Arts Council England funding in 2012-13 enabled sixteen grants to be awarded to organisations through the Marches Network the money has already been put to good use by one of our Green Museums, Compton Verney.
Compton Verney in Warwickshire has trialled Forest Schools in its extensive grounds. A series of themes were developed: Super Shelters, Terrific Trees and Brilliant Bugs all of which are on the Science and Geography Curriculum.
With funding from the West Midlands Museum Development Grant, the three brand new Forest School programmes have been developed and run by qualified Forest School leaders. They offer students the chance to explore the grounds at Compton Verney and learn all about the great outdoors.
Over the summer, students who took part in the Brilliant Bugs project discovered the large variety of mini beasts in the Compton Verney grounds. Through a range of activities led by the Forest School Leader they discovered all about the fascinating lives of mini beasts, learning where they live, what they eat, how they behave and how they survive.
Students on the Super Shelters project explored shelters and habitats and discovered how a shelter is designed for survival. They learned how and why different animals build their homes and designed and built their own shelters in the Compton Verney woodland.
Finally, the students that signed up for the Terrific Trees project got to look at the large variety of trees in the Compton Verney grounds. They learned how to measure and identify trees and gain an understanding of what trees can tell us about the seasons and the environment.
All three projects were very well received by the students. One of the youngsters that took part said he “loved the snails, fire, toasting marshmallows, worms, digging and just being able to explore outdoors!”
Compton Verney volunteers worked on all elements of the preparation for this project as part of the Compton Verney active volunteer programme.
Glynis Powell, MDO for Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull, said:
“I am so happy that these activities were able to happen. Not only did the money go towards these activity days, but teachers’ packs were prepared and put online in time for the school visits.
“Compton Verney responded to the demand from visitors for more educational projects to take place in their grounds and the Forest School project was born.”
One of the things to come out of the three events, however, is that families with young children have expressed an interest for mid-week, out-of-holiday activities related to Forest School. Compton Verney has said that they will carry out more research to see if this can be accommodated in the future.