09/07/2015: Summer Course For Teachers In Glenveagh National Park proving a massive success
This week, 25 teachers from around the North West are attending a 5 day course called ‘Learning Through The Landscape’ – Connecting the Curriculum with the Great Outdoors at Glenveagh National Park. Feedback from participants has already been highly positive, with many commenting that it is by far the best course they’ve been on. As part of their Continuing Professional Development, teachers attend 5 day courses in subjects that will help them gain new knowledge and skills to take back to the classroom. Often, courses are held throughout the country in indoor venues, but this new course is based in the heart of the National Park, where its core message is all about getting children outdoors to engage in learning about their landscape and natural heritage.
Run by the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, in partnership with Dept. Education and Skills, Donegal County Council and Inland Fisheries Ireland, the course is taking teachers on an adventure in the wild, whilst cleverly exploring how many subjects in the curriculum can be taught outdoors. Teachers are exploring how to better communicate nature, science, geography, maths and visual arts through outdoor learning and have already experienced lots of new hands on activities that they can take back to school in September. Based in the Education Centre in Glenveagh National Park with staff there who are co-ordinating the course, the week is proving a great success so far.
The course was booked out within 24 hours of being advertised and had enquiries from teachers all around the country. A growing interest in nature and wildlife, along with more schools now doing their Green Flag for Biodiversity and Discover Science Award, has led to teachers wanting to learn more themselves. Many point out that they don’t cover this sort of thing in their teacher training and have jumped at the chance to spend a week in one of our national parks in the company of experienced outdoor professionals, in a bid to enhance how they teach children.
Given the demand this year, it is likely that the course will run several times next year.
Commenting on the course, Minister of State Joe McHugh said:
“I am delighted to hear of the success of this innovative course in Glenveagh National Park. Our National Parks are a wonderful national resource, and I am very pleased to see this resource being exploited for the benefit of schoolchildren throughout the country. In recent years the Education Programme at Glenveagh National Park has been doing wonderful work with schoolchildren in the park, and I am delighted to see them build on this success with this course which I am sure will go from strength to strength in the years ahead.”