The study of Scotland is right at the heart of Curriculum for Excellence. This event, organised by Education Scotland, provided an opportunity to develop a renewed emphasis on learning about Scotland and consider how we can enrich the learning experience for our youngest children.
Date: Saturday 19 May 2012
Venue: Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
What was the conference focus?
- To celebrate the richness of Scots language through exploring Scottish identity and giving children a voice.
- To be inspired to discover, explore and create opportunities for learning about Scotland outdoors and make use of local environments to develop, challenge and extend learning.
- To reflect on Scotland’s rich storytelling heritage and its importance in bringing learning about Scotland’s culture and history to life.
Download the brochure from this event:Word file: Learning about Scotland in the Early Years - event programme (1.2 MB)
The keynote speakers explored how we can enrich the learning experiences of young children through Scottish language, local environments, culture and heritage. Following their keynotes, the speakers were asked to capture the key messages of their presentation in the short videos below. We hope that they give you a flavour of the day itself and the importance of embedding learning about Scotland in practice.
Matthew Fitt, Scots author
Matthew Fitt is a published novelist and poet. He is the co-founder of the award-winning imprint, Itchy Coo. Matthew regularly visits schools as a children’s author and leads creative writing workshops for aspiring young writers. He is an acknowledged expert in the field of Scots language education and has delivered training for teachers across Scotland. Matthew introduced the conference theme and set the context for the day in a most entertaining and interactive way.
Liz Niven, poet and writer
Liz Niven is an award-winning Glaswegian poet, Dumfries-based, writing in English and Scots. She has been a teacher, Scots Language Development Officer and Cultural Co-ordinator, and is one of Scotland's most popular poetry facilitators. She delivers writing sessions and residencies to teachers and pupils across the country, and to national bodies such as the Scottish Poetry Library, London Poetry Society, National Galleries and Museums.
Liz has been invited to participate in poetry and language events and festivals across Europe, Scandinavia and China. Her poetry collections include 'Stravaigin', 'Burning Whins', and most recently, 'The Shard Box' (Luath Press, Edinburgh). Many of her projects are collaborations with artists in other media, for example artists’ books, animation, and public art in school grounds.
Juliet Robertson, Consultant, Creative STAR Learning Company
Juliet Robertson is one of Scotland’s leading education consultants, specialising in learning and play outdoors. Since establishing Creative STAR Learning Company in 2007, she has worked behind the scenes at a national level, producing case studies, documents and resources that provide practical guidance and support for teachers and practitioners in Scotland.
Juliet provides a wide variety of courses, including the training of local authority staff and other organisations to deliver high quality outdoor learning CPD. Juliet maintains strong international links, particularly with the Swedish outdoor 'Rain or Shine' nurseries. She writes a very popular blog, 'I’m a teacher, get me OUTSIDE here!', which is a free source of ideas and inspiration to early years and primary educators around the world.
Dr Donald Smith, Director, Scottish Storytelling Centre
Donald Smith is Director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre, as well as a novelist, poet, playwright and storyteller. Born in Glasgow of Irish parents, Donald has worked in theatre and literature in Scotland since the 1970s. Director of the Netherbow Arts Centre from 1983, Donald became founding Director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre in 1996. He was also a founding Director of the National Theatre of Scotland and first Chair of the Literature Forum for Scotland.
In addition to his creative work, Donald has written and lectured widely on Scotland’s cultural and religious life, past and present. As a playwright, his first play, 'The Bothy', was produced in 1986. His first novel, 'The English Spy', was published in 2007. His most recent books were both about Robert Burns - a biography 'God, the Poet and the Devil' in 2008 and a novel 'Between Ourselves' in 2009.
Jenni Curson, Learning about Scotland Development Officer, Education Scotland
Jenni is a Principal Teacher in a primary school in the Scottish Borders. Her undergraduate degree was in Scottish Literature and Languages, which has given her an avid interest in learning about Scotland. In her role as development officer at Education Scotland, Jenni has been developing a Studying Scotland online resource to support the delivery of Scottish contexts for learning across curriculum areas and stages of broad general education.