Forest Schools is a project run by Bristol Hub, where students work at a primary school in East Bristol to encourage an appreciation of the outdoors and promote unique learning opportunities.
Now in it’s third year, volunteers from all disciplines regularly assist activities such as crafting, tool-use and animal-rearing to inspire and equip pupils with alternative skills. The project, which supports school children in both Key Stages 1 and 2, runs three days a week, every week, come rain or shine. Volunteers are trained and supported throughout the process.
“Without the dedicated volunteers from Bristol Hub we would not be able to do many of the activities that inspire the children such as den building, fire lighting and sawing. All of these activities have a huge impact on the children such learning how to work as a team, risk analysis, independence and knowledge of the world around them.”
Samantha Fisher, Assistant Headteacher
Alan Kennedy is a second year Geography PhD student studying Past Climate at UoB. He volunteers on the project with Michael Cooper, another PhD geographer, every Monday.
“Forest Schools is helping me understand how to communicate science to a new audience. Why it’s currently raining in Bristol, why woodlice eat wood and how the sun was formed are just a few of the questions I’ve had to answer as simply as possible in the past few weeks! It is getting me out into ‘the field’ every Monday, which is every geographer’s dream, whatever the weather.”
Alan Kennedy, Volunteer
The volunteer programme has helped free up capacity to run extra activities at the primary school, focusing on individual pupils’ interests, ensuring a fun learning environment. Another valuable benefit is the presence of students from the university to act as role models and help raise aspirations – for students, being able to offer all of these things with just a few hours out of your day can be very rewarding.
“I absolutely loved being involved with Forest Schools. It has been so great seeing the children grow and develop whilst experiencing new activities which generally aren’t accessible to primary school children.”
Ben Orrock, Volunteer
Whether you’re a budding horticulturalist after some hands-on experience or an undergraduate, this is an exciting opportunity to work with local school children and teachers to bring a touch of nature to their lives. Forest Schools are also looking for a project coordinator to take the lead on the project and help to recruit even more volunteers! Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or if you have any questions.