Are school ponds making a comeback?
I'm very lucky: my local school has a wonderfully rich and diverse pond that they've developed over many years, and I get to take children out there to learn, every week. This pond is in a securely (but attractively) fenced wildlife area and includes convenient storage units, a greenhouse, a fire circle and a small woodland copse. The large pond with its timber decking is the focus of the space, but the whole wildlife area is a crucial part of the school's learning beyond the classroom offer.
In recent months I've visited several schools with sadly unloved ponds, yet each school expresses lots of interest in getting their unique resource back up and thriving.
"No one will protect what they don't care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced."
Sir David Attenborough
Ponds and wildlife areas require time to keep properly maintained, yet when schools do invest in them, they provide a virtuous circle: the more you use them, the more you and your pupils will understand and appreciate their value; the more they're valued, the more time you'll spend there. If we want children to grow up to care for their environment - I'm assuming we do - then they need to care about it. School grounds are the perfect place for children to begin that process of understanding WHY they should care, and what they can actually do to effect change.
In order to help schools make the most of underused ponds and wildlife areas, we've created Beyond the Pond, a CPD programme that explores the potential of natural spaces in school grounds to deliver an exciting and compelling curriculum. In particular, looking beyond the science curriculum to examine how the natural elements and landscapes of the school grounds can inspire creative writing and arts, reinforce maths concepts and provide practical and purposeful DT projects.
Aimed at KS1 and KS2 teachers and TAs, Beyond the Pond draws on our learning outside the classroom expertise, and your knowledge and understanding of your school site and your children. It aims to send you back to your school with a fresh approach to teaching and learning outdoors, and with both activities to get on with right away, and inspiration and information to allow you to develop an ongoing, sustainable outdoor learning offer in your school.
Please get in touch for more information.