If you go down to the woods today

P6/7 Pupils from Dunnikier Primary taking part in a Forest School at Wemmys Firs.
P6/7 Pupils from Dunnikier Primary taking part in a Forest School at Wemmys Firs.

KIRKCALDY school kids have been getting back to nature – while learning at the same time.

P6/7 pupils from Dunnikier Primary School took part in a Forest School, a course which offers hands-on learning in a local woodland environment.

Chris Childe, community education officer for Scottish Native Woods who runs the Forest School said: “The idea is to try to increase self-esteem by doing activities like starting fires, tying knots and building shelters.

“It’s a gradual process where you slowly up the risk factor and build confidence.

‘‘And they’re allowed to climb trees and get muddy!”

Benefits

Marian Laing, a teacher at Dunnikier Primary who took out a group of pupils said: “Myself and another trainee, Tony Carter, took the kids out to Wemyss Firs and they loved it.

‘‘We got lots of positive feedback and I’ve really enjoyed doing it too.

“The obvious benefits are that the children are out in the fresh air, they’re active and using their senses. They’re not wrapped up in cotton wool – which promotes responsible attitudes and a sense of trust.

“The aim now is to raise funding for more Forest Schools across Fife. Fife is very good at outdoor learning and a long-term undertaking like this is an excellent course to run in conjunction with the regular curriculum.”

Course

The training course for those wishing to become a leader is a modular format – the first to run in Scotland.

Aline Hill, a Level 3 qualified Forest School leader, said: “The format means that people who want to just explore what the Forest School ethos is and dip their toe in the water a bit can join in at Level 1.

“People who’d like to train in support of an existing Level 3 leader can train to Level 2 then take the step up to Level 3 at a later date.”