Seeds of imagination planted with Forest Schools funding
Inner city children’s lives are set to be transformed as three projects which offer regular access to nature are given the go-ahead - thanks to a funding boost from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Children in Birmingham, Leicester and Manchester - some of whom have never had the chance to explore outdoor space – will experience the natural world through a range of activities in a safe environment. The £300,000 funding will pay for the provision of Forest School activities which provide fun, engaging opportunities to develop child and parent confidence and enjoyment, while spending time outside in nature.
I can't think of many better ways to change the future than by helping children see all the fun to be had in natureVice President of The Wildlife Trusts
Nick Baker, Vice President of The Wildlife Trusts, said:
"The Wildlife Trusts are all about inspiring people, young and old alike, to engage and form personal connections with nature. However, there is always more we can do and thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery we are now able to reach more young people in some of our largest urban areas through our Forest Schools programme. I can't think of many better ways to change the future than by helping children see all the fun to be had in nature and, at the same time, gain valuable experiences and skills as well as a greater understanding and appreciation of the real and natural world."
Society is starting to realise the risks that this separation from our natural environment poses to our children’s health and happinessChief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts
Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said:
“Children in 2015 are spending half as much time outdoors as they were a generation ago and can not be unrelated that one in ten children suffer from depression. Society is starting to realise the risks that this separation from our natural environment poses to our children’s health and happiness. We are delighted to have this wonderful support from players of Peoples Postcode Lottery in helping thousands of children reconnect with nature through Forest Schools. This will boost the self development and self reliance of these children. It is our goal for every child to have access to nature every day.”
Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said:
“We are delighted that players of People’s Postcode Lottery are supporting these innovative and exciting projects. This funding will help to reveal the wonders of the natural environment to young children, some of whom may never have had an opportunity to discover and explore nature on their doorstep.”
Developed from the Scandinavian model of learning through play outdoors, Forest Schools provide of a programme of visits over a number of weeks. These give children a chance to build relationships with the environment, their leaders and classmates and have ongoing opportunities to get to know wildlife. The leaders are trained to watch the children closely, appreciate different learning styles and personalities, and provide the right support for the individuals they care for.
The projects to benefit are:
The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country (WTBBC)
At EcoPark, WTBBC’s education centre based in Small Heath which is an inner city area of Birmingham, there are at least 5,000 children visits each year. With more than 80 primary schools within two miles of EcoPark, WTBBC aims to provide all primary school age children with an outdoor education experience and for all parents to feel confident taking their children to play in the natural environment. Find out more about WTBBC's Forest Schools here.
Lancashire Wildlife Trust
Manchester will be the focus for Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Forest Schools activity, where four sustainable forest schools will be established. Lancashire Wildlife Trust has been developing forest schools the past seven years, most recently at Brockholes, in Preston, where five schools and 100 children attend each week.
A forest school officer will be placed in four schools for one day a week throughout term time, running morning and afternoon forest school sessions on a six week rotational system. Children will go out onto a local nature reserve to learn more about the nature around them and will be joined by three members of staff. This will mean that staff members will become trained and knowledgeable in the subjects, enabling them to continue the programme in the future. The two schools Lancashire Wildlife Trust has approached are within walking distance of the reserves and close to Manchester city centre. Find out more about Lancashire Wildlife Trust's Forest Schools here.
This funding will help to reveal the wonders of the natural environment to young children, some of whom may never have had an opportunity to discover and explore nature on their doorstepHead of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery
Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust
Children and young people in Leicester will have the opportunity to explore, learn about and discover nature at their own pace through forest school activities, developing their confidence and self-esteem in a safe and supportive outdoor space. Two new pre-school groups will be established with one meeting weekly and the other monthly during term times for 2-5 year olds. Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust will work with 10 primary schools to deliver a programme of sessions for children aged 5-11 years old and outdoor sessions will be provided for two home educated groups. T he project will work closely with three carefully selected schools to create a new Forest School / wildlife area in their grounds, for Forest School sessions and other activities to engage pupils with nature. Find out more about L&RWT's Forest Schools here.