Juliet Robertson's Story

Juliet Robertson's Story

A passion for taking learning outside and an inspiring Fellowship experience led Juliet's career in new directions.

The Fellowship

Juliet spent three weeks in North America and three weeks in Sweden and the Czech Republic looking at outdoor technologies in the context of primary education. This included the use of digital technology but also more traditional approaches, including technology in the past.

She visited heritage farming museums, outdoor centres where digital technology was integrated into learning approaches, schools which had solar panels, alternative schools that developed programmes of work based on field days and online working, and the I Ur och Skur outdoor schools and nurseries in Sweden.

Juliet saw first-hand a range of approaches to learning outdoors, which expanded her own understanding of the benefits of being outside within an educational context. Most importantly, she realised that learning outside more than just a fun way of learning, it was a fundamental right and necessity within the education system. She also realised that the breadth of outdoor experiences across the world was something to be shared and celebrated.

The Results

"The Fellowship was more than a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It profoundly changed my life.”

Juliet credits the Fellowship with giving her the insight, understanding and confidence to start doing full-time consultancy and training on her return to the UK. She wrote several short reports based on her research, one of which remains a key English text about Swedish Forest Schools and was translated into Japanese in 2010.

Since then, Juliet has set up a social enterprise, Creative STAR Learning Company, and co-written an outdoor digital technology resource pack, Teach IT Outdoors. Her blog now has more than 500 posts and gets over ½ million page views per year.

As well as actively contributing to the development of outdoor learning and play at a national level within Scotland, Juliet has ghost-written national guidance and played an active role in developing the Play Strategy for Scotland. Her book, Dirty Teaching: A Beginner’s Guide to Learning Outdoors was published in 2014.

She co-authored the Scottish Government's Loose Parts Play Toolkit and her next book, Messy Maths: An Outdoor Playful Approach will be published in Spring 2017. During her Fellowship, Juliet started her blog, "I'm a teacher, get me OUTSIDE here!" It has over 700 posts and more than a quarter of a million people visit it every year for ideas and inspiration.