Changes to the curriculum in England are a worry for us, as we work so closely with children in schools. Continuing our mini blog series for this campaign, our Schools Development Manager, Karen Letten, shares her view:
“Here at the Woodland Trust, we have worked with around 22,000 schools over the last 3 years – two thirds of all schools across the UK. The activities that these schools and their pupils have experienced include tree planting and discovery events on our sites and planting trees in their own schools grounds.
Our Green Tree Schools Award scheme encourages schools to embark on a learning journey with us, travelling through Bronze, Silver and Gold while learning about woods and trees. We currently have over five and a half thousand schools registered on the award and over 650 have reached the coveted Gold level. There’s also a wealth of online resources tailored for schools to engage schools and their pupils in the wonder of woods and trees.
We passionately believe that the younger that a child experiences contact with nature such as planting a tree or walking through a woodland, the closer their connection with the environment will be as they grow into adulthood. Children need to learn about, value and understand nature so they are inspired to care for it from an early age. So we are particularly concerned to see that under current proposals, caring for the environment would disappear from the first three years of a child’s education at primary school where it currently features.
At a time when we need children to focus on the environment, the Government seem to be doing the opposite by reducing its importance in the curriculum, potentially setting up a future full of children who lack knowledge about and interest in nature. Already it is widely recognised how disconnected our children are becoming from the natural world. Surely postponing study of the environment as part of the science curriculum until ages 8-9 serves to erode the importance of the environment in children’s lives even further?
Karen Letten, Schools Development Manager
Please have your say in the consultation on changes to the curriculum – email the Department for Education before April 16th.
You can read our other posts in this topic here – we’d love to know your views.