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Forest School Celebration!

Posted: Tuesday 8th August 2017 by TheWildlifeTrustsBlogger

Before school finished for the summer holidays, we got to visit Warwickshire Wildlife Trust at their Brandon Marsh nature reserve in Coventry for a Forest School celebration!

It has reached the end of the school year and many Forest School sessions are ending for the summer holidays. To celebrate this, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust held a special event with seven local schools. Thanks to players of People's Postcode Lottery, the Trust runs funded Nature Club sessions with these schools, usually on their school grounds, often simply in whatever green areas their playground has. I was lucky enough to be able to head down to the Brandon Marsh nature reserve in Coventry to see them explore a much wider range of habitats, wildlife and outdoor fun!

Although the weather could have been better, the day was excellent. Waking up to pouring rain didn’t deter any of the schools: they all turned up ready to go in their wellies and waterproofs! The day was made up of four activities, den building, minibeast hunting, pond dipping and bird watching, and the children all had a blast! Education officer Naomi Bridges said: “At the celebration event the children were speechless from the moment they arrived right up until the end. Hardly any of them really venture out of Coventry city centre, let alone come to a nature reserve. They said they’d had one of the best days ever. One of the children hadn’t spoken a word to me over the whole project because he was so shy, but during the day you couldn’t take the smile off his face. He even answered a question in front of all the other children.”

 

The children were treated to a free lunch and enjoyed a well-deserved rest before carrying on the afternoon and exploring the site. The sun managed to make an appearance in time for the afternoon activities and more exploration!  

In a previous visit to Warwickshire Wildlife Trust I took part in one of the school sessions. Some of the children feared the insects and a lot even managed to scream at a snail! Watching them only weeks later, you can see the difference in their behaviour towards nature! The self-confidence they have built up through the sessions is great to see.  Carl Thornton, Head Teacher of St Paul’s CofE Primary in Nuneaton, said: “The children have really embraced the day, boys and girls, and enjoyed the wildlife and the minibeasts. They were particularly excited to come here today and they’re using a lot of the skills they picked up from Nature Club.”

Most of the children live in the inner city, or very urban areas, and come from a variety of backgrounds. All this serves to bring home the importance of outdoor learning in helping our next generation to understand and care for our natural environment. It’s also vital in giving the children new skills and to grow their confidence.

Each child got to take home their very own goodie bag at the end of the day, to help them to continue engaging with wildlife at home! It was such a great day to celebrate all the great work happening at Forest Schools around the country, let’s keep kids outdoors and learning!

Photos courtesy of Paula Irish. 

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