By developing teachers’ confidence and ability to drive forward outdoor learning in schools, Nature Friendly Schools is giving thousands of children from some of the most disadvantaged areas in England the opportunity to get closer to nature benefitting their learning, health and wellbeing, and care and concern for the environment. It is fuelling creativity and a sense of adventure, allowing children to experience the joy that nature can bring.
Pupils are benefitting from at least two hours spent outdoors every week, experiencing wildlife on their doorstep and further afield in new landscapes. School grounds are being made greener and wilder as outdoor classrooms are created alongside wildflower meadows and allotment areas.
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 was 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.
Since 2019 Nature Friendly Schools has worked with 184 schools, giving more than 46,000 pupils opportunities to learn and play in nature as part of their education recovery following Covid19.
An Exciting Partnership
The project is working 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.
Craig Bennett, CEO of The Wildlife Trusts
"In spite of its proven success, the Nature Friendly Schools project is not guaranteed past March 2022. We believe the need for it has never been greater and it is vital it continues so we can give more children opportunities to learn, play and get creative in wild, green spaces."