A group of 3 and 4 year olds from Humberstone Day Nursery in Leicester recently took part in 6 Forest School sessions, as part of Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust’s Wild Forest School project, funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Martha Rose, Education Officer and co-ordinator of the project, was very pleased to see what a positive impact the sessions had on both nursery staff and the children – inspiring them to embrace outdoor activities and get in touch with their wild side!
The weekly sessions took place in the wooded area of a local park, where the children experienced a range of different activities, including mud-painting, minibeast hunting, bird watching, woodland games and obstacle courses.
Nursery Manager, Sandy Foster said: “It’s lovely to see the children in a natural environment, wearing their wellies and just being free to enjoy themselves. They always get so excited about the sessions and look forward to telling their friends and parents about everything they’ve done. We’ve learnt a lot over the past few weeks and picked up on some really inventive ideas. We’re looking forward to continuing with our own sessions in summer.”
At the end of each session the children were given the opportunity to tell the group what they enjoyed most. “I liked playing on the log stepping stones and jumping off,” said Olivia. “The blindfold walk was really fun, I like being adventurous,” said Tayvian. Tia added: “Exploring and playing outside with my friends is my favourite thing.” The project has been a hit with staff, parents and children alike. Prima Fabien is one of the parents who attended the sessions: “It’s a great opportunity for the future generation to get active, go wild and appreciate what we have.”
Lucy Cayless’s daughter, Arheiya, was also among the children who took part: “Every Tuesday Arheiya knows its Forest School day and she gets so excited. The sessions are such a good idea, the children love getting messy, exploring and having fun. Arheiya often comes back with a memory from the session and can’t wait to tell me what she’s been doing.”
The Forest School experience has left a lasting legacy at the nursery. Rachel Ibbotson, who led the Forest School sessions, happily reports: “Staff have created new areas in the nursery garden including extending their mud kitchen, making a construction digging area with old tyres and a wooden den. They were also inspired to do The Wildlife Trusts 30 Days Wild challenge in June.”
Forest School sessions are just one part of Wild Forest School – the project aims to give children in Leicester the opportunity to explore and experience the natural world through a range of wild activities, including: creating wildlife areas in school grounds, running Wild Tots preschool groups and providing school holiday Wild Play sessions.