Portway Junior School, Andover
Putting children in touch with nature
The Portway Junior School in Andover has been helping nature in their school grounds for a long time. Their long list of contributions to wildlife includes feeding birds, sowing seeds, meadow planting, tree planting, creating a pond and making homes for minibeasts, bats and birds. Teacher Wendy Davis tells us all about their work and the contribution Breathing Places Schools has made:
"At Portway, we believe that taking learning outside the classroom is an essential part of a child’s education. By developing our school grounds for biodiversity, the Breathing Places project provides wonderful opportunities for this. Irrespective of the size of your grounds, we have a rich resource for hands-on teaching and learning. All children are truly motivated by working outside and being given the chance to explore nature at close quarters. It excites their curiosity and stimulates ideas and discussions. The learning that takes place outside is very ‘personal’ to the child, it is ‘memorable’ and ‘memorable experiences = memorable learning’.
"What I really like about the project is that it is so straightforward. The idea of doing ‘just one thing’ each term is easy to plan for and is not overwhelming. The work can be tailored to any age range and can be as simple or complex as time allows. It is helpful to have the resources all in one place; the links to partner websites are a great source of extension material. Overall, there is a good mix of background information and activities.
"Putting children in touch with nature creates delight and that elusive sense of ‘awe and wonder’ that we as teachers always strive for. It also creates respect for the environment and a desire to look after it, qualities which are going to be essential as they grow older.
"If we can create a generation of young people who care about the natural world and feel part of it, they will hopefully, as adults, want to do what is necessary to sustain it."