Flintshire County Council’s schools project to promote the use of Welsh outdoors

A pilot project led by Flintshire County Council is focussing on promoting the use of the Welsh language outdoors.

Working in partnership with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and Yr Urdd, training and activities will be delivered for second language primary schools in Flintshire to encourage greater use of Welsh when learning outdoors.

Flintshire County Council has already rolled out an initiative to provide training and support for school teachers and practitioners so that they can increase the amount of time spent learning in, about and for the natural environment.

Flintshire’s Leader and Cabinet Member for Education and Youth, Councillor Ian Roberts, said:

“This is a great initiative and the outdoor learning opportunities will offer our students a chance to use their language skills while having fun in the fresh air.  Flintshire has a strong commitment to the Welsh language and we are supporting students improve their Welsh language skills and to give them the confidence to use the language in their daily lives.”

Eight primary schools are taking part in the pilot phase of the project. This involved a day of outdoor learning teacher training delivered by NRW at Greenfield Valley Museum Heritage Park, Holywell yesterday (9th March).

Sue Williams, NRW Team Leader for Health, Education and Natural Resources said:

“The natural environment is the perfect location to promote the learning, understanding and speaking of Welsh as a second language.
“It provides relaxed, fun and exciting surroundings which always provide something new to explore and find. It offers a different learning environment to the classroom which can help to give children different experiences to support language and literacy achievement.
“Outdoor learning is advocated by the Welsh Government as a key approach to delivering the new Curriculum for Wales. It is also widely recognised for its significant health and well-being benefits. There is a real opportunity to incorporate language learning within the outdoor setting as schools implement the new Curriculum.”

Following the NRW-led teacher training in early March, a day of fun outdoor activities through the medium of Welsh will be held by Yr Urdd at each participating school.

Sion Lloyd, Yr Urdd Senior Officer - Outdoor Activity Service said:

“We are delighted to be part of such an innovative and exciting project. Our Learning Outside the Classroom sessions focus on the Health and Wellbeing of pupils while also incorporating the use of Welsh and Welsh language patterns.
“Our instructors deliver a variety of activities, where teachers and teaching assistants can observe and ask questions. This helps to build confidence within school staff to deliver the activities independently, which hopefully helps to develop Outdoor Learning as part of the school's future timetable and curriculum.”