30th November - St Andrew's Day - is regarded as Scotland's National Day. Many people living in Scotland take a moment to consider and celebrate Scottish traditions and culture. I rather like that Saint Andrew is the patron saint. He's not Scottish but was one of the twelve apostles, coming from a family of fishermen. Although he travelled extensively following the death of Jesus,the historical evidence suggests that only his remains made it to Scotland. It is unlikely that he visited in person. Andrew was crucified on a saltire cross for his beliefs on 30th November 60AD. This is the cross that is on the Scottish flag. Often when people think about culture, the normal associations are those around history, costumes, music, famous people and food. You can find lots of information on the Education Scotland website and this download has further weblinks and educational suggestions for St Andrew's Day. Yet culture comes from our relationship with the land. Our identity defined and shaped by the natural elements such as the rocks, the weather, the plants and wildlife. It comes through in the language, the legends, the songs and the stories. So to ignore the natural heritage of Scotland is to ignore a part of our being.
The Loose Parts Play Toolkit has finally been published. I'm pleased and excited that it is out there, freely available for all to download and use. It is encouraging to see the Scottish Government actively encouraging schools and other childcare organisations to embed loose parts play into their work.