Children in Allerdale may be home schooling, but that hasn’t stopped many of them learning about nature and the environment.
When schools closed, educational visits to the nature reserves, managed by Workington Nature Partnership had to be cancelled too.
However, partnership officers have done what they can to ensure the local primary school children in Workington continue to learn about the wildlife that can be discovered at Harrington Nature Reserve and Siddick Ponds nature reserve.
Workington Nature Partnership's Nature Ranger, Susan Cammish, has created regular videos to enhance the learning in the topic ‘Stems, Stalks and Stings’ - being studied by KS1 children at Beckstone Primary School, Harrington.
The Key Stage 1 team have been uploading the film clips onto the school’s remote learning platform for parents and children to use as part of the daily virtual lessons.
Speaking on the project, Susan said: “The children love coming on our educational visits, and we really enjoy having them here. We had seven classes booked in to visit in January, however, with new restrictions this hasn’t been possible.
“But lockdown also means it’s even more important that we maintain that link with nature, as it is so important for our health and wellbeing. That’s why I wanted to do something to ensure the children didn’t miss out on the visits we had planned since October 2020.
“Each week, children are being set tasks such as writing fact files and making observational drawings, that means they go looking for features such as prickly stems, gorse, ivy, teasels and nettles, (as shown in the film clips), with their parents and families. When the time is right, they can come out with us again, and share their new found exploration skills. At the end of the day, who doesn’t like hunting for froghoppers blowing bubbles from their bottoms, bumblebees and water scorpions.”
The response from teachers and pupils has been really positive with staff from Workington’s Beckstone School saying: “Susan has created a brilliant series of informative videos as an alternative learning resource to visiting Harrington Nature Reserve. Each video was uploaded via our remote learning app for the children to watch. This class found the video series very useful and informative. The lessons also aided children of lower ability who may have struggled to approach a text or book which could provide as much information as the videos did.
“This class thoroughly enjoyed all of the videos and it encouraged many to visit the nature reserve during their family walks. It made the children very aware of their local environment and helped their parent’s subject knowledge too.”
Workington Nature Partnership is a joint initiative funded by Allerdale Borough Council and Workington Town Council. Residents can find out more about their work on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Workingtonnature and support the work of the partnership through the Allerdale and Lakeland Community Lottery at: https://www.allerdalelottery.com/support/workington-nature-partnership
Cllr Tony Markley, Allerdale Borough Council’s Executive member with responsibility for environmental services, added: “Children’s Mental Health Week has just been and so is a timely reminder to make sure every child’s health and wellbeing is looked after. I’m really proud of the work of the nature partnership officers in keeping children interested and involved in their work, in what is a challenging time for everyone.”