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The Benefits of Plants

Image by Phichit Wongsunthi from Pixabay

More evidence emerges of the health benefits of the Great Outdoors and of our growing love affair with plants.

According to this report, a Royal Horticultural Society poll in Britain found that 71% of respondents feel that gardens and outdoor spaces have helped them with their mental health during the coronavirus emergency.

Meanwhile, this report in The Guardian talks of “a crop-growing revolution that enthusiasts say could transform how we think about nature, food security and our communities.”

Life-based learning promotes an appreciation of the importance of plants. The Merged Action Curriculum, an example of a life-based curriculum, has Plant Life as one of its nine curriculum themes.


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Check out more of our posts about life-based learning

An Urgent Priority
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Read more about the benefits of a life-based approach to learning

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MAC

Find out about what a life-based curriculum might look like

Public Support for a Focus on Health and Well-Being

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

A YouGov survey indicates that 82% of the British people would prefer the government to prioritise health and well-being over economic growth during the current coronavirus emergency. It also suggests that 61% of people would choose improved social and environmental outcomes over economic growth even when the pandemic finally subsides.

The survey was commissioned by a campaigning group called Positive Money and features in a new report called The Tragedy of Growth.

Read more about the survey results here.

Life-based learning promotes health and well-being. The Merged Action Curriculum, an example of a life-based curriculum, has themes that focus on body, emotion and mind.

Please note that the Forum does not necessarily support or endorse the aims of the Positive Money campaign. We are highlighting the poll as evidence of popular support for quality-of-life priorities.

Benefits of Outdoor Learning

Photo acknowledgement: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

One of the effects of the coronavirus emergency might be to “push parents and teachers to embrace the benefits of education in the outdoors”, according to this newspaper report.

It notes that the outdoor experience is already a part of Scotland’s ‘curriculum for excellence’.

Benefits of “the exponentially positive impact” of outdoor learning may include:

  • better eyesight
  • improved ability to assess risk
  • improved resilience

Wellbeing Award for Schools

Here is a link to information about an excellent initiative, described by Philippa Stobbs, who is assistant director of the National Children’s Bureau, a UK charity that promotes children’s mental health and emotional well-being.

The Merged Action Curriculum proposes that emotional awareness, resilience and well-being should be at the heart of what children need to learn. The Emotions is one of MAC’s nine learning domains.

We’re new. Come and have a look around the site. Let us know what you think. Join in the discussion about how we make the primary school curriculum better for our children.

Teaching about the climate emergency

Such a powerful opinion piece in Tuesday’s Education Guardian from the paper’s environment correspondent, Fiona Harvey, about the failure of the current National Curriculum adequately to address the climate crisis and sustainability more generally:

But in England, climate change barely figures on the national curriculum, and campaigners claim that schools are not required to teach it directly.

Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 11 February 2020 (p35 of the print edition)

The Merged Action Curriculum puts our relationship with the planet at the heart of what children need to learn. Living Sustainably is one of MAC’s three life areas, covering Plant Life, Animal Life and The Physical World.

We’re new. Come and have a look around the site. Let us know what you think. Join in the discussion about how we make the primary school curriculum better for our children.

Children’s Mental Health Week

It’s good to see children’s mental well-being high on the agenda this week as a result of Children’s Mental Health Week.

Provided that they are not just token gestures — their message all but forgotten once the occasion is over — ‘themed’ days and weeks can be extremely useful for highlighting important issues, raising public awareness and galvanising people into action.

The Merged Action Curriculum does things differently, putting emotional awareness, resilience and well-being at the heart of what children need to learn. The Emotions is one of MAC’s nine learning domains.

We’re new. Come and have a look around the site. Let us know what you think. Join in the discussion about how we make the primary school curriculum better for our children.

Five tips for creating a healthy school

The work of Fairfield Primary School in Cumbria around promoting health and well-being is really inspiring. Click here to read five useful tips to make your school more healthy, courtesy of the tes.com website.

What’s also interesting is that the five tips correspond very closely to what is set out in the Body learning domain.

We’re new. Come and have a look around the site. Let us know what you think. Join in the discussion about how we make the primary school curriculum better for our children.

Sustainability needs to be at the heart of the primary curriculum

A good-news story to end the week: efforts to reintroduce beavers (hunted to extinction hundreds of years ago) and the benefits they bring — reducing the risk of flooding and promoting biodiversity.

The MAC learning domains — especially those in the Living Sustainably life area — emphasise learning about the importance of animals to human life, about the threats animals face, and about how we can live sustainably in the future.

How well is this covered in the National Curriculum?

We’re new. Come and have a look around the site. Let us know what you think. Join in the discussion about how we make the primary school curriculum better for our children.

Yes, we need to be nurturing children’s sense of curiosity

This is a really interesting — if somewhat depressing — article from this week’s Education Guardian about the importance of stimulating children’s curiosity and encouraging them to ask questions about the world around them and about the things they are learning. The depressing bit is, of course, that the opposite is happening on too many occasions, as the article makes clear.

One of the main criticisms of the National Curriculum is that it switches children off from learning. The Merged Action Curriculum, on the other hand, is clear about the importance of motivating young minds and instilling a love of learning.

We’re new. Come and have a look around the site. Let us know what you think. Join in the discussion about how we make the primary school curriculum better for our children.

New thinking for a new decade

Hello! If you are coming to this website for the first time, a very warm welcome. Glad you have found us!

A new year — in this case, a new decade — is a perfect opportunity for new thinking. That’s something we certainly need in primary education. Put simply, the current National Curriculum for young children is not fit for purpose.

The Merged Action Curriculum is the result of my attempts to think afresh about how we best prepare our young people for the needs and challenges of the future.

You will find lots of information on these pages about the basic MAC framework. It is now time to move to the next stage of development. There is a great deal of work to be done.

The Support page offers many suggestions about how you can play a part in helping transform the educational experience of young children in the future. Your help will be hugely appreciated.

I am also eager to hear your views. I am planning on developing a discussion forum of some kind on this website in the near future. At the moment, you can easily follow MAC on Twitter. You can also get in touch directly via the Contacts page.

In the meantime, thank you for taking time to find out more about the Merged Action Curriculum.