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Home » News » April 2016 » Cherwell children find their wild side with forest school fun

Cherwell children find their wild side with forest school fun

29 April 2016
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Children across Cherwell are getting in touch with their wild side as a new series of forest school activities begins for local pupils.

Sanctuary Housing is working with the Warriner School Farm for the second year to run an initiative introducing pupils from the Warriner Partnership of schools to nature and adventurous play.

The farm’s leader Bev James is visiting pupils at each school, showing and inspiring them, and their teachers, how to make the best use of their outdoor space.

The children will be getting their hands dirty taking part in a range of exciting activities including den-building, campfire cooking, knot tying, learning to use bushcraft tools safely, making mud kitchens and wildlife identification.

Taking place every week throughout the school year, the project is providing alternative education for children, whatever the weather. Pupils are being encouraged to respond to nature creatively, building on their team working skills and developing a sense of environmental and health awareness.

Kate Winstanley, Sanctuary’s neighbourhood partnerships manager, said: “We are delighted that we’ve been able to provide a second year of funding to this fantastic community-led project, which has already benefited many young people in the area.

“Not only does it encourage children to learn more about the outdoors but it requires them to utilise team working and problem solving which will be essential life skills for them in the future.”

Bev James, forest school leader at the Warriner School Farm, added: “Few children nowadays get the opportunity to play outdoors in the way that we did thirty or forty years ago. Parents have become very risk-averse, which means that important developmental experiences during childhood are missed out on.

“Forest School gives youngsters the chance to step outside of their comfort zones and discover new (sometimes surprising) capabilities and talents, whilst learning to risk-assess for themselves. They gain in self-esteem, learn valuable practical skills, and develop social skills whilst problem-solving with their peers. It empowers them and introduces them to the fact that playing outdoors is a lot more fun than they had realised.”

The Warriner Partnership of schools consists of nine local primary schools that make up the catchment area in the Bloxham area, as well as the Warriner Secondary School. Warriner School Farm is a 120-acre organic farm, purpose built as part of The Warriner School.

This project was funded by Sanctuary’s Community Investment Fund, supporting projects which benefit Sanctuary residents and their communities.