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The Sustainable Management of Local Spaces Used Regularly for Learning and Play

Created by OWL Scotland | Published 09.15.21

THE SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF LOCAL SPACES USED REGULARLY FOR LEARNING AND PLAY A case study report for Scottish Forestry EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This report, commissioned by Scottish Forestry, explores the issues of sustainable site management for Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) outdoors, to provide case studies, and adjust existing guidance to reflect best practice. A variety of urban sites were visited, in and around Glasgow, and the issue of access, use and care of sites discussed with practitioners and land managers. Case studies included outdoor kindergarten, nursery, forest school and out of school care groups. Impacts were observed on access paths, soils, ground vegetation, and trees in areas of concentrated use such as play camps. Mechanisms such as permission to use, and rotating sites were found to be important in managing impacts through overuse. Building good relationships between education/ play groups, landowners/ managers and the local community was also fundamental to good practice. Some groups clearly had a positive impact through clearing litter and adding community value to otherwise neglected areas. A number of group leaders acknowledged that a lack of formal ecological knowledge may get in the way of fully recognising the impacts their group has over time on a site. This highlights the need for training to help group leaders understand, monitor and use sites more sustainably, and involve the children they support in this environmental stewardship

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