Resources for teachers, schools and juniors

This section links teachers to resources to help them teach orienteering in schools. There is some overlap here between resources that are useful to teaching under 18s and resources that are helpful in coaching adults as they develop. Not all material of relevance across Better Orienteering is repeated here. Do browse the website for other resources and ideas!

The basic animated introduction videos from the International Orienteering Federation (IOF) are a good place to start – see the New to Orienteering pagesBeginner

This introduction video with Graham Gristwood (World Champion) is excellent. All beginners should watch it.

The 10 Elements of orienteering videos by the Irish Orienteering Association expand on the basic ideas a bit further – see: http://www.orienteering.ie/video-3

This IOF summary is a handy overview:

Cool, Awesome and Educational, Orienteering at School ages 6-15

The most helpful publication I can suggest for teachers is:

Goran Andersson ‘Cool, Awesome and Educational, Orienteering at school for ages 6-15’, Silva

Read for free at Issuu.com

The book is very well illustrated in colour with lots of maps and examples. It starts with the basics of what a map is and works through a range of exercises to help pupils learn how to use maps and enjoy trying orienteering.

Here are some example pages showing some of the exercises. (Thanks for permission from Goran Andersson to include these):

The book can be purchased individually or in bulk. See Goran’s website for details:


Read the book for free at Issuu.com

The Suggested Reading and Resources pages of Better Orienteering link to useful websites, free resources, videos and downloads. Relevant material on those pages is not all repeated here.

Juniors may also find this short story about trying orienteering an easy way to understand what it is all about. It was originally published in Yes Mag a Canadian children’s science mag. Its an easy to read introduction.

The full article is on Orienteering Canada’s website and linked here (Orienteering Canada also has many other resources for more experienced orienteers):

Click to access YesMagazine_Orienteering.pdf

Interactive fun with contours

Graham Relf has made a fun program to play with contours. You simply click the link and start clicking on the screen to create shapes. You then click on ‘Go to Scene’ and view what you have created. You can add to contours and drag them to change their shapes. The program runs entirely within the browser window. It can be useful for demonstrating how contours work.


It is easiest to start clicking to create contours near the centre of the screen. The red circle with an arrow on it shows the direction of view in Scene mode.

Other orienteering games

See the Games section for links to other orienteering games. The Forest also by Graham Relf can be played in a beginner mode or explorer mode to discover how maps and terrain interact.

Several of the games are free to use and easy to interact with. Route Choice game gives the essence of route choice for Sprint Orienteering.

Baggy Maps (free) really makes you think about what you are reading on a map and how it joins up.

Ski-O Map Memory orienteering game is like a maze challenge.

Free downloads across the skill levels of Better Orienteering

The free downloads and other videos throughout Better Orienteering, will be helpful as secondary school pupils progress if they try orienteering races and begin to develop their navigation beyond a school introduction. They are not all reproduced in this section, please do browse across Better Orienteering. The Better Orienteering Summary free download will help you find material you need.

British Schools Orienteering Association

The British Schools Orienteering Association has a range of helpful resources

As of 2019 they have 3 free downloads:

  • Teaching orienteering in schools
  • Tri-O Orienteering made easy
  • Orienteering lesson plans


Teaching orienteering well

No previous experience? Some of the resources linked to in this section say they can be used even if you have no previous experience of orienteering. However, if you want to teach orienteering in schools, the most valuable thing you can do is to have a go at orienteering yourself. See the section New to Orienteering – Where Can I Try Orienteering? I suggest you work through the Beginner section of this website, then go and try orienteering.

No-one would expect to teach someone else to play the piano if they can’t play it themselves. Its the same with map reading and orienteering, they are skills that must be learnt by doing.

Many top level orienteers in the UK first encountered orienteering through teachers who got them excited about a challenging sport. However, far too many people I have encountered say they have “done orienteering” on a poor out of date map, with controls hung in the wrong places that don’t match the map and it put them off ever trying it again.

If you are reading this I assume you want to teach orienteering well and would be delighted if some of your pupils take up a hobby that can bring them enjoyment and appreciation of the natural environment whilst keeping them fit. So, if you have suggestions for resources and ideas that have helped you teach orienteering well, please do share them (see Contact page) and they can be added to Better Orienteering.

Many national orienteering associations run training for teachers and coaches and have resources ready to use in school.

British Orienteering

British Orienteering Ozone challenge sheets


There a series of 6 Challenge sheets aimed at juiiors:

British Orienteering has a range of resources:

British Orienteering also runs training courses for teachers

British Orienteering STEP SYSTEM

British Orienteering have systematically mapped skills progression and development against age groups in a helpful grid. You will need quite a bit of direct orienteering experience to use this and other coaching materials, but it may be useful if you have the experience and some pupils are progressing confidently beyond being beginners.

Step system

see also the Coaching Support pages


Many other national associations have extensive coaching materials. Materials for Coaching are not the focus of Better Orienteering which is aimed at self-help learning of orienteering. However, Orienteering Canada coaching resources are also worth checking out.

Northern Ireland Orienteering Association Skill levels for juniors

N I Orienteering have produced a very helpful summary of how juniors may progress through skill levels.


The document summarising the skill levels is at the bottom of the web page.

Other helpful books and guides for teachers

Goran Andersson (2017) Cool, Awesome and Educational, Orienteering in simple English

This is an adult’s version of Goran’s guide to orienteering.

Includes a range of excellent exercises and activities that are ready to use and a thorough explanation of basic orienteering and map reading

read for free at Issuu.com (see link below)

Printed copies available from bmlprint.co.uk,

Francis Stone (2019) Schools orienteering – How to develop orienteering activities in primary and secondary schools,

available at British Schools Orienteering Association website

Carol McNeill and Tom Renfrew (2003) ‘Start orienteering‘, available at Harveymaps

A series of 4 guides for different age groups to assist introducing and teaching orienteering.

Orienteering Associations around the world have produced resources to teach orienteering. Links to some associations are under the Useful websites on orienteering and other resources page

This fun article linked from Orienteering Canada’s website may be helpful

Click to access YesMagazine_Orienteering.pdf