Children at St Peter’s Cross Keys Church of England Academy have been using their school’s outdoor spaces as a learning tool with the help of some visitors this week.
The Farndon based school has a wealth of outside space it has been developing as a means to help children to study, including wildlife areas, a pond, greenhouse and gardens, as well as a Forest area. The latest development in their plans was to manage the school’s willow holt so that the harvested stems could be used for weaving and crafts, whilst maintaining the health of the wood.
Lynn Victor of Nottingham Wildlife Trust visited the school to lend a hand. “We have been doing craft activities focused around trees and especially the willow holt which was planted in 2012. We are here along with the Greenwood Community Forest Partnership and DEFRA to help maintain, manage and harvest the area which is growing so well.”
Nic Wort of the Greenwood Community Forest Partnership and colleague Gill Grievson also joined in the activities. Nic said, “We have cut the willow trees so they can grow strong again and provide good straight stems for use in weaving and crafts at the school.” Nick carried out some tree pollarding and coppicing to maintain the area. “We have thinned out the holt and left a glade area which will create an outdoor classroom for the children’s Forest School.” Gill Grievson said the schools outdoor space was a great advantage and she helped pupils to identify trees from their leaves and twigs. “We are making wreathes to hang in the trees as part of National Tree Week which we have been talking about to children. We are also making clay bugs to put in the tress and bunting to decorate them as part of the tree dressing, in recognition of the shelter, food and beauty that trees provide to us.”
Pupil Billie Pendle said that he liked the outdoors. “The willow is good for weaving things out of and I think it’s nice to have such a big field to play in.” Billie said there were lots of birds in the area. “I think our topic next year might be about animals and nature, so I think this area will be really good to use as an outdoor learning centre!”