I was asked recently for me to imagine what changes would I like to see by 2050. Now I could write a book on the subject. So I've pared my comments down a little!
40 years ago I was told that dreams are free
Freeing my dreams meant a lot to me.
For many months I’d harboured a vision
But to tell the world, filled me with derision
I know many would mock, many would despise
My future plans and suggest they were lies
Great big stories of unrealistic expectations
For I wanted children in all of our nations
To be able to learn outdoors everyday
Come rain or shine, what would people say?
Luckily one or two listened and did agree
That my dream, my vision should be a reality.
Because dreaming alone is only a dream
When you dream together, it is like a laser beam
Being switched on – there’s focus and direction
For community, education and political action.
We started by growing trees and giving them away for free
Trees create greenspace, people had to see.
All over Scotland school children planted birch, oak and ash
At the edges of their playing fields with very little cash
The habit was made, the natural habitats grew
The impact was positive about what people could do
Year after year, the greening of grounds went on
The roots of our vision were firm and strong
As the children ventured outside, teachers began to see
That this was a much better place to be!
Fresh air is good for the brain, children’s focus increased
Staff and kids’ stress levels decreased
Attainment improved, absence rates dropped
The decline in school standards was permanently stopped.
We wrote to politicians, we begged and we pleaded
Eventually they listened and that plan succeeded
In 2030, an Act of Parliament was passed
The “Leave No Child Inside” Law came about at last!
This innovative motion clearly stated
The indoor classroom was overrated
A programme of change was put in place
A long term plan to help teachers face
The prospect of spending 50% time outdoors
Regardless of the age or stage of the children of course!
Digital technology, now solar powered and free
Was used to share lots of ideas you see
Cross-curricular and developed with a sense of place
The children loved the freedom and feeling of space!
Explorations and adventures were a natural part of lessons
That sometimes lasted more than several sessions
Over the years, schools moved slowly outside
Into the woods, onto the beaches – no place to hide
One school was even set up on a boat
Learning through sailing – whilst keeping afloat!
So in 2050 forty years on,
Outdoor schools are still going strong
It is quite ironic to think that my dream did last
That children stuck inside is thing of the past
For the first children planting trees outdoors
Became responsible caring adults – of course!
Who were keen to ensure
Learning outside forevermore