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24 September 2013

Tammie the Puffin Takes Stewart Stevenson MSP Under his Wing

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP endorses outdoor learning with Scottish Teacher of the Year, Jenny McAllister, Education Officer of the Scottish Seabird Centre.
Stewart Stevenson MSP met with the Scottish Teacher of the Year, Jenny McAllister and Tammie the Puffin at the Scottish Parliament, to endorse outdoor learning in Banffshire and Buchan’s schools as part of the Curriculum for Excellence.

Jenny is the Education Officer at the Scottish Seabird Centre, an independent visitor attraction, conservation and education charity, which runs a Seaside School for outdoor learning. It has proved an outstanding success in its first 18 months, with Jenny’s work in encouraging children to learn and develop through outdoors experiences winning her the title of Scottish Teacher of the Year 2013. Jenny is the first non-classroom teacher to win the award.

There are numerous imaginative opportunities available in the Banffshire and Buchan area for outdoor learning, and schemes such as the John Muir Award also encourage local pupils to connect with and enjoy wild places within the structure of the Curriculum for Excellence.

Stewart Stevenson MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast said:

“I am delighted to learn about the fantastic work being undertaken by the Scottish Seabird Centre to encourage school children to get involved in learning in an outdoor environment.

“The Seabird School, working with Jenny McAllister as their educator, are providing interesting and innovative new ways of connecting with young people.

“The Banffshire and Buchan area provides a rich natural heritage and it’s great to see the Scottish Seabird Centre providing schoolchildren with the opportunity to explore and learn first-hand about their local area".

Jenny McAllister, Scotland’s Teacher of the Year and Education Officer at the Scottish Seabird Centre said:

“In my childhood I loved playing outdoors, but in one generation that has changed. Children have become more tied to indoor pursuits, and that has led to a gap between people and nature.

“That’s why I see learning outside the classroom as being so important. In England, it would appear that resources have been diverted away from outdoor learning – this is disappointing because it would mean English children are missing out on what I believe are vital learning experiences in the natural environment.

“So the Scottish Government, along with the largely supportive opposition parties, deserves much credit for pushing this up the agenda. I’m so proud and happy to be teaching in a country where progressive and sustainable outdoor learning opportunities are now firmly embedded in the Curriculum for Excellence.

“It’s incredibly fulfilling for teachers like me to see the difference that this sort of learning can make to a child’s life.”

Stewart Stevenson
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