Flintshire Schools adopt outdoor learning in Welsh
In a pioneering initiative, Flintshire County Council’s Welsh Advisory Team and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) have teamed up to inspire teachers to incorporate the Welsh outdoors into the curriculum.
This innovative scheme aims to provide children with a unique, fun, and practical method of enhancing their Welsh language skills.
Twelve English-medium primary schools were represented at a hands-on course held in Talacre.
Teachers, equipped by the NRW’s Health and Education Team and Flintshire’s Welsh Advisory Team, were armed with a wealth of ideas to confidently educate their pupils about and within the natural environment, all in the medium of Welsh.
Participants engaged in an array of simple, enjoyable activities at Dangerpoint and the surrounding land at the Eni gas terminal on 12 June, fostering teamwork and communication in Welsh.
This initiative follows a successful pilot programme last year involving eight schools.
Teachers reported that the use of Welsh outdoors was both a fun and highly effective method for increasing the students’ proficiency in the language.
Rhian Roberts from the Flintshire School Improvement Team commented, “The outdoors provides an abundance of learning opportunities for our children to use their language skills while having fun in the fresh air.”
She further emphasised Flintshire’s firm commitment to supporting the Welsh language and improving students’ confidence in utilising it in their everyday lives.
NRW Specialist Advisor Ffion Hughes echoed these sentiments, stating that the natural environment offers a relaxed, engaging setting to foster learning, understanding, and communication in Welsh.
She said, “It provides different learning surroundings than the classroom, which gives children new experiences to support language and literacy achievement.”
In line with the new Curriculum for Wales, there is a significant opportunity to integrate language learning within an outdoor setting.
This is particularly important as many future jobs will focus on sustainability, necessitating the ability to identify and survey plants and animals.
Ffion further highlighted that it’s essential for Welsh-speaking youths to have the language proficiency to discuss our natural environment.
The Welsh Government advocates for learning in natural environments as a key approach to delivering the curriculum, encouraging children to connect with nature, receive significant health and well-being benefits, and cultivate pro-environmental behaviours to help mitigate climate and nature emergencies.