Schools receive year-long place on the Forest School Project

Our Forest School project is back and raring to go, bringing nature and its benefits into urban children and teachers’ everyday lives, thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

At the end of 2018 we asked interested schools to apply to join our Forest School Project in Liverpool. With lots of fantastic applications, we were thrilled to see so much enthusiasm for Forest School across the city, even if it did make it difficult to choose a winner. After a really difficult decision, we are happy to announce our successful applicants are Garston C of E Primary School in Garston and Bedford Primary School in Bootle.

Both schools were awarded their places on the project in January, when their pupils were invited to meet Liverpool’s Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, at the launch of the Liverpool City Region’s Year of the Environment 2019 (YEO19). The aim of a number of organisations involved in the YEO19, including The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside, is to leave a better environment for the next generation to inherit and make our area one of the best places in the country to live, work and flourish.

As part of their involvement in the project, Bedford and Garston Primary will each receive free weekly Forest School sessions with a dedicated Project Officer until December 2019, have an outdoor classroom installed in their school grounds and receive three free places on a Forest School Leadership course for their staff. This generous offer is possible thanks to the amazing support the Forest School project receives from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

YEO19 School winners

Pupils from Bedford Primary in Bootle with Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram.

Forest School aims to help participants develop in all aspects of their being through hands-on, play-based learning in a natural setting. Through small, achievable tasks and engaging activities such as climbing trees, building dens, mud painting and outdoor cooking, children grow in confidence, build resilience and learn new skills, which benefits them in wider life.

“The children love being outside and taking part in games and activities – their creative sides come out and they become increasingly independent and curious as the weeks go on,” said Forest School Project Officer Molly Toal. “Often, we hear that Forest School is helping children back in the classroom too. Teachers will comment that it’s enhanced a group’s understanding in a Science lesson, or inspired their creative writing in English. Plus, there’s a lot of pressure on children to perform well in exams and assessments, so Forest School gives them a chance to let off steam, get moving and get some fresh air in nature."

“It’s not just the children who benefit too – many teachers who embark on the training say that it reignites their own childhood love for wildlife and the outdoors.”

This year, which marks the 5th year of the project, five lucky inner-city schools are benefiting from year-long involvement: Bedford Primary and Garston Primary in Liverpool, St Mary's Primary and St Charles Primary in Manchester, and The Friars Primary in Salford.

Forest School Senior Project Officer, Katie Dearden, said, “We had a great time on the project in 2018 – the staff in all the schools adopted the Forest School ethos, whether they were training as leaders or not, and everyone put a lot of hard work in. Our new schools are equally as enthusiastic as the 2018 group and we are really excited to be bringing the benefits of Forest School to a whole new cohort of children and teaching staff.”

To find out more about our Forest School project in Liverpool visit: https://www.lancswt.org.uk/forest-schools-liverpool. To find out about our sister project in Manchester, visit: https://www.lancswt.org.uk/forest-schools-manchester. For more information about the YEO19, visit their website: http://yoe2019lcr.org.uk/index.php/contact-us/.

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