Inspire Me! City Nature
Trying to improve children’s knowledge and awareness of the natural world can be tricky when surrounded by the built-up areas and industrialisation of the city
but where there’s a will…
Miss Portmarsh noted how her children rarely visited areas with much wildlife or general nature on show. A trip to a steam train museum in the Shropshire countryside was a far cry from the bustle of her city school. The children were stunned and enthralled by the steam trains – obviously but the real awe and wonder came during the lunch break when they picnicked outside, and the children noted how noisy the countryside was – not with cars, traffic and aeroplanes overhead but with birdsong and sheep!
Determined to bring the natural world back to her school, and after discussion with other staff, a range of what to look for signs were installed on the playground together with bird and wildflowers identification panels. These led quickly to the children insisting on getting some wildflowers on the playground so various containers were planted up which in turn saw a range of insects visiting and birds other than pigeons!
“Capturing the children’s enthusiasm and recreating a countryside space on our playground has reaped all sorts of benefits including some very unexpected ones. The children love studying the information on the panels and looking at the photographs. Setting descriptions of the countryside, gardens and parks are full of wonderful detail.
Children pester their parents regularly asking them to take them out to the countryside and take photos to show me too even of weeds at the side of the pavement! We have also found this natural world corner of our playground has become the chosen space some children ask to go for both reward time and when they need a little time-out after an upset or general anxiety issue.”
It's our little piece of tranquillity amidst the hurly burly of the city life.