Eco Drama are pleased to be proceeding with our planned Out to Play project for 2020, but it has not been easy getting to this point.
Like everyone, the last few months have been incredibly uncertain as we navigate our way through this time. At points we thought all of our planned projects for the remainder of this year would be cancelled, and of course, this could still be the case, but we haven’t given up trying and we remain hopeful that things move in the direction we all want.
We have watched closely as the education sector has responded to the big questions surrounding children’s return to school. With education bodies and teachers emphasising the strong need to focus on well-being, emotional resilience, confidence and peer to peer relationships, as well as schools exploring the possibilities of learning outdoors and the call for more focus on play, this has given us hope that the Out to Play project is more relevant than ever, with its focus on the arts within outdoor learning. And of course, there are a multitude of health and safety benefits that learning outdoors brings.
Not only does Out to Play nurture a greater connection with the natural world through developing an outdoor, arts-based response to learning for sustainability, but by using creative learning techniques such drama and storytelling and promoting play, it supports children and young people to develop greater emotional intelligence, confidence, well-being and resilience, amongst so many other benefits that learning through the arts brings. Arguably, the arts can address the emotional connections missing in more traditional forms of environmental, outdoor education, and by focusing on developing imagination we are developing the ‘skill of the future‘.
“Logic will get you from A to B.
Imagination will take you everywhere.”
3 schools across Glasgow are currently signed up to participate in the Out to Play project, all of whom will be hosting 5 week residencies with an Out to Play drama artist during August – October 2020. The drama artist at each school will work with classes/hubs of pupils outdoors over 2 days each week delivering creative outdoor sessions, as well as supporting teachers to develop new or existing skills in drama, storytelling and outdoor learning so that ‘Out to Play’ sessions become a regular part of the school timetable.
Two of the residency schools also hosted a specially tailored Out to Play CPD training session for their full staff teams at the end of June, supportng the well-being and professional development of staff ahead of pupil’s returning in August. The sessions were delivered outdoors in playgrounds, in a socially distanced manner, but this didn’t stop connection or inspiration from happening. The sessions re-focused, re-energised and re-imagined playground spaces as places of wonder, and explored ways of ‘falling in love’ again with these outdoor classroom spaces. Teachers explored the power of storytelling in outdoor, environmental education, and developed their understanding of the rich possibilities that exist when bringing together outdoor learning, drama, play and storytelling. They took part in a wide range of practical exercises, developing their approach to begin, or continue, taking their classes outdoors for creative learning from August.
During the sessions, we invited teachers to ask ‘What If…?‘. When one asks this question, the imagination is immediately triggered, and helps to envision new ways of doing things, and creative solutions to issues or problems. Arguably, unleashing the power of imagination can help us to create the future we want. Here are a few of the teacher’s questions from St Anne’s Primary.
What if children requested to learn outdoors?
What if children spent all their school day outside, only to come in for essential visits?
What if nature could open the imaginations of ALL children.
What if children spent more time outside than on technological devices?
What if they found adventure in every small space?
What if our children’s engagement with the outdoors led to a greener planet for future generations?
We can’t wait to collaborate with our partner schools this August to continue engaging with these questions and bring the Out to Play magic to more children and young people across Glasgow.
Autumn 2020 will be Eco Drama’s fifth year of delivering the Out to Play project. We still have a couple of places left for primary schools or nurseries to participate in a 5 week residency from October-November 2020. For more information, please contact us.