Essex Wildlife Trust are thrilled to be taking part in the Nature Friendly Schools Project. It aligns so completely with everything that we love to do: getting children to spend as much time as possible outside learning and playing as well as giving school staff the confidence to be able to lead outdoor activities of all types.
We have five education officers working across the county with a variety of schools learning about what they need and how we can best help them to achieve their outdoor learning goals. Here is just one example of why we love our jobs, from Emma, based on her experience with one of her Nature Friendly Schools before COVID-19 struck.
On a very wet day in early March, the whole school got involved in building a new willow dome outdoor classroom, as part of their greening the school grounds. The younger children had the drier weather which helped with weaving the willow and in planting the longer stems as far into the ground as they could. Thankfully the ground was extremely soft - we can always find positives when outside – even in the rain! The older children didn't last quite so long outside - by the time they came out it was torrential rain. We were all soaked through but laughing at the hilarious situation. Despite the rain, everyone had great fun.
The first lockdown allowed the dome to go WILD so that pupils will get plenty of willow for marshmallow sticks and bows and arrows. By the time I visited again in July I couldn’t believe how much it had grown. We are so glad to have been back working with schools since September. As we face another lockdown, the pupils at this particular school now have a new area for small group work outside of their classrooms.