Skip to main content
Grasswood by Stephen Garnett

Primary schools

Here at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, we offer education sessions for primary schools. These sessions are curriculum-based and can be adapted to meet the needs of teachers and of the group. The sessions can be half or full days at locations across the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Child exploring Grasswood with education materials.
Primary school children exploring Grasswood with education materials.

We offer the following sessions, all of which can be adapted to meet the needs of the teachers and the group;

Key Stage 1:

  • A Woodland Adventure: investigate the trees and animals found in woodlands and enjoy some craft based activities.
  • Art in Nature: by exploring the natural environment children will be introduced to a range of art techniques, which will include creating sculptures, using natural materials, sketching, printmaking and clay modelling.
  • A Farm visit.

Key Stage 2:

  • A Woodland investigation: explore our beautiful woodlands and learn to identify trees and plants, discover all about seed dispersal and how we can look after woodland habitats.
  • A River investigation (April – October): carry out some basic fieldwork to identify changes along the course of a river. Identify river features and processes.
  • Landscape detectives, including investigating rocks and/or soils: Discover how the geology of the Dales has formed our landscape and complete the rock detectives workshop. Organise your own visit to a quarry or show-cave to extend the learning experience.
  • Farming for sustainability: visit a farm in the Dales to find out how it functions and how farmers are changing what they do to farm more sustainably, enhancing biodiversity.
  • Discovering meadows: carrying out a meadow survey, identifying plants and butterflies, and exploring the importance of biodiversity.
  • Peat protectors: understanding the importance of upland peatlands as carbon stores and their role in combatting climate change through a range of practical activities.
  • Managing tourism in the Yorkshire Dales: carrying out a range of human geography fieldwork, such as questionnaires and land use mapping.
  • Well-being sessions: connecting with nature, practical conservation, map reading, navigation and bushcraft skills.
  • Art in Nature: closely exploring the natural environment, through the work of Andy Goldsworthy and multiple art techniques. Children will be introduced to a range of art techniques which will include creating sculptures using natural materials, sketching, printmaking and clay modelling.
Children collecting sticks in Grasswood.
Primary school children collecting sticks in Grasswood.

Most of our supported group sessions and supported residentials are free, we loan waterproofs and we have a small transport fund to help with the costs of visits. We plan sessions to meet the needs of the group and welcome groups from all backgrounds.

The Dales Countryside Museum offers history-based sessions at the centre in Hawes.

Children's hands looking at a colour stick in the woods during a workshop.
Discovering colour in Grasswoods.

Classroom-based or online sessions: (Up to 2 hours)

  • An introduction to National Parks: Why were National Parks formed and what do they aim to do?
  • What is special about the Yorkshire Dales National Park?
  • Managing visitors to the Yorkshire Dales: What is the impact of visitors? Malham as a honeypot village. The causes and solutions to footpath erosion
  • Rock and/or soil detectives workshop (for schools within or close to the YDNP): Through practical activities, children learn about the formation and characteristics of different types of rocks and the key features of our limestone landscape. For soils, children explore the composition of the soil, soil profiles and the properties of different soil types. This is a messy hands-on activity!

Identifying woodland animal tracks.

Resources and training

There are a range of education resources to support teachers with classroom delivery on National Parks and planning educational visits to the Yorkshire Dales.

We provide online and practical face-to-face sessions for primary teachers, to enable teachers to deliver curriculum-based outdoor learning sessions.

We work with teachers across a small number of Ambassador schools upskilling teachers, supporting curriculum planning and helping to develop centres of good practice. These Ambassador Schools can then share their knowledge and skills with other schools and support them in improving the quality and breadth of their provision.

More details about booking events and contacting us here.

You can see our outdoor learning flyer – here in a PDF format.