Forest School funding helps sow the seeds of imagination for Leicester children

Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust is offering children in the city a unique opportunity to get to grips with nature, thanks to a funding boost from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The Forest School initiative allows youngsters to explore outdoor spaces and take part in a range of fun activities designed to stimulate imagination, creativity and investigation.  Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust will now be able to work with 10 Leicester schools, as well as preschool and home educated children, to run a programme of special sessions.

Aimed at children in urban areas, where chances to explore nature may be limited, the Forest School project will also help three Leicester schools to develop wildlife areas within their grounds, giving pupils a chance to create their own landscapes. 

Simon Bentley, Director of Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, said: “This project will give children and young people in Leicester the opportunity to discover, explore and learn about nature through Forest School activities, developing their confidence and self-esteem in a safe and supportive outdoor space.”

Leicester is one of three regions across the country to receive funding to extend its Forest School programme.  The initiative is being supported by Vice President of The Wildlife Trusts and TV presenter, Nick Baker, who explained what the extra resources will mean for local children.

Nick commented: "The Wildlife Trusts are all about inspiring people, young and old alike, to engage and form personal connections with nature. However, there is always more we can do and thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we are now able to reach more young people in some of our largest urban areas through our Forest Schools programme.

“I can't think of many better ways to change the future than by helping children see all the fun to be had in nature and, at the same time, gain valuable experiences and skills as well as a greater understanding and appreciation of the real and natural world."

Developed from the Scandinavian model of learning through outdoor play, the Forest School provides a programme of visits to each group over several weeks, giving children the chance to build relationships with the environment, their classmates and the course leaders. The team is trained to watch the children closely, appreciate different learning styles and personalities, and provide the right support for each individual.