Crofting Connections is an educational project, which will enable over 3,000 young people aged 3 to 18 living in remote rural communities throughout the Highlands & Islands to learn about crofting past, present and future.
The traditional crofting principles of providing food, shelter, clothing, energy and entertainment are very much aligned with the 21st Century desire for sustainability and offer tremendous opportunity for outdoor learning and place based education.
Since Phase 2 of the project started at the end of 2012, we have almost doubled the number of schools who signed up during the whole of the three years of Phase 1. Fifty new schools are now fully signed up to give us a total of 107 schools across the Highlands and Islands.
We have still managed to get out and about to see a majority of schools this year, meeting colleagues from Phase 1 and Phase 2 schools. Argyll had a selection of events in November, twilight CPD sessions for teachers were held in Western Isles, Shetland and Orkney. We are working on dates for Highland, Moray and North Ayrshire schools.
A wide selection of partners bring a varied and lively range of activities linking crofting to classrooms in all areas of the project from soil science, traditional livestock knowledge and heritage growing to weaving and spinning and storytelling in Gaelic and other local dialects.
As well as our selection of heritage and contemporary seed potatoes sent out to all schools, we have distributed traditional and modern varieties of cereals. This year there is also an opportunity to learn about the partnership between cereals and legumes in the soil, in animal feed and on the human dinner plate.
The new Counting Sheep project brings a closer focus to this most prevalent of crofting livestock. This will add to some of the excellent sheep work already started in schools.
We look forward to a lovely selection of harvesting and sheep pictures in the new term.
Children at Lochcarron primary school, Highland, learn first hand about the practice of ‘rooing’ Soay sheep. The school has also been spinning and knitting during the winter months.
Three Crofting Connections primary schools in Orkney came together in Eday in February to take part in the Junior Saltire Prize.Read full article: Budding Marine engineers in Eday
Crofting Connections was part of an international collaboration on place-based learning last November which culminated in a symposium in Plockton High school. The research investigating the engagement of children and young people in understanding and valuing their communities is supported by the Arkleton Trust and Highland Council and involved projects in Norway, Alabama and Scotland.Read full article: Crofting Connections: an ideal context for place-based learning