As we launch our action in response to changes to the school curriculum – which we fear could threaten opportunities for school trips and outdoor learning in England – we welcome a special guest blog from our Head of People Engagement, Graham Blight, who has spent 10 years at the Trust working with schools and communities around the importance of nature in education for children and young people. Over to you, Graham…
“Year 1 of our local primary school spend part of their lessons outside today. Each Tuesday, whatever the weather, the class of 5 and 6 years olds enjoy learning in the energising environment of a local wood. What better way to build an understanding of the environment than through first-hand exploration at an early age?
They learn not just to care for the world in which they live but put into practice their literacy and numeracy skills through a range of practical and fun tasks – the secret is, they don’t know they’re learning. Children also develop their listening skills, collaborative working, problem solving and social skills and, because of this, the class as a whole benefits. Now, not every primary school has access to a local wood, park or green space so the school trip is a valuable way to connect children with nature.
I can see in my nearly 6 year-old son how important these early, formative years will be for helping shape his thoughts, ideas, values and behaviours. Joining one of these lessons as a parent helper, I was struck by the sheer joy as the group of 28 curious minds discovered magic in the mundane – their world is full of possibility. At the end of the session the children walk back to school discussing their woodland adventures with their walking partner. As every parent knows it’s difficult getting to know what your child did at school that day but after school on Tuesdays we get to hear it all.
Every child should have this opportunity, whether close to home or a trip away. While the current curriculum supports teachers in developing young minds to care and protect the environment, proposed changes could undermine all that. As a parent I encourage people to voice their concerns. Be quick, the consultation ends 16th April.”
We believe that learning about caring for nature from an early age is an essential part of every child’s education, and that memorable days out on school trips enrich young lives. Help us make sure that children can learn about caring for nature from an early age, and can get outside to experience nature first hand as part of the school curriculum. We’ll be blogging on this topic again tomorrow and Thursday this week.