Guest blog by Jayne Phenton at Living Streets
Although my school days were a long time ago I still vividly remember was the walk to school. Walking with my mum when I was small – chatting, looking out for things for the nature table on the way – and then, when I was older, with my school mates. Starting to walk to school on your own was a natural rite of passage.
Fast forward a good number of years and it seems that is no longer the case. Less than half of primary school children walk to school and even fewer older children. This week is Walk to School Week and today (20 May 2013), Living Streets has published Must Try Harder, a half-term school report on the current generation’s journey to school.
The statistics from a YouGov poll commissioned by Living Streets are alarming – one in five parents have never even considered their child walking to school, despite the majority of children not getting the recommended one hour of physical activity a day and one in five of them leaving primary school overweight or obese. So as the numbers of children walking to school slowly declines over generations – in my mother’s day 94% of children walked to school – how do we reverse the trend?
From the Walk Once a Week (WoW) scheme and outreach projects which Living Streets runs to increase walking rates and reduce the congestion and air pollution which plagues many school gates, we know that children enjoy walking to school. They enjoy spending time with their friends, it builds their confidence and they like the feeling of independence.
Continue reading 'Walk to School Week'»
Guest blog by our work experience student Ian Pierce
Distance: (Depending on your choices) up to 3.5 miles
Image courtesy of BazzaDaRambler on Flickr
You probably don’t need a map for this one, but we’d recommend OS Explorer Map (1:25 000) Purbeck and South Dorset, Sheet OL15, for this park and the wider area.
If you are holidaying in Dorset with your family or just looking for a nice evening stroll, then look no further than Poole Park opened by the Prince of Wales in 1890. However, don’t be fooled by the fact it’s Victorian as there are plenty of activities for children all around the park. There are three entrances into the park by car and we would suggest taking the one nearest the Dolphin Swimming Centre. There is lots of parking situated around Poole Park but as you enter from our specified entrance, a little further down will be a glorious water fountain and on the right, the entrance to a car park. Next to the fountain is the first of the family-friendly activities as there are a few holes of miniature golf if that ever takes your fancy.
Continue reading 'The Poole Park stroll'»
We were really pleased when Digimap for Schools won Gold in the annual Geographical Association Awards recently. The award was made in recognition of the fact that it represents a major step forward in the way schools can access and use Ordnance Survey maps. The pupil-friendly web service gives access to all the mapping scales that a school needs to teach geography, including providing full access our most detailed mapping of the whole of Great Britain to schools for the first time.
Maps can be used on personal computers and interactive whiteboards and can be printed or saved at A4 or A3 size. All output carries a watermark, the name of the school and copyright information, providing complete assurance to teachers that they are complying with the license terms and conditions.
Digimap for Schools has been developed by EDINA, University of Edinburgh, who are also responsible for mapping services to higher education. EDINA are working closely with the geography teaching community to enhance Digimap for Schools in line with their needs, with the first enhancements due in a few weeks time.
Any teachers wanting to find out more about Digimap for Schools should visit: www.digimapforschools.edina.ac.uk
We have had a nursery at Ordnance Survey for many years, providing care for the children of our staff. It’s a fantastic resource which makes coming back to work much easier for many parents and it’s always been on site which means the children aren’t too far away.
When we started making plans for our new building, the nursery provision was also included and last night our Director of HR, Jan Hutchinson, formally opened the new facility.
Fun at the nursery
Catering for 45 children aged from 3 months to school age, the new nursery is outstanding, with an open plan feel and outside play area with its own treehouse. The nursery staff have made it an inviting, friendly and happy environment in which the children are flourishing.
Continue reading 'Opening the new nursery at Adanac Park'»
At the start of this autumn term hundreds of schools across Great Britain began the new academic year by signing up to use a new online mapping service designed specifically for the classroom.
With its pupil-friendly interface, and national coverage of digital maps, Digimap for Schools is set to greatly increase the use of Ordnance Survey maps for teaching and learning geography at all levels, as well as supporting other subjects such as history.
Until now, schools have mainly relied upon paper maps for Ordnance Survey map skills work – a mandatory topic in the curriculum. Since 2002 this has been supported by the issue of a free 1:25 000 scale OS Explorer Map to all pupils in Year 7 under the Ordnance Survey Free maps for 11-year-olds scheme. These free maps are being issued for the last time this year because Digimap for Schools will offer schools so much more.
How Digimap for Schools looks
Continue reading 'Maps are child’s play with Digimap for Schools'»
Back in January, Mission:Explore was announced as one of the winners of the GeoVation Awards Programme, the initiative supporting exciting ideas that use geography. Everyone that met the team was impressed with their passion, vision and sense of adventure. Here, Daniel Raven-Ellison who gave the pitch which secured the award, writes about the project and it’s aims in the first of a series of guest posts.
You can find out more on the GeoVation blog.
PS look out for some exciting news about this year’s GeoVation Awards very soon!
Mission:Explore is a project to encourage people to see, explore and act innew ways. We started the project because while children’s geographies are being extended in some areas (such as social networks), they are being restricted and bound in others.
As a subject geography is often marginalised and in schools and neighbourhoods children’s physical geographies are being reduced due to risk aversion. Our geographies directly impact on our wellbeing and our understanding of those geographies can help us to improve the wellbeing not only of ourselves but our communities.
Mission:Explore encourages children to look at the world differently
We believe that it is vital that young people are given the opportunity to explore. Exploration is a state of mind and a process of enquiry. It is about searching for answers even if we do not know the questions and can be physical, emotional or imagined.
Exploration is strongly linked to creativity: both search for originality (if only for the participant) and involve taking and managing risk. These are skills that we need young people to develop and along with their health and education, are being held back when children are not allowed to explore.
Mission:Explore aims to engage young people with geography on their own terms by challenging them to complete challenges. Each mission challenges the explorer to complete quirky, funny, important, strange or just fun activity. The people involved can choose to follow the mission to the letter or just use it to inspire their own ideas.
How far can you get while sucking a mint?!
We have just launched the Mission:Explore children’s book which includes 102 missions. All of our royalties are being invested in free copies of the book for children who would never normally come across them. The first books have been given to Play Tower Hamlets who are distributing them on our behalf.
The book is powerful. As a parent it is a fantastic way to encourage your children to play outdoors in a meaningful way. As an object that can be carried around it can create a purpose for doing the missions and a reason to speak to members of the community.
Missions like “how far can you get while sucking the same mint” involves some basic science while “map (un)friendly places” engages young people with politics and encourages them to question who creates places and cultures. If all the children on a street had a copy of the book it could change that community forever.
The book is available nationally and we would love to hear what you think of it.
We are going a step further though. With the help of GeoVation we, along with The Workshop, are turning Mission:Explore into a website and iPhone App. We will be sharing more details on this innovation in the next blogpost.