Outdoor learning and play is set to become a lot more fun in North Lanarkshire thanks to a Community Fund grant awarded to Wildside in Scotland by the Forestry Commission Scotland. The North Lanarkshire Woodland Learning Project will be the first programme of the newly established Kilsyth Woodland Centre and will use the newly accessible mature woodland at Kilsyth Primary School as a base for young people and educationalists across North Lanarkshire to increase their skills, knowledge and practical experience of woodland learning and play.
Commenting on the award Judi Legg, Executive Director of Wildside in Scotland said: “We are truly delighted to have been awarded grant funding from the Forestry Commission Scotland. We’ve designed this project to be fun and engaging whilst also contributing to the Learning for Sustainability (LfS) approach to learning, life and work to enable children, educators, schools and their wider communities to build a socially-just, sustainable and equitable society. This funding will help towards raising the attainment of children and young people living in deprived areas and we are grateful for the support of the Forestry Commission Scotland.”
The Kilsyth Woodland Centre focuses on adventure play, forest schools & community growing and is part of Kilsyth Primary School grounds. The school in partnership with Wildside in Scotland is now working with the local community to offer a wealth of opportunities which include:
The project supports the aims of the Scottish Forestry Strategy Woodland Management Plan using good sylvicultural practices, a focus on educational, social and environmental gains and by operating a low impact sustainable forest management system as part of a fifteen-year Woodland Management Plan. It also aims to achieve best value sustainable urban regeneration by integrated uses of the site relating to energy, health, water and education and through social inclusion.
“Through this project we want to provide hands on, active and experiential learning and experiences across all subject areas of the curriculum,” added Judi. “We’ve designed it to increase children’s experiences of challenge, problem solving, teamwork and autonomy through undertaking practical woodland activities and exploration and most importantly – to be fun.”
There are four strands of activity directly associated with the award:
Strand1: Woodland learning and forest play sessions
Stand 2: Woodland learning Continual Professional Development
Strand 3: Out of school forest play sessions
Strand 4: Forest management and enterprise work experience programme for 16-18 year olds.
In addition to the project leadership and delivery partnership between Wildside and Kilsyth Primary School, other partners supporting this project and its future community development include: Kilsyth Children’s Club, Kilsyth Heritage Group, Kilsyth Primary Parent Council and Councillor Heather McVey.