When Warwickshire Wildlife Trust turns up at a school to run a nature club, the children can barely get their wellies on quick enough!
Thanks to a £66,000 grant from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the Trust’s education team has been busy running weekly sessions across nine primary schools, where creative fun and games have seen pupils discovering bats, bees and brilliant birds, and being nutty about nature! It’s been hugely rewarding to see the sessions in action – and best of all they are delivered just a stone’s throw from the children’s classrooms, enabling them to discover the wonders of the natural world to be found on their doorstep, even in the most urban of locations, and giving them new ideas about how to play outdoors.
Many of the schools do not have their own ‘forest school’ areas and so the team is working in whatever school environment the children use; it might be a tree-lined playing field or the grassy edges of the playground. Whatever the location, or the weather, the children are loving the chance to get out and explore.
We’ve so far counted more than 1,225 wildlife interactions with children since the project started and run in excess of 64 sessions. While the figures speak for themselves in terms of engagement, it is the anecdotal feedback which is particularly striking: the girl who doesn’t usually enjoy playing outside, inspired to get muddy to make a fairy house; the reserved six-year-old growing in confidence with the freedom of being outdoors; the children finding new social skills and friendships as they work together.
Bobbie Pidgeon from St Anne’s Catholic Primary School in Coventry, whose Year 1 pupils have a Nature Club, says: “They’re finding things in the school grounds they wouldn’t normally be looking for and there’s a lot of sharing and teamwork and problem solving.”
As with all of our People’s Postcode Lottery-funded nature clubs, the children’s enthusiasm sees them chatting about their outdoor experiences throughout the week in between sessions – and no-one ever forgets their wellies!
Tots to Teens
Free Nature Tots sessions are also being funded by our grant from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, for families from Coventry, Nuneaton and Bedworth.
The children have loved making mini-dens for furry forest friends and magic wands, finding nature’s patterns or simply discovering the joys of mud. For one toddler it was a memorable experience to examine some bark at eye level and then slowly look up… and up… it’s a magnificently long way to the top of an ancient tree when you’re only two!
Nature Tots sessions take place every Wednesday from 10.30am to 11.30am at Limbrick Woods, opposite the shops on Jardine Crescent, and at the trust’s Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve on Thursdays from 1.30pm to 3pm.
If you have a pre-school nature lover in your family, why not bring them along for some fresh air and fun? All the details can be found in our What’s On.
The coming months will also see funded school holiday activities, and we’re planning an exciting two-week ‘Call of the Wild’ bush craft programme in summer aimed at 11 to 17-year-olds. Look out on our website for details or catch up with all the latest news on Facebook or Twitter.
Paula Irish, Communications Officer