How to embed a good project like “Teaching out in nature” into the entire education system?
Forestry days in a “new dress”…
21. September 2020

How to embed a good project like "Teaching out in nature" into the entire education system?


Author: Rolf Jucker, Managing Director SILVIVA, Switzerland


O ur board of trustees is usually not happy when I come up with this topic. “We have to make sure that SILVIVA is written on everything we do, that our brand value increases and that everyone recognises our logo!” I always say: no, because...

The fantastic film about Greta Thunberg, "I am Greta" (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10394738/), has once again made it very clear to me: whether it is climate change or Covid-19, we only have the slightest chance of success if we break out of our old patterns. Only a factual perspective, coupled with evidence-based knowledge, will allow us to master these difficult challenges. If we remain in the traditional model of (political or economic) lobbying and selfishly guarding interests, we can be incredibly accommodating, well-dressed and nice, as all the world's top politicians have been to Greta, but we will only take exactly zero relevant action to really solve the problem.

Let’s translate this with a view to our topic. : the overall goal, based on the cumulative findings of learning, brain, behaviour and change research, must be that all children during their compulsory school careers are regularly given the tools they need to deal with complex challenges in a systemic, constructive, competent and creative way. This, so we know now, works best outdoors in complex real-world learning spaces. And, by the way, make such learning opportunities also available to as many adults as possible, the decision-makers of today, because if you look around, they can't do it yet!

If we take this goal seriously, then a small, nationwide operating foundation like SILVIVA can be nothing more than a catalyst, a source of ideas, an inspirer, a sparring partner and a critical friend. We can train, accompany, coach, support and network multipliers such as teachers, school administrators, lecturers in teacher training institutions, education managers, nature educators and others as well as possible. However, the real work must be done through systemic anchoring at all levels. In other words: Whether a specific team of teachers in School XY, the person responsible for primary and secondary education in a region, the director of the teachers’ union, the rector of the teacher training university YZ, Sabrina's parents, etc. – the relevant actors at all levels support and implement "teaching out in nature" not only because SILVIVA is so nice. No, they do it because they themselves have understood what outdoor learning really means for the enabling of the true potential of children, for good quality teaching, for the resilience and health of teachers. Moreover, because they have understood this, they make "teaching out in nature" a self-evident element of every school career in their area of responsibility, making the most of their scope of action. If this happens, if the actors at all levels take ownership of learning in nature, then we can achieve the above goal. I personally don't care whether all this activity is marked SILVIVA everywhere. Nevertheless, if we manage to anchor learning in nature systemically, some of it will fall back on us. I am convinced of that.

6-3B Nahrungssammlung Eichhörnchen Renate Fürst
4-6B Land Art 3 Renate Fürst
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