West Lothian College celebrated Outdoor Classroom Day recently with students from Dedridge Primary School.

The students spent the morning in the Forest Classroom building dens, a fire and some bird feeders for the winter. They also prepared some fruit and peanut butter for snacks.

The classroom has been a great resource for schools and nurseries across West Lothian to get children and young people into the outdoors and feel the benefits of outdoor learning. Students loved getting their hands dirty and being able to help local wildlife.

Ciaran McRae, Acting Principal Teacher of Dedridge Primary School, said: “I think outdoor classrooms are a really good idea. I think it’s something that really needs promoted and celebrated. You see the children in a different context and you can see their self-esteem is boosted by the fact that different skills are valued in this context and they like to demonstrate those. What better way to prove you can apply a skill than to do it here in the real world?

“I think it’s an absolutely brilliant facility for pupils to use and I think it’s a really creative use of space that was essentially waste land before and it’s been turned into something that really energises pupils and lets them apply skills in a real and outdoor context.

“We try to come down once a week with a group of primary 6/7s and the main focus of that is looking at their engagement and their engagement in the school. We’re finding that the link up with the college has really developed their engagement generally and we’ve seen positive things come out of that.”

Dedridge Primary School P7 pupil Christopher Haughey said: “I really like it in the forest, making the fires and building dens, it’s a lot of fun. It’s like we’re all one big team, working together and we’re all good friends.”

Outdoor Classroom Day was set up to get as many children as possible playing and learning outside and is a celebration of what schools are doing already as well as a chance to inspire others to get involved.