Devon Wildlife Trust – Partnership in Action

27 January 2022 |

We are well underway with our 3 year partnership with Devon Wildlife Trust. In our journey towards ‘Natural Literacy’, Devon Wildlife Trust are working alongside outdoor learning leads and school leadership in each of our Trust primary schools. The aim is to further strengthen our outdoor learning provision as well as co-create new ideas to enhance children’s understanding of their place in the natural world. Wildlife Champions are in action at every school in our Primary hubs, championing pupil voice and caring collectively for our local environment. Our Wildlife Champions have been thinking about how they can better connect with their social and environmental world. Grounds mapping, the importance of trees to humans and wildlife, identifying birds, insects and invertebrates are all areas of learning this term so far!

At Chagford, a successful tree planting day in the school grounds this month was extremely rewarding for adults and children alike – every child in the school planted a tree to form a new hedgerow. Principal, Ed Finch noted “Our young people enjoyed working with DWT very much. The sessions prompted great thinking.” KS1 pupils this term will be engaging in ‘Winston the Woodlouse’ inspired learning, based around developing scientific enquiry, skills and knowledge, linking to the Science curriculum as well as encouraging curious minds.

In Highampton and Exbourne Church of England Primaries, work is underway in grounds development and developing natural literacy. Although limited for green space at Exbourne, the children have come up with some wonderful ideas on how to bring wildlife into the school playground, through vertical gardening, building bug hotels and taking ownership of planters and a pond!

Last term’s work at OPS on wellbeing was valuable and rewarding – Emily stated ‘Towards the end of the sessions, children were more willing to take risks, work with new children and reflect deeper on their understanding of Natural Literacy.’ Positive feedback on the increased sense of wellbeing following DWT sessions at OPS illustrates how learning in and about our outdoor spaces is so valuable for positive thinking and how we perceive ourselves as learners.
Research suggests that outdoor learning experiences enhance many areas of development, including personal and social communication skills as well as increased physical, spiritual and mental health. We look forward to seeing our children’s resilience grow through this AWE and WONDER inspiring work with DWT.

​By Deirdre Petersen,Trust lead, Learning Outside the Classroom