Wychall Primary School
Published in the Sunday Mirror
Many of us are now gardening with wildlife in mind. Whether it be planting lavender for the bees or creating a bug hotel in a shady corner of the garden, we are all becoming more conscious of our minibeast friends. We all want to do our bit towards looking after our planet, but getting back to nature doesn’t only benefit the wildlife, it can also have a positive effect on us human beings.
Last year, Wychall primary School in Birmingham greened up their outdoor space and soon after started spotting some positive changes. Not only did they notice an increase in wildlife in their school garden, but also identified a transformation in their pupils too. After initially bringing more fauna in to their school grounds, many of the children found coming into contact with nature very difficult – they wouldn’t touch anything! But after some gradual exposure and plenty of opportunity to relax in their natural surroundings, things began to change.
Gabrielle Jones, Assistant Head Teacher and Forest School, explains how the great outdoors can open up children to new experiences and build their confidence: “We have seen such a huge change in their attitude towards nature, being outdoors and getting dirty! They have gone from not liking small creatures and the dirt, to genuinely loving the mud and the creative activities.”
This school found that when teachers lead by example it played a huge part in building the student’s confidence. Gabrielle continues, “It is important for staff to model engaging with nature, picking up insects and show them how to handle them sympathetically. Get your hands dirty and show them how liberating it can be.”
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