Strand 1: Me and My Place

 

Learning outcomes

Students should be able to…
MP 1 Explore my local community and my local environment.
MP 2 Experience physical and emotional connection to nature within my local outdoor environment.
MP 3 Reflect on how relationships with nature impact people’s wellbeing, both today and in the past.
MP 4 Co-design learning experiences with others.
MP 5 Conduct a Risk-Benefit assessment for outdoor learning activities, to recognise when personal safety is at risk and to make choices that safeguard my personal wellbeing and that of others.
MP 6 Reflect critically upon and self-assess my actions and learning.
MP 7 Identify my existing skills, knowledge and values how they contribute to my community and my world.
MP 8 Demonstrate being responsible and ethical in using resources.
MP9 Discuss what values systems operate in my own life, my community and my world; and thus identify influences of different political ideologies on how my school or community is organised.

Key concepts

Community, place-appreciation, self-appreciation, local community activism, ecosystem, humans as a part of nature, nature therapy, free play, mindfulness, values, value system, political ideology, risk-benefit assessment, wellbeing, reflection, skill development and skill-sharing, responsible and ethical resource use.

Example activities

  • Map physically/visually the different geographic communities that the students feel they belong to
  • Exploring and celebrating the skills we have in our group, creating a skills bank for our class/school
  • Outdoor exploration of the local community, the built environment and biodiverse areas (e.g. a ‘local safari’ activity incorporating visit to local amenities, parks, recycling centres, businesses, shops etc and hands-on research to find out how sustainable our community is)
  • Forest school activities in a biodiverse area
  • Participate in a national citizen-science initiative as way of exploring the local environment e.g. Coast watch coastal survey, bird species survey or bee species survey
  • Ecology activities e.g. habitat studies, creating food chains and food webs using photo cards and wool to demonstrate ecosystem principles and interdependence
  • Exploring local heritage using old maps and photographs of the local area and interviewing older people involved in community development or local activism
  • Meet people and research what people living in this community feel they need to create a more just and sustainable community, develop action ideas from this
  • Use diamond ranking of ‘Common Cause value cards‘ to discuss personal values in small groups

Suggested resources

  • General outdoor education resources

https://burrenbeo.com/our-work/learning/resources/

Learning Outside the Classroom https://www.lotc.org.uk/learning-outside-the-classroom-theory-and-guidelines-for-practice/

Forest Schools Ireland https://irishforestschoolassociation.ie/

Joseph Cornell book: Sharing Nature with Children

Joseph Cornell website: https://www.sharingnature.com/flow-learning.html

https://www.muddyfaces.co.uk/activity_category/curriculum-outdoors/

  • Biodiversity

http://pollinators.ie/resources

  • School Gardens

http://schoolearthed.ie/paddys-school-garden/video-index.html

https://giy.ie/get-growing/

  • Emotional work

Joanna Macy: The Work that Reconnects https://www.joannamacy.net/main

  • Conflict resolution

Restorative Practices https://www.connectrp.ie/restorative-practice

Non-violent Communication https://www.cnvc.org/

 

Suggested organizations to link with in the local community

  • County/City Council Environmental Officers
  • Parents, teachers, local academics and local societies (e.g. ecological, geological, historical societies) Example: A parent who is an ecologist may be able to support a local biodiversity field trip.
  • Local community organisations e.g. local Community Centre, Tidy Towns, GIY volunteers, Transition Towns group, Active Retirement

Example: Community volunteers to help start a school garden

  • National environmental and citizen science organizations e.g. Coastwatch, Birdwatch Ireland