Wirral Lifelong Learning Service Schools Workshops
Early in 2019, Wirral Lifelong Learning Service approached GROW-Wellbeing CIC to deliver a programme of Family Workshops in primary schools across the Wirral, recognising the value of the family woodland sessions we had been running at Tam O'Shanter Farm woodland since the summer of 2018.
The aim of the School Family Workshops was to enable participants (parents) to:
Understand the Forest School approach to learning
Be able to participate in a Forest School experience.
Understand potential hazards at Forest School
Understand how adults can support children’s play and learning in the natural environment
The Family Workshops were held at Park Primary, Somerville Nursery and St Georges Primary, all in Wallasey, and St Andrews (Bebington), Millfield (Eastham), St Pauls (Beechwood) and Bedford Drive (Prenton).
Parents were engaged well throughout the programme of Workshops, particularly enjoying spending time engaged in learning and skills based activities in the outdoors with their children, which is a rare opportunity!
Activities undertaken in the Family Workshops included learning how to take care of yourself in the natural environment, taking care of others and looking after nature. They learnt that learning how to manage the risks around the campfire, uneven ground and other obstacles was more constructive and developmentally beneficial than removing the risks.
We also learnt how to use the cow hitch and reef knots to make a wood cookie necklace/ medallion and discussed the importance, and plight of bees, who play such a significant role in food production through their pollination activities. Parents (and some grandparents) co-operated with their children to help build bee boxes to support solitary bees, learning how to use tools like junior hacksaws and palm drills safely to construct the bee houses.
Parents and children also used bug boxes and magnifiers to search for mini beasts, and nature ID charts to identify the plants and trees that were present in their school natural environment.
Naturally each workshop concluded with marshmallow toasting around the campfire!
More Family Workshops have been commissioned for autumn 2019 and 'Volunteering in Forest School' courses will commence in schools around the Wirral in early 2020.