School to become wildlife haven for bees
Monday, 5 October 2015 Article from the
Midsomer Norton Journal
Longvernal pupils will be instrumental
in creating a wildflower haven for bees
Longvernal Primary School, in Midsomer
Norton, has become one of just 200 sites across the UK
chosen to become a wildlife haven for bees. The school joins
the Bee World campaign launched by Friends of the Earth to
highlight the plight of bees in the UK and provide a
wildflower haven for them to feed, safe from pesticides.
The school, which provides a Forest
School themed education for its children, is going to create
a 30 sq metre space in a corner of their school field and
transform it into a glorious wildflower area of long-lasting
and beautiful flowers, providing vital food for threatened
local pollinating insects.
“The children will be preparing the site
over the winter and will then plant the new wildflower
meadow in early spring next year,” explained Headteacher,
Kerrie Courtier. “Each year, the area will be managed by the
children to ensure it maximises its attraction to local
Kerrie pointed out that, “The plight of
the humble bee has shot up the political agenda in recent
months, and the Government has agreed to introduce a
National Pollinator Strategy. Our children are very excited
about the opportunities to care and observe the bees in the
Forest School Governor at Longvernal,
Emma Jones, was key in gaining the haven for the school.
“It’s really important that we make more spaces available
like this in our communities for bees and other pollinators
to feed and flourish,” she explained.
In the past sixty years, a devastating
97% of wildflower-rich meadows have been lost. As part of
Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause campaign, over 100
bee-friendly patches have already been created in towns and
rural areas across the UK.
Woods trip: 1st June-12th June 2015
The children at
Longvernal were fortunate enough to have no less than ten
days in this magical woodland near Bath. Rainbow Woods in
managed by the National Trust and is truly a unique ancient
Every child in the school
had two days to explore, discover, create, perform and
experiment within the woods and they excelled themselves.
What was most noticeable was the confidence and ease with
which they navigated their way through this large area,
creating their own Forest School activities.
The key theme for the
visit was ‘tribes’, with the children creating their own
tribal face paints and designing their tribal flags.
throughout the ten days, with children experimenting with
different natural paints and different places to decorate!
Once tribes were
established, they then had the challenge of creating a
waterproof shelter big enough for them all to fit in
comfortably using only the natural materials surrounding us.
We were all astounded at the level of commitment and
resilience during this task, with even the youngest children
dragging large tree limbs through the woods.
Everyone had plenty of
free time in which to create their own experience, with some
choosing physical activities such as climbing, abseiling,
balancing and building slides and see saws...
...whilst others took
part in nature hunts, woodland arts, weaving, whittling or
even performing woodland plays and songs written on site.
Some just wanted to take
some time to try some new tastes from the woodland, under
adult supervision. Here we see two girls trying the wild
No Forest School trip
would be complete without a campfire and marshmallows to
toast. The children were responsible for sourcing
appropriate firewood, building and lighting the fire and
putting it out safely afterwards. They are all experienced
at these tasks and it really showed during these trips. Well
have been overwhelmed by how well our whole school Forest
School programme has been received so far this academic year.
children have adapted incredibly well to learning outside
the classroom in all weather conditions and have established
their own Forest School rules for keeping themselves safe
and protecting their natural environment.
All year groups have excelled in their
natural observational sessions, collecting natural resources
for woodland artwork... and listened well to the safety
instructions when climbing trees.
The younger children have been thinking
about birds as the weather becomes colder and preparing
nests and meals for them and in some instances even obstacle
All year groups have had the opportunity
to use tools such as bow saws and palm drills to make
woodland medallions, and potato peelers for whittling their
bows and arrows.
Following the children's own interests we
have created woodland obstacle courses to challenge them
physically, added swings and other natural play equipment
and have built many types of dens for roleplay and for
shelter from the rain. The children have faced social and
mental challenges with numerous problem-solving tasks and
trust exercises which have found them working successfully
alongside their classmates.
Longvernal Primary also saw the
development of our ongoing partnership with the RHS. The
Children from Chestnut and Oak classes have been preparing
soil and learning to be 'cool with tools' and finding
friends along the way.
Our weekly after school gardening club
has been busy harvesting crops, collecting seeds for next
year, weeding and planting hanging baskets and pots.
Forest School could not have had a better
Overview of Outdoor Learning
Longvernal has wonderful
outdoor spaces, both around the school and within our local
community and we use these to the full. In 2010 we planted a
new woodland area to increase the scope of the outdoor class
experience and are continually developing the areas to give
new opportunities for outdoor learning.
A Forest School provides a higher than
usual adult to child ratio and works on the premise of
positive relationships and tasks that build self-esteem and
School offers learning across a range of levels. Within our
excellent Early Years provision each week children enjoy
Forest Fridays when they work outdoors allowing truly first
hand experiences and child-initiated learning. Part of our
uniform is special wet weather gear so that children are
able to explore safely.
the school all class teachers plan to include valuable
outdoors experiences linked to the National Curriculum
expectations but also to interest and enthuse the children.
For the youngest children we use the on-site Early Years
space which has pebble mosaics, climbing logs and a pirate
ship created from natural materials.
At playtimes children use the Playpod
resources to create their own structures and dens using
recycled materials similar to the opportunities offered by
the kindergarten in Denmark.
children learn how to safely build fires and dens both on
site where we have copse and fire pit plus at the Silver
Street nature reserve. They also use tools appropriate to
their age and learn about the natural environment and how to
look after it. The whole school community gets involved with
Forest learning such as the 'wellie walk' planned for Easter