Nature Friendly Schools is a ground-breaking, £6.4million project funded by the Department for Education with support from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Natural England.
Over the duration of the four-year project thousands of children will be given the opportunity to get closer to nature which will benefit their learning, health and wellbeing. It will fuel creativity and a sense of adventure, allowing pupils to experience the joy that nature can bring, and help to develop teachers’ confidence to embrace and drive forward outdoor learning in their own schools.
Pupils may be given the opportunity to visit local nature reserves or parks, experience wildlife on their doorstep through the creation of new nature areas within their school grounds and benefit from an increased amount of time spent learning outdoors.
Teachers will receive training on how to link outdoor learning to the National Curriculum and how to make the most of the outdoor space available to them, whether this be on their school grounds or at a nearby green space.
A key commitment in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan is to encourage children to be close to nature to benefit their health and wellbeing. To help achieve this, £10 million of funding has been made available by the Department of Education to deliver the Children and Nature Programme, which includes three delivery projects - Nature Friendly Schools, Growing Care Farming and Community Forest Woodland Outreach. The programme aims to support children, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to have better access to natural environments.
An Exciting Partnership
The project will work with schools in some of the most disadvantaged areas of England, providing opportunities for pupils to benefit from time spent learning outside the four walls of their classroom.
Natural England’s Deputy Chairman, Lord Blencathra:
"Connecting children with nature is one of the most important things we can do for them. It can boost their health, wellbeing and learning and give them a life-long love of the natural world."