It’s Summer!

Well, that really has been some year! I have just finished my last lesson of the academic year and… wow.

The academic year 2019-2020 is one that will not be forgotten by parents, children or teachers, or well, anyone really! At the start of the year we hadn’t heard of Covid, distance learning, blended learning or would consider a lockdown as something that could feasibly happen.

Yet now they are the norm. We are living a life we did not imagine at the start of the academic year. That change has been hard on everyone. Our children included.

I have been in the very privileged position to support children and families throughout this time. I strived to be a consistent in their lives. Popping up on their screen at the same time every week. Giving them consistency. Ensuring they knew what to expect, in a time of great uncertainty.

I pulled together some amazing teams to help support Lockdown Learning and Where the Wild Minds Grow. Pages designed to help support learning and mental health for everyone. Ensuring everyone, no matter how much they have in the bank, could access high quality support.

I spent hours upon hours on the phone to parents, whether I worked with them or not, the aim was simply to offer support to all. Ideas were shared, resources gifted, support given.

My staff team grew. We have an eclectic group of tutors which has doubled in size. However, they all have 5 things in common

🧡they are fully qualified teachers
đź’›they have a minimum of 5 years experience
đź’š they believe in putting the fun into learning
đź’™ they are wonderful human beings
đź’ś they understand the importance of mindset

The number of families we work with grew as well. I have loved seeing how the children all progress and watch the wonder of their learning. We no longer only work with families in West Lothian. We have families all over the country, from London to Gourock, Liverpool to Glasgow. Suddenly, distance isn’t an issue.

I love my job. I love supporting the children, families and tutors. But, I would be lying if I said this year has not been hard. There has been times where I could have curled up and hid. There has been days where I didn’t know how I would get through it. There has been many tears and a few tantrums and that’s just from me!

But, together, we have all came through it. I would like to think we have came through it stronger than we were. More confident. With an added understanding of what is really important in life.

At the moment we have no real idea what the next academic year might look like. Some parents are still hoping for blended learning, others for full time schooling and a return to normality. I have no idea what it will be. But I know myself and my team will still be there to support everyone who needs it.

But, this weekend, I am having a few days off. A chance to recharge my batteries before coming back on Tuesday to provide fun summer tuition to the wonderful kids I work with. And I cannot wait!

To family and every child we have worked with this year, thank you. You have been amazing and I shall not forget any of you!

I would love to hear your wins, so please, comment and tell us! Whether they are big or small, let us celebrate with you!

Free Daily Events During Lock Down

Good morning!

It has been a wee while since I posted on here. But I thought you might just find this list helpful and I can hyperlink the different pages this way!

There is so much available for parents just now, the problem is knowing where to look and what is worthwhile. There is a real sense of overwhelm. So I have compiled a wee list of things to help

9am – PE with Joe
Get yourself and your kids moving and join this national phenomenon, yesterday 1million people did!

9.30 – Dad’s Net
They cover maths, literacy and ideas for little ones

9.30 – Talk for Writing
Interactive tasks each day to get you writing

9.30 – Steve Backshall Home Learning
Join Steven in his nature explorations!

10am – Glasgow Science Centre
Join them for experiments and more!

10.30 – Love Outdoor Learning
On a Monday they share a story and the rest of the week a craft using natural materials

11am – Hobbycraft Kids Lessons
Simple ideas and crafts to keep your children busy

11am- McArt Art Studio
Half hour art lessons daily

11.30 – Oti from Strictly Kids Dance Classes
She even offers adult beginner classes at night too

12noon – Techniquest Science
Every day they share a short experiment

1.30 – The Critter Keeper
Teaches you about animals every day!

2.30 – Adam Garcia Tap
A little bit of foot tapping tap for your day!

6pm – Harptoons Daily Drawing
A little cartoon drawing every day

7pm – Josh Gad (the voice of Olaf)
Every night he is sharing a bedtime story for kids

Anytime – David Walliams Stories
Every day for 30 days the author of Gangsta Granny and the Demon Dentist is sharing a story

Anytime – Maths with Carol Voderman
Join Carol daily for maths ideas!

And let’s not forget assembly, at 11am on a Monday with Fischy Music!

Have you suggestions of other daily events we can join that help us learn? Please share them!

Krav Maga: My Mindset

These are just some of the lines I used to tell myself about why exercise really wasn’t for me.  Yes, like most people I would dabble but then I would let life overtake and exercise quickly became the least important thing on my to do list.

Then, 1st April 2018 came along, and I decided I needed to make a change.  I felt like a small, weak insignificant female and I did not like it.  I decided to try something new, something for me.  I spent time searching and discovered this thing called Krav Maga.  Wikipedia describes Krav Maga as

 a military self-defence and fighting system developed for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Israeli security forces derived from a combination of techniques sourced from boxing, wrestling, aikido, judo and karate, along with realistic fight training

It was so completely and utterly out with my comfort zone; I had never even thrown a punch yet alone tried something like this.  However, for some reason I decided it would be worth a go. Unfortunately, the class times and my schedule did not match.  I decided I liked the look of Tactical Defence Krav Maga.  They had profiles of their instructors on their website and seemed like nice people.  So, I sent them a wee message.  Soon after, I started 1to1 training with Alan. 

A year on we joke about that first session, but it really was terrifying!  I was so nervous going in.  I didn’t get through the warmup before my lips turned blue, I was told to sit and handed a glass of water, which I didn’t want to drink as I really was concerned that I was going to throw up!  Throughout that Alan was awesome, supportive and didn’t make me feel useless or any of my other negative thoughts floating around in my head.  There was only 1 way to go, I could only get fitter.  I just had to keep turning up. 

As we got into summer, we could see a real difference in my physical strength.  In my head though I would still often tell myself I couldn’t do what was being asked of me.  Alan was great though, he kept me focused and paid attention to how much I could physically do, pushing me to my limits.  Week on week I was achieving more.  I bought a decent pair of boxing gloves and got used to having the odd bruise.  Most of the time no one noticed them but if they did, they were a badge of honour.  They represented me and that I was growing stronger.

I kept training through Autumn.  Still, Krav was the only exercise I would do regularly.  Every Thursday morning, I would turn up.  I am self-employed and with that comes stresses.  I would turn up and Alan would ask how I was and how the business was going.  He would hear my wins and my woes.  Then I would learn how to punch, kick, elbow, knee and all sorts more.   

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi states that people are at their happiest when in a “state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation”.  For me, this was achieved through Krav.  The sequences and moves in addition to the theoretical and ethical knowledge that I was learning meant I could not think of anything else.  For that 1 hour a week the rest of the world, it’s stresses and strains, simply vanished.  This is when I became hooked.  This is when it went from being an item on my to do list to being important for self-care.  Krav Maga became something I was doing for me, not because I felt I had to, but because I wanted to. 

Winter came and I kept training.  I was learning to put together complex boxing sequences.  I was feeling physically strong.  But Christmas is a hard time for me.  I have lost both my parents, I need to take a break from business and life stops.  This was tough.  But Krav kept me going.  Then I hurt my back. 

Not being able to exercise for a couple of months was tough.  Really tough.  My anxiety kicked in a gear; business was going through a tough patch I stopped coping.  I started having panic attacks daily, often more than once a day.  It was during this period that I realised what a stress relief Krav really was to me.

I am now thankfully back training.  Every cloud has a silver lining and the period of not being able to train really helped me understand how my mindset had changed over the year.  I realised I was now strong, capable and determined.  When I first started Krav and got to that tough point in a session I would tell myself I couldn’t it.  In time it had moved to me telling myself I needed to do this.  Now, well now I tell myself I can do this. 

I train both with Alan but I also gym and do home workouts.  I actually enjoy pushing myself hard.  The psychologist Albert Bandura coined the phrase self-efficacy.  It is the boost you get when you achieve something tricky.  Each tough session was helping to develop my self-efficacy, my self-belief and ultimately my sense of self-worth. The magical thing here is this has transferred over to my real life and my business. 

Krav Maga has helped me develop real self-belief.  It has only taken 37 years!  However, I now know that it is ok to push myself.  In business, this means actively growing my business and taking risks.  I started my tutoring business 2 years ago with just me.  Since starting Krav it has now grown so I have a team of teachers working for me.  Furthermore, after starting Krav I also started an outdoor learning business.  This has grown hugely over the year.  I do not think it would have if it wasn’t for the self-belief and drive which I discovered and developed through Krav Maga. 

Whilst Krav Maga is the right thing for me, it doesn’t mean it is for you.  Be open minded and find your thing.  I had never thrown a punch before starting Krav and now would say I have a decent hook.  Chloe Brotheridge talks about exercise in her book The Anxiety Solution.  She says how exercise should be a form of self-care, not another item on the to do list.  This is because exercise lowers stress hormones, helps your brain recover from over-worrying, produces mood boosting endorphins and quietens mental chatter.  This is exactly what Krav does to me.  I may be fast approaching middle age, but I can see e enjoying Krav for many years to come!

January 2019 – A Year of Growth

Photo by Jens Johnsson on

January, traditionally a long and painful month.  The nights might be getting lighter, but it feels like it is deepest darkest winter.  A time to hibernate and recover from a busy festive period.  But here at Love Outdoor Learning this January has been about growth and business development, setting the seeds for what shall hopefully be a very exciting year!

It started with us taking on not one but two new members of staff.  Kimberley and Kaseyrose are the newest members of the team.   Kimberley is a very experienced teacher and is a great asset to us.  Kaseyrose has volunteered with various children’s clubs but this is her first job.  It is a privilege to introduce such a smart and determined young lady to the workplace.  She has been fantastic in our sessions so far and long may it continue!

Next up was us launching a new group, our family session.  Each month shall have a different theme.  This month was wildlife in winter, February shall be mythical and mysterious.  This is a fun session for kids aged 2 and over.  Of course, we still have our usual Fledgling’s Story sessions and STEM sessions.  February sees us launching new parks, which we are very excited about!

I have found being a business owner is very different from being a primary school teacher and I appreciate I still have a lot to learn.  I approach this 2 ways, firstly by attending some great networking events.  There is always someone interesting there that I can learn from.  However, I have also started the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Pre-Accelerator Programme.  This is all about teaching entrepreneurs the business skills they require.  It is an intensive 8 week programme and I am now 2 weeks into it.  I am learning so much and it is helping the business so much!

One of the early lessons was on growth mindset.  I taught this, I thought I knew it.  However, on reflection my mindset was holding us back somewhat.  Therefore, we have now started our schools programme!  After teaching for 10 years I understand how outdoor learning should be a part of every teacher’s toolkit, and not an add on to a packed curriculum.  It is an essential tool and can make a huge impact on all children’s learning.  We have begun providing CPD to schools and outdoor sessions for children within schools. 

We have also started looking at the options for purchasing our own land for our outdoor groups.  This would allow us to have a firepit, vegetable patches, offer groups every day of the week and even have an after-school club!  It is hugely exciting so watch this space to see how we progress with this.

We have no doubt that 2019 is going to be a very exciting year.  We really hope you will continue to join us on our amazing journey!