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European Innovative Teaching Award
Project

Take Nature by the Hand

School: Babītes novada pašvaldības Salas sākumskola

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Topic(s) addressed

The project’s aim was to provide a summarised handbook of different outdoor activities as a guide for preschool teachers and parents resulting from our collaboration with preschools in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Sweden, as well as our own original outdoor activities. These guidelines were aimed to help teachers or parents offer their children age-appropriate activity that they can practice through the study, analysis, and inferred learning of nature. Adults (teachers or parents) play a role as important helpers who help children discover the wonderful world of nature through games and activities, while explaining the variety of processes and regularities found in nature. Through our handbook, we invite children (and adults) to spend quality leisure time, with each activity taking the form of an adventure. This project was also equally convenient given its link to the annual priority – where teachers carry out distance learning and parents were able to spend quality time with their children while staying at home. To this end, the project draws attention to the importance of outdoor activities and invites parents to spend more time outdoors with their children (while simultaneously providing them with an active learning experience). Our handbook was made available in both printed and online versions, which assisted in its dispersal to all target audiences; the activities proposed in the handbook are easy to perform, and do not require many materials or specific tools, with activities planned so as to gain maximum results with the minimum of resources.

Target groups

Parents and teachers of preschool children; as our handbook was provided in Latvian, its intended target audience was Latvian-speaking parents, grandparents, and teachers.

Methodologies

The project’s methodology included the development of key competences such as the natural sciences, exploration, research, and active practice, that linked formal education (the natural sciences, biology, geology, etc.) to non-formal methods (plays, games, fun), with the main result having been to foster learners’ active role within the learning process (allowing children to explore, and to draw conclusions on their own).

Environments

The importance of both outdoor environment and activities parallels the progression being made by electronic gadgets and devices. As such, both teachers and parents searched for methods that enabled the balancing of both considerations towards gaining maximum results. The challenge of this project was to include digital/blended learning into the target environment – the outdoors and nature. As such, the handbook provides activities, which, when creatively accompanied by gadgets (mobile phone, tracking apps, photo cameras, online maps, digital compasses, etc.) can result in better results and better learning motivation.

Teachers

Both teachers and parents used their skills, competencies, motivation, and love for exploration and nature to motivate learners to find their own learning experiences. This was done by demonstrating good, creative, and interesting examples of outdoor activities that were accompanied by learning, exploration, and experimentation through the use of digital devices that resulted in a smart combination of both digital and outdoor supplies.

Impact

The smart usage of the aforementioned organisational tools, devices, handbook games, activities, and tasks led to the development of quality output. Furthermore, through the regular and motivated implementation of such outdoor activities, the project’s outputs led to an overall spillover effect, with children who have become accustomed to such creative, interesting, and motivational outdoor activities growing up to become adults who will likely prefer the selection of outdoor activities, and recommend the same to their friends and classmates.

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Stakeholders

Participants

Golfkullens förskola

Address
Sweden

Mateřská škola plavecké haly, Ústí nad Labem, příspěvková organizace

Address
Czechia

New Education

Address
Bulgaria