Conference Postponed

6/9/21 – In light of recent developments, we have made the difficult decision to postpone this year’s International School Grounds Alliance conference until February 2022. Read the full statement from our Scotland Director here.

International School Grounds Conference 2021

We are privileged to be organising the International School Grounds Alliance (ISGA) conference in Stirling, Scotland on the 23-24th September 2021.

This event will bring together the best in outdoor learning and play in school grounds and beyond.

Ideal for educators, teachers and design professionals, you can join us for one day or both days.

We are partnering with ISGA and their Scotland representative, Living Classrooms, to deliver this conference.

This will be a hybrid event, with options for attending in Stirling or joining us online for digital workshops.

Attending in person?

We’ve got exclusive events and networking opportunities for you.

Speakers and Programme

Featuring speakers from Bangladesh to Belgium, this year’s ISGA conference will unite outdoor learning and school grounds experts from around the world.

Due to travel restrictions during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, some international keynote speakers will be live-streaming their sessions for broadcast in Stirling.

Sessions, timings and speakers are subject to change.

Thursday 23 September

Join Learning through Landscapes CEO, Carley Sefton, and Professor Pete Higgins (University of Edinburgh) for the opening ceremony of the International School Grounds Conference 2021.

Streamed live from Stirling.

A panel discussion chaired by Learning through Landscapes, featuring Professor Pete Higgins (University of Edinburgh), Marguerite Hunter-Blair (Play Scotland), Dr Claire Warden (Living Classrooms, International Association of Nature Pedagogy) Ali Dreyer (Scottish Advisory Panel for Outdoor Education) and Sally York (Scottish Forestry/OWLS).

Streamed live from Stirling.

Choose from the following keynote speakers:

Early Years Introduction

Join Learning through Landscapes CEO, Carley Sefton, and Living Classrooms’ Dr Claire Warden for an overview of outdoor learning and play in early years. Live in Stirling; pre-recorded version online.

Out To Play

Emily Reid and Ben Mali Macfaden from EcoDrama, Scotland, discuss the challenges and successes of delivering Out To Play: a unique arts-based outdoor learning project supported by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, which sees drama artists collaborate with primary schools and nurseries in Glasgow’s most disadvantaged areas. Live in Stirling; pre-recorded version online.

The problem is the solution: how permaculture can help you overcome your school’s challenges

Join Children in Permaculture Coordinator, Lusi Alderslowe, as she discusses the permaculture principle and gives some excellent examples of how permaculture has helped schools to overcome challenges. Live in Stirling; pre-recorded version online.

Learning to Make Behaviour Maps in School Grounds

Mohammed Zakuil Islam from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology will cover the the theory and process of behaviour mapping, as well as hands-on experience of behaviour mapping in practice and what that means for changing school spaces. Pre-recorded session to be broadcast in Stirling and online.

Any "Kinder Garden" can embrace nature for children's, adults’ as well as planet Earth's sake.

Josefina Prieto of Naturalizar at Fundación Ilumina, Chile, will share hopeful and inspirational lessons learned from her practice, encouraging us all to bring nature back to our settings for the sake of children, teachers and the planet. Pre-recorded session to be broadcast in Stirling and online.

Choose from the following keynote speakers:

A practitioner’s view of bringing outdoor pre-school to the mainstream parent

Kenny Forsythe from Stramash Social Enterprise, Scotland, will explore how we can demystify outdoor learning and using landscapes for the mainstream parent, allowing more children to access outdoor learning nationally. Live in Stirling; pre-recorded version online.

Journeying with the natural world: Nature-centric Models and Therapeutic Connection

Marina Robb, from Circle of Life Rediscovery CIC and The Outdoor Teacher, will introduce the ‘nature-centric’ models that lie between nature-based programmes for all ages, discussing the basic elements that offer therapeutic connection. Live in Stirling; pre-recorded version online.

Diversity in outdoor learning and play

Learning through Landscapes’ Head of Programmes and Partnerships, Heena Dave, and cultural marketing consultant Myvanwy Evans will how Learning through Landscapes is working with partners to develop a more diverse and equitable approach to outdoor learning and play. Live in Stirling; pre-recorded version online.

The Oasis Schoolyard Project

Raphaelle Thollier, Project Manager of the Oasis Schoolyard Project, Paris, explains how the project has transformed 10 schoolyards into urban ‘cool islands’ using innovative techniques, nature-based solutions and an integrated approach. Following a short video and presentation the workshop will take the form of a Q+A session. Live in Stirling; pre-recorded version online.

The National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative: A Time-Tested Solution for a 21st Century Challenge

Karen Cowe, Sharon Danks, Claire Latané and Nancy Striniste of the US National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative will give an overview of the project, which was launched in the US in May 2020 to help schools reopen safely and equitably by using outdoor spaces for learning and play. Pre-recorded session to be broadcast in Stirling and online.

Choose from the following keynote speakers:

Designing Play into the Playground

Landscape architect Wiktoria Szulik from Wardell Armstrong, UK, will explore how case studies from the Wardell Armstrong portfolio have followed a unique child-centric approach and how this has redefined their playscape design and delivery. Live in Stirling; pre-recorded version online.

Scotland’s play journey – play, planning and the built environment

From playgrounds to streets and parliament buildings, Play Scotland has led a quiet revolution in national policy. Come and hear the practical advice from Cherie Morgan and Marguerite Hunter-Blair on how this has been achieved, the challenges still faced, and the opportunities that it has created. Live in Stirling; pre-recorded version online.

Early Start in Science - how schoolyard learning gardens can support science literacy in urban communities

Jane Hirschi, Executive Director of CitySprouts in Boston, USA, will present the preliminary findings of their Early Start in Science initiative: a science learning programme in 20 urban American elementary schools. Pre-recorded session to be broadcast in Stirling and online.

Learning Landscape Design: a dialogue between landscape and education

Angela Ibanez is the co-founder of Patio Vivo, a non-profit which has created more than 70 Learning Landscapes in Chilean schools. In this session, Angela will discuss Patio Vivo’s design strategy, which consists of developing a common language between landscape and education, considering the specific school culture and territory. Live in Stirling; pre-recorded version online.

Green schoolyards as platform for navigating conflict resolution and gender identity

Professor Lois Brink from the University of Colorado, USA, will explore the current research and programmes on green schoolyards and their potential as spaces for conversations around conflict resolution, change and acceptance. Pre-recorded session to be broadcast in Stirling and online.

Tune in and feedback on your key takeaways from the day’s sessions, online or in person.

Streamed live from Stirling.

Friday 24 September

Choose from the following keynote speakers:

A Fresh Start for Young Learners

Joanne Dempster, STEM tutor at The Prince’s Foundation, Scotland, will give an overview on Fresh Starts: a multi-day, cross curricular programme delivered by Dumfries House, aiming to provide an exciting outdoor learning experience for young people who are typically disengaged from education. Live in Stirling; pre-recorded version online.

Virtual Tour of a Scotland Primary School

Pre-recorded session to be broadcast in Stirling and online.

Council leadership and support for outdoor learning and play

Pre-recorded session to be broadcast in Stirling and online.

Auchlone Nature Garden – virtual tour with Dr Claire Warden (please note this session runs from 10:00 – 12:15)

Dr Claire Warden, founder of Living Classrooms, will take us on a tour of Auchlone Nature Kindergarten, a pioneer outdoor kindergarten in Perthshire, Scotland. We will meet children and staff, and see how the nursery operates both practically and in pedagogy. Pre-recorded session to be broadcast in Stirling and online.

Choose from the following keynote speakers:

Making the most of community assets-opening school grounds for playing

Marianne Manello, Assistant Director of Play Wales, will discuss how children’s access to outdoor space for play, exercise and enjoyment differs greatly across Wales and how this was heightened during the coronavirus pandemic. Marianne will also report on an action research project which piloted the use of school grounds for play at the end of the school day as part of coronavirus recovery. Live in Stirling; pre-recorded version online.

Creating and Using Learning Spaces in Your School Grounds

Fiona Wilson-Beales and Tina Misselbrook of Sanderson Wynd Primary in Scotland share insights of how they’ve made the most of their school’s outdoor space. Live in Stirling; pre-recorded version online.

From school play spaces to children’s right to play for Brazilian childhoods

Roni Hirsch from Erê Labs, Brazil, will discuss how, by developing each project in its own pedagogical and environmental context, Erê Lab has been creating new specific equipment and strategies to embrace play as a social integration experience in schools. Pre-recorded session to be broadcast in Stirling and online.

Auchlone Nature Garden – virtual tour with Dr Claire Warden (please note this session runs from 10:00 – 12:15)

Dr Claire Warden, founder of Living Classrooms, will take us on a tour of Auchlone Nature Kindergarten, a pioneer outdoor kindergarten in Perthshire, Scotland. We will meet children and staff, and see how the nursery operates both practically and in pedagogy. Pre-recorded session to be broadcast in Stirling and online.

Choose from the following keynote speakers:

The Wonder of Woodwork (Early Years)

Pete Woodhouse from Irresistible Learning, UK, explores the rich learning and development benefits that come from establishing woodwork provision for early years, how to set up an area, health and safety considerations and more. Live in Stirling; pre-recorded version online.

Bouncing back with Nature Connection

Respected practitioner Aline Hill will explore the critical difference between nature contact and nature connection and why it matters more than ever, in an interactive blend of theory and practice. Live in Stirling; pre-recorded version online.

Outdoor Learning and Teacher Practice - Challenges and Opportunities

Alex Parrington of Monash University/ Cornish College, Australia, will describe the challenges and opportunities discovered when teaching outdoors on-site and how this impacted the lessons as students began learning from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pre-recorded session to be broadcast in Stirling and online.

Working with design professionals to understand outdoor learning and play

Learning through Landscapes’ Head of Education, Mary Jackson, will discuss the benefits of working with design professionals to get the most out of your school grounds. Live in Stirling; pre-recorded version online.

Why movies? The case of The Beginning of Life Outside

Lais Fluery, from the Alana Institute, Children and Nature Programme, Brazil, will explore how movies can be tools for empathy and inspiring action. Lais will consider how a movie the Alana Institute recently produced – The Beginning of Life - became a reach and impact movement. Pre-recorded session to be broadcast in Stirling and online.

Choose from the following keynote speakers:

Early Years Discussion with Dr Claire Warden

Dr Claire Warden explores concepts of early years and outdoor learning and play. Streamed live from Stirling.

Engaging children in multidisciplinary, evidence-based mental and physical health equity solutions

Marci Raney, Associate Professor at Occidental College in Los Angeles, USA, and Claire Latané, founder of the Emergency Schoolyard Design Volunteers for the US National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative, describe how collaboration at urban schools in Los Angeles has delivered schoolyard transformations that optimise student health and environmental outcomes. Pre-recorded session to be broadcast in Stirling and online.

Construction in School Grounds

Richard Barry explores methods of construction in school grounds. Live in Stirling; pre-recorded version online.

Learning on a climate adaptive school grounds

Cedric Ryckaert from Sint-Paulusschool Kortrijk, Belgium, will present his school as a case study. Previously a dull, concrete school ground, Sint-Paulusschool Kortrijk has now turned green, and is a great example of how to overcome challenges and to be ambitious in creating a school ground that is adapted to climate change. Live in Stirling; pre-recorded version online.

Child-Friendly Placemaking: How Children Are Leading the Transformation of Community Spaces 

Join Heidi Campbell, Senior Manager of Evergreen Canada, and Paula Gello of Recreate Place, as they share Evergreen Canada’s inclusive child-friendly approach to placemaking and creating more inclusive and connected communities in cities. Pre-recorded session to be broadcast in Stirling and online.

Join us as we close this year’s International School Grounds Conference and hand over the flag to the next host country.

Streamed live from Stirling.

Tune in and feedback on your key takeaways from the day’s sessions, online or in person.

Streamed live from Stirling.

Questions or concerns?

Please contact us on 01786 465 934 or training@ltl.org.uk.

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Nursery EYFS Outdoor Space Advisory Visit