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Connecting People and Planet (Turkey/Rotherham)

Connecting People and Planet (Turkey/Rotherham)

- On average, Britain’s children watch more than 17 hours of television a week: that’s almost two-and-a-half hours per day, every single day of the year. Despite the rival attractions of the Internet, this is up by 12% since 2007.

– British children are also spending more than 20 hours a week online, mostly on social networking sites.
– Children spend so little time outdoors that they are unfamiliar with some of our commonest wild creatures. According to a 2008 National Trust survey, one in three could not identify a magpie; half could not tell the difference between a bee and a wasp; yet nine out of ten could recognise a Dalek.

These statistics are from research reports quoted in Natural Childhood, a report published by the National Trust in 2012.

These issues are being addressed in the ‘Connecting People and Planet project’, a Comenius Regio Bilateral project between Rotherham MBC and Bursa Province in Turkey, funded by the EU Lifelong Learning programme from September 2012 to August 2014. The project links Winterhill Comprehensive and Technology School with Bursa Hamitler Doga College. Clive Belgeonne from DECSY is providing consultancy as the Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship expert.

The project aims to build on the skills of teachers in both locations by allowing exchange visits to learn from Winterhill School’s innovative use of technology and Bursa Hamitler Doga College’s unique approach to nature-based learning. The aim is to connect young people better to nature by encouraging more outdoor learning and use technology to help them to learn and under stand more and share that learning.

The project team from Rotherham visited Bursa in November 2012 and the Bursa project team visited Rotherham in February 2013. A baseline survey for teachers and pupils has been established to assess how connected they are to nature (based on the RSPB online survey ‘How connected are you?'). Both schools are setting up bird boxes and bird feeders with cameras, as well as carrying out local environmental audits and setting up weather stations to compare data and conditions.

There are plans to develop more learning outside the classroom in a number of subject areas and to grow more food in the school grounds. The project aims to develop an effective and sustainable link between the education authorities in Rotherham and Bursa and to share with other schools locally (such as the Rotherham Global Schools Network) through partnership and training, and internationally through a virtual learning space.

For more information contact Clive Belgeonne clive@decsy.org.uk 

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