Since 2015, Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust has worked with nearly 1,200 children in Leicester, thanks to the support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. With the help of funding, the Trust has been able to provide children from ages 2 to 16 with the opportunity to learn about and experience nature in ways that simply weren’t possible before.
In 2017 alone, the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust has supported over 400 children, by running a series of Forest School sessions with eight primary schools in Leicester, four Wild Tots groups for pre-school children, three home-educated groups and five Wild Play Sessions. As well as this, the Trust designed and built an all-weather garden at Mellor Primary school to help encourage children to spend more time outdoors and teach them about nature. The Trust also introduced Wild About Learning; a new curriculum-linked teachers’ pack which is designed to support and encourage busy teachers to take their lessons outdoors. It consists of 2 hour numeracy and literacy lesson plans for each KS1 and KS2 year group, plus links to other packs and resources that will work in any school grounds and need minimum preparation time.
Simon Bentley, Director of Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, said: “It is incredible to think about how many children we have supported in the last three years. The skills that children gain from our sessions are invaluable, and many of them leave happier, more confident, and have an increased willingness to help others; teachers have also reported that students seem more focused in class, showing signs of academic improvement. One teacher explained how the children have benefited both emotionally and physically, with children developing advanced self-awareness, independence and even the appropriate skills to aid them in regulating emotions in a more mature manner.
“We conducted an online survey of city primary schools with the support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. This showed us that of the schools that responded, 17% only had access to concrete play areas and 92% of schools considered it “very important” for children to have the opportunity to learn outside in the school day. By giving children, families and teachers the space to work and play outdoors, with the help from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we are delighted to be able to provide them with a solution to this issue.”