Thinking clearly in the new school year

Mark Sears, Chief Wild Officer, tells us how he's working to re-shape our Wild Time Learning platform.

On our journey as The Wild Network we have learned lots. 

As we moved from the Natural Childhood Report and made Project Wild Thing, a number of clear principles emerged that drive what we do now. As we move into a new school year some of those driving forces feel really applicable for how we support our children to thrive in an ever more complicated and pressured teaching environment. 

Multiple experiments in multiple places.

The reasons for a lack of Wild Time in our children’s life are complex, systemic and have manifested in often convoluted ways over decades. Consequently no single project, initiative, or solution can claim to be the magic tool that will suddenly change everything for our kids. What is clear though, is that we need a whole host of solutions that inspire parents, support communities and empower teachers and schools. Across all of these areas we need to develop a range of innovations to create a new normal for our children across all aspects of their life, 365 days a year, in their schools, their homes and where they live.

Building capacity is vital.

If we are going to find new ways of building Wild Time into our complex worlds we’re going to need new ways to resource and support ourselves as parents and teachers. Pressure on school systems continues to increase and any solution must become a genuine support for teachers. It isn’t about getting every teacher to become a certified Forest School leader, as advantageous as that might be. This is about inspiring, empowering and supporting teachers to build outdoor learning into their every day pedagogy. It is about showcasing the outside not just as a nice playful space, but a vital tool for supporting creativity and teamwork as well as being the perfect platform to teach numeracy and literacy.

 WildTime Learning site

Over the last two years we have been developing the Wild Time Learning platform in collaboration with Swarm and Lighting up Learning. As we have developed it we have tried to embody these principles in our approach.

Lighting up Learning has worked closely with the pilot schools to design a product that uses a digital platform to build everyday capacity in (and for) teachers and we’d love to get more teachers and schools using it.

Seeking forward thinkers

How can you get involved?

  1. We know that many of you are already championing outdoor learning but we’d love it if you would road-test the new platform, tell us what works and what doesn’t. We want to know where else we could take it, from a functionality point of view and what partnerships we could take it forward.

  2. Over the course of the next month we will be sharing a whole host of other learning tools, programmes and campaigns.  If you’ve got a favourite we’d love to hear about it particularly those that are trying new things, pushing the boundaries to create a new normal for the way our children learn. Let us know by emailing us, or on Facebook or Twitter.


Wild Time Learning was developed in collaboration with Lighting Up Learning and the schools that they're working with in Bristol as part of the Natural Connections Demonstration project. 


Designed by teachers, for teachers - Nick Garrick, director of Lighting Up Learning gives us a teacher's perspective, and tells us why Wild Time Learning is different - and why you should try it.

What is a classroom? Tamsin Constable shares her latest thoughts and tips on taking a fresh view.

Help change your school's attitude to outdoor learning, with the Natural Connections Demonstration Project's fantastic results.

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