The outdoor education charity welcomed the plans to increase the time people can now spend outside, saying it’s essential we get children out of their ‘home classrooms’.
The Field Studies Council (FSC), which provides environmental learning to children and adults, says easing of the restrictions around daily outdoor exercise and recreation will enable more people to re-connect with nature.
Commenting on the Government’s latest coronavirus guidance, FSC’s chief executive Mark Castle said: “The easing of restrictions around exercise and outdoor recreation is good news for many, particularly those living in urban areas where it is more difficult to access the countryside from the doorstep.”
The charity was forced to shut its network of field study centres across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland in March when the Government placed the UK in lockdown.
However, FSC tutors have been continuing to support teachers, students and parents with environmental learning through its programme of online fieldwork lessons, delivered in partnership with global education provider Encounter Edu.
Throughout April more than 370,000 schoolchildren of all ages took part in the charity’s live Geography and Science-based fieldwork lessons via YouTube. Later this month it will also host two professional development live lessons for newly and recently qualified Geography and Science teachers and those students undertaking a PGCE.
Mr Castle added: “It’s essential that we continue to support schools and children with essential outdoor learning even though schools and field centres like our own remain closed.
“Taking students out of their home classroom whether that be the bedroom, home-office, living room or dining table is absolutely essential if we want to continue engaging young people in the natural world.”
“Recent surveys suggest that people have more appreciation of the natural environment now than before the pandemic and this is something we want to build on as a charity.
“There are not many upsides to be taken from the current situation but if a lasting legacy of the pandemic is that more Britons regularly spend more time outdoors walking, cycling, learning and engaging with nature then this will at least be one positive outcome.”
The FSC welcomes around 150,000 pupils a year to its centres with May and June usually its busiest time of the year.
For more information about its #fieldworklive lessons and to access associated learning resources and register for the upcoming CPD #fieldworklive lessons visit: www.field-studies-council.org/fsc-fieldworklive/