Nature learning with the RSPB

We’re excited to share news about an outreach programme from the RSPB and Aldi, to help schools and young people connect with nature.

This exciting partnership allows educators to visit primary schools and early years’ settings across the UK, with the aim of working with teachers and children on outdoors topics.

Schools outreach from RSPB and AldiSchools outreach from RSPB and Aldi

This FREE initiative is available in a wide range of cities across mainland Britain, with what Topmarks sees as exciting sessions to engage children, beyond the classroom environment.

Schools outreach, RSPB and Aldi

For early years, these include:
Wild Words – investigating outdoor spaces and animal journeys, collecting natural things, and using ‘wild words’ as prompts for retelling the experience
Habitat Explorer – finding and identifying minibeasts in existing habitats as well as spotting opportunities to create new ones
Sensing the World – discovering your outdoor space with your senses, making a ‘nature’s colours’ collection, creating a piece of wild art full of texture

And for primary children, there’s fun to be had with these sessions:
Wild Words – exploring your school grounds through the eyes of an animal, collecting natural things, and stimulating literacy work with ‘wild words’ we come up with
Giving Nature a Home – helping to map and score your outdoor environment with nature in mind, identifying habitats and looking for potential to create new ones
Bioblitz – hunting for plants and minibeasts under every rock, bush and doormat!

Schools outreach with RSPB and Aldi

Each visit is free, and the sessions last around 90minutes. Enquire about one coming to your school by clicking here!
And if you’re not lucky enough to live close to where the outreach programme is happening, check the RSPB’s site for more ideas. Find ways to support nature learning such as outdoor activity sheets and resources, a Wild Challenge for kids to get involved with and outreach presentations (PDF and PowerPoint) from their team, to be used by teachers.

Schools outreach by RSPB and Aldi

Get set – and safe – for summer: Soltan

It may not quite be heat wave season yet, but here at Topmarks, we are looking forward to summer sun! And along with that, it means staying skin-safe, of course.

It’s why we’re excited to see the Soltan Sun Ready Schools plan from leading high-street pharmacist, health and beauty retailer, Boots. The prospect of outdoor fun means we shouldn’t have to compromise on safety when it comes to getting that all-important protection against permanent skin damage.

Soltan Sun Ready Schools campaign, Boots

With young skin susceptible to skin damage, it’s crucial to see that children are not only staying safe, but also educated for the future. That’s where the Soltan Sun Ready Schools campaign from Boots comes in. The top tips for enjoying the fresh sunny weather are sensible advice… the 5-step guide is easy too!

Soltan Sun Ready Schools campaign, Boots

Look out for sun scream with a 5* rating for UVA protection – not just one with high SPF number

Find a host of FREE sun-safe ideas, lesson plans for curriculum-led activities and assemblies all to download at the Soltan Sun Ready Schools site, both for primary age groups and secondary.

Why not make the most of the Sun Ready photo challenge competition? There are some great prizes up for grabs, such as a grand prize of £5000 for the winner to use on their upcoming school trips, as well as many other runner-up goodies and free Soltan samples.
Open to UK schools, from 16 April (next week!) so watch out for details at the challenge link – all classes have to do is upload a photo of how they are getting sun ready. Register (for free) and download the differentiated resource. (Competition closes 8 June, t&cs apply.)

STEM idea – Google Chrome Music Lab

Try this fun new idea for learning music, with a technology slant! Song Maker is a great new addition to the Chrome Music Lab suite

If you’ve never tried the Chrome Music Lab, by Google, then you’re in for a treat. Launched just a couple of years ago, it aims to help learning about music, using the web. The collection of ‘Experiments’ allow youngsters of all ages to get hands-on and explore how music works, such as sound, rhythm, melody and more.

Google Chrome Music Lab

The recent addition of Song Maker, an Experiment which allows anyone to compose their own song, surely fires the creativity! It’s so easy, as the notes are laid down just by drawing on the screen. Try the range of instruments, and play (literally!) with the settings to practice with concepts of tempo and scales. Plus the finished songs are easily shareable with a link, so they can be instantly enjoyed by everyone.

Google Chrome Music Lab, Song Maker

Enjoy the full inspiration:
→ free to use, no need to log in or make an account
→ compatible across devices: phones, tablets as well as desktop computers
→ web-hosted so no app installation required

Be inspired to use Chrome Music Lab in exciting ways, in science, maths, even art and dance lessons!

RHS Campaign for School Gardening

Outdoor learning… Appreciating the fresh air and healthier lifestyles… Improving physical and mental well-being… A garden is a great way to teach young people about their environment, with many direct benefits!
RHS Campaign for School Gardening

These are just a handful of the many reasons why Topmarks loves the campaign from the Royal Horticultural Society aiming to inspire and support schools to provide gardening opportunities for children. Look out for the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, which has been enjoying growing success since its launch in 2007.

With FREE registration, a huge array of learning resources and ideas on the campaign website, plus plenty more in the welcome pack, there’s no reason not to get gardening at your school. Enjoy classroom activities across the entire curriculum, whether it’s indoor growing, or outside in the smallest of outdoor spaces. Youth groups, clubs and childminders can also signup.

RHS Campaign for School Gardening

Find inspiration for all ages, from Early Years right up to 19, and with SEN inclusion, too, across all regions, there are some great stories to be inspired by.

RHS Campaign for School Gardening

Plus registered schools can enter the School Gardeners of the Year competitions, for the chance to win stunning prizes! This fabulous greenhouse worth £3425, by Gabriel Ash, will go to the lucky winners of the category for RHS School Gardening Team of the Year 2018 – perfect for a class group or after-school club who’ve caught the green-fingered bug! And the prizes for finalists are not to be missed, so give it a go. Open to groups of young people aged 5-16, with entry supported by a nomination from an adult (18+), find out more about T&Cs, and how to enter here. (Submissions close 5pm, 25 April 2018).

RHS Campaign for School Gardening - Gabriel Ash

Click here to register for the campaign today, and get set to welcome spring with your learning!