Out to Play by Eco Drama

Emily Reid, Ben Mali Macfaden, EcoDrama, Scotland

Out to Play is a unique arts-based outdoor learning project delivered by Eco Drama, supported by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, which sees drama artists collaborate with primary schools and nurseries in Glasgow’s most disadvantaged areas.

Since 2015, Out to Play has delivered creative outdoor learning residencies with 25 schools and nurseries across the city, reaching over 4,000 children and 550 teachers and early years practitioners to date. The project was fortunate to continue being delivered throughout 2020 in spite of covid restrictions, and will continue reaching more schools throughout 2021 to 2023. Out to Play is delivered as a 5 week residency in school playgrounds and works to creatively engage children of all ages with learning for sustainability topics and deepen their connection with nature, with a strong teacher CPD element supporting the project.

The main challenge that this work overcomes is the barriers to children spending time learning and playing outdoors, particularly in urban areas of disadvantage, where there is reduced access to green space.

Who should attend?

Anyone interested in facilitating more creative outdoor learning experiences with children and young people. Particularly Primary School Teachers, Early Year’s Practitioners, and the presentation would be of interest to Education Managers, Outdoor Learning Practitioners / Project Managers and Policy Makers.

About Emily and Ben

Ben Mali Macfadyen is an artist, activist and community facilitator who has been part of the Out to Play team since the project was created in 2015. When he isn’t taking primary classes out on imaginary adventures with Eco Drama, he teaches nature awareness, sustainable leadership, nurture, inclusion and creativity skills with diverse communities across Britain. He is committed to working alongside teachers and other community leaders whose commitment and skill is an endless source of inspiration. Recently he has been working with teachers, children, organisations and community groups across Glasgow for The Village Storytelling Centre, and is currently setting up a schools network to support young climate activists as well as undertaking a primary teacher training course. Ben also co-authored the 2015 Out to Play Resource Pack, and subsequent Second Edition Resource pack in 2018, “Let’s Go…Out to Play!” with Drama Artist Sophie McCabe. He continues to deliver Out to Play residencies with Eco Drama as part of the 4 year Out to Play project 2017-2021. Ben, and the other Drama Artists involved, write blogs on the progress of the Out to Play project, detailing the class’s adventures and reflecting on the journey, its progressions and best practice in relation to creative outdoor learning.

Emily Reid is the founder and Artistic Director of Eco Drama. She brings passion, knowledge and in-depth understanding on the power of the arts within the world of outdoor learning and learning for sustainability.

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