Caerphilly Outdoor Learning Wales Network Group

Interactive Woodlands Project - 2010

The aim of the project was to introduce a new strategy to Caerphilly practitioners, which is used by Paul Gibbins (Gwent Theatre) to guide children through learning experiences. Paul bases his work on “Mantle of the Expert” (MoE) technique, which empowers children by actively engaging them in problem solving and allowing them to make decisions. The use of this technique should enhance and develop the educational practice of Foundation Phase School Practitioners by improving their skills to work creatively, dramatically and imaginatively with pupils in an outdoor woodland setting.

Children from 10 Caerphilly schools attended workshops with Paul in various woodlands across the county. Practitioners from all Caerphilly schools were invited to attend and observe from a distance. They then attended a session led by Paul to discuss how they could use the technique in their own settings.

Feedback from teachers who attended the workshops

Giving ‘pupil voice’ its full value and importance as a learning tool for themselves, each other and the teacher is scary but valuable and especially pertinent to Foundation Phase.
Hendredenny Park Primary School

I want to use this initially to introduce a new topic area to evaluate the children’s existing knowledge and where their interests lie. Then, as a regular way to assess and plan – the kids will love this way of working!
Ysgol Gymraeg Penalltau

No equipment or fancy props, just the children’s imaginations, it was fab!
Cefn Fforest Primary School

Provided opportunities to open up pathways of children’s thoughts and problem solving. Gave you an insight into ways of taking their suggestions to develop a theme or situation.
Coed-y-Brain School

Fantastic, will bring back the love of learning and teaching!
Bedwas Infants School

Try it yourself
Have a try yourself. The Mantle of the Expert website has lots of ideas of how to start. It has teaching resources, videos, and ideas for planning and assessment.
See the website for more information: