Environmental Change-Makers at Lympstone School.
I spent an inspiring morning with teachers, helpers and children from Lympstone School, learning about how nature-based learning and action is integrated into school life.
Lympstone School is clearly passionate about its children. It’s also passionate about the natural environment. Connecting the two brings many benefits such as fostering attitudes of care for nature and a natural boost to health and wellbeing.
‘Nature School’ has run for many years, drawing on the principles and training of forest school. Outdoor, nature-inspired lessons are run in the school grounds and sometimes further afield, when ‘Nature School’ morphs into ‘Beach’ or ‘Estuary Foreshore School’!
Change-Makers – at the heart of any change sits a positive attitude and strong sense of self. Having embedded UNICEF’s rights of a child into its ethos, the school empower the children to see themselves as ‘change-makers’ – on a mission to make the world a better place. ‘WOW week’ reinforces this message with inspirational activities and talks.
Taking action – drawing on the UN Sustainable Development goals, the school community recently voted ‘climate change’ as its priority topic. This now drives the school’s environmental change-maker mission and action in the local community, for example the Year 2 citizen science project investigating potentially harmful pollution in Wotton Brook.
Another great example is the impressive whole school tree planting effort at Yonder Oak – the Woodland Trust’s new 54 hectare site near Lympstone. I joined the children in this change-making role, helping to plant some of the 13,000 native trees that will transform this land into a thriving haven for nature and people.
The benefits of connecting children with nature were clear to see. With great enthusiasm and curiosity the children absorbed new facts and skills and took away a sense of pride, having been part of creating a new wild space that will help tackle climate change. As we left, the whole class cheered in celebration of a community, environmental change-making job well done. One little girl told me “It’s been such fun. These trees will give us oxygen and a home to animals and insects. I can’t wait to bring my dad back here and show him the trees I’ve planted”.