‘Forest Schools’ proving to be a growing influence on students

Mayor Audrey Wales with pupils and teachers from one of the borough's 'Forest Schools' St John's PS.
Mayor Audrey Wales with pupils and teachers from one of the borough's 'Forest Schools' St John's PS.

A programme to encourage schools to consider their local woodlands as a medium for learning has begun to ‘take root’ in Mid and East Antrim Borough.

‘Forest Schools’ activities can be linked directly to the curriculum which allows teachers to ensure continued progress towards academic targets, while the change of venue is a great experience for both children and teachers.

The programme has recently been highlighted by the Mayor of Mid and East, Councillor Antrim Audrey Wales, who visited St John’s Primary School, Carnlough, as they set off on their own Forest School ‘adventure’.

Cllr Wales said: “Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is committed to promoting our parks and open spaces as important educational and recreational resources and Forest Schools is a great way to achieve this. The number of Forest Schools in Northern Ireland is increasing and we are proud to be at the forefront of this initiative.

All the schools in the borough had the opportunity to take part in the 2017 programme via the Forest School Awards with three schools selected to take part in the initiative.

Successful schools then choose a green space near their school in which to engage in outdoor learning.

Mayor Wales Said: “St John’s Primary School began their Forest School programme at Cranny Falls Nature Reserve, Carnlough.

“Meanwhile, Carrickfergus Central Primary School has chosen Shaftesbury Park as their site. It is a charming old Victorian park in Carrickfergus town centre with plenty of mature tree specimens and is connected to Carrickfergus Mill Ponds Nature Reserve which is home to a wide range of wildlife. Kirkinriola Primary School has chosen Ecos Nature Park as their site.”