It’s official! Being outdoors is great for children!
New research has shown that when children spend quality time outdoors, it affects them in lots of positive ways. The most recent research by Forest Schools, shows that children develop better social skills, confidence and self-esteem goes up and they become more aware of how to manage their own safety. Not only that – their attainment back in the classroom is better.
Many people know the calming effect of being in a peaceful woodland or fishing by a tranquil lake but now we are starting to build up a solid body of evidence based on studies done by WWT and other organisations.
At WWT Martin Mere, we welcome over 10,000 schoolchildren through our doors every year. They are always positive, enthusiastic, keen to learn. Teachers tell us that a single day’s visit can motivate a whole term of follow-up work, based in and around school.
WWT has been working with a number of schools to track the changes of attitude and awareness among children who have been involved in a pond dipping session at Martin Mere or other centres. We have worked with the children and their teachers before, during and after, then a full year after their visit.
We found that over 90% of the children remembered their visit twelve months later and nearly 90% said it was fun, interesting and they had learned something new. It helped many children to overcome their misgivings about nature, for example by being able to get close to birds and feed some of them by hand. One or two children in each class even seem to have had a genuine change of heart around wildlife as a result of their visit.
We hope that by visiting Martin Mere, the natural enthusiasm of children for nature is given a booster shot which helps to propel them into a lifelong interest and commitment. So if your children have been on a visit, bring them back during the holidays. If you have been during the holidays but your children have not been with school, tell their teachers that we do trips! Who knows – one of them might be the future David Attenborough, Kate Humble or even Peter Scott!
To enquire or book an educational trip to Martin Mere please visit wwt.org.uk/learn or give us a call on 01704 891244.