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Monday, 11 June, 2001, 00:28 GMT 01:28 UK
Pupils design 'green' school grounds
Girls in playground
Learning Through Landscapes wants pupils to learn outside
Pupils are being encouraged to come up with environmentally-friendly ways of developing their school grounds.

The "Living Today For Tomorrow's World" scheme will see primary and secondary school pupils designing wildlife gardens, building willow dens and structures, taking rubbings from plants and leaves - or even re-writing the words to Michael Jackson's songs about saving the planet.

Outside class
Pupils are to explore sustainable development
Up to 3,000 schools are taking part in the scheme - organised by the national charity Learning Through Landscapes (LTL) - as part of National School Grounds Week.

Supported by the Department for the Environment and the Regions, the programme ties in with national curriculum lessons on how individuals can live more sustainable lives.

LTL, which has a brief to offer support and advice to schools wishing to make more of their grounds, hopes the week will promote interest in school surroundings and bring learning to the outdoors.

Outdoor learning

LTL programmes organiser Sandy Fitzgerald said: "We want to give schools ideas on how to conduct their lessons outside.

"School grounds are a much under-used resource - there not just there to sit in, but pupils can learn in the outdoors too.

Improving school grounds can have a knock-on effect in terms of a child's outlook, physical development and academic performance

Sandy Fitzgerald
"We're concerned that the space in schools isn't being used and so children are getting limited experience of the joy of the outdoors.

"Improving school grounds can have a knock-on effect in terms of a child's outlook, physical development and academic performance," she said.

Even schools with no grounds other than a yard need feel left out.

"If you've just got a yard, you can develop that area - it's possible to do a lot with very little," Mrs Fitzgerald added.

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