an accessible and desirable way forward for today’s learners – especially those living in urban surroundings.

Bringing together evidence from psychology, environmental science and education, Alexia aims to support teachers as they provide meaningful experiences rooted in learning about and through nature. The book can be used in two ways: to inspire individual sessions in nature, or to support teachers in building a cohesive outdoor-learning curriculum throughout the school.

Featuring practical advice, case studies and discussion of original theory, the book aims to inspire, motivate and stimulate educators to engage with alternative approaches to teaching in the outdoors and with nature in mind – and in such a way that promotes students’ learning and fosters a long-lasting relationship with nature.

Independent Thinking on Nature-Based Learning shares case studies and examples of good practice from a variety of settings – ranging from kindergarten to secondary. Detailing the physical and psychological benefits of being outdoors, the book suggests ways to help build young people’s connection with nature and support their autonomy in natural spaces. Alexia offers ideas on how to weave nature and the outdoors into the very fabric of the curriculum – for example, in relation to art, literature and technology.

Suitable for teachers and outdoor-learning leaders in early years through to secondary schools.

Independent Thinking on Nature-Based Learning is one of a number of books in the Independent Thinking On… series from the award-winning Independent Thinking Press.

You can view the full series here.

Messy Maths

In Messy Maths: A Playful, Outdoor Approach for Early Years, Juliet Robertson offers a rich resource of ideas that will inspire you to tap into the endless supply of patterns, textures, colours and quantities of the outdoors and deepen children’s understanding of maths through hands-on experience.

Juliet believes being outside makes maths real. In the classroom environment, maths can seem disconnected from everyday reality – but real maths is really messy. Lots of outdoor play and engaging activity along the way is a must, as being outside enables connections to be made between the hands, heart and head, and lays the foundations for more complex work as children grow, develop and learn.

Following on from the success of Dirty Teaching (ISBN 978-178135107-9), Messy Maths reimagines the outdoor space through a mathematical lens – providing a treasure trove of suggestions that will empower you to blend outdoor learning into your teaching practice. It is not a ‘how to’ guide, but rather an easy-to-use reference book replete with ready-to-use games and open-ended ideas designed to help children become confident and skilled in thinking about, using and exploring abstract mathematical concepts as they play outside. Many of these ideas and activities are also beautifully displayed in full-colour photographs throughout the book, making it even easier to jump straight into outstanding outdoor learning opportunities.

Topics covered include: general advice; exploring numbers; number functions and fractions; money; measurement; time; pattern; shape and symmetry; position, direction and movement; data handling; routines; and the mathematical garden. Each chapter features a section on topic-specific vocabulary and expressions to help you integrate terminology into each area of study, while suggestions for embedding maths into routines are also provided to assist in the development of creative, progressive and flexible approaches to everyday situations.

Messy Maths is suitable for early years educators (of ages 3–6) who want to shake up their usual classroom practice and make the most of any outdoor space – whether this be a nursery, playgroup, child-minder’s back garden or a nature kindergarten – as a context for maths.