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August 31, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Estate supports Woodfield Schools

Woodfield Forest School

Gavin visiting Woodfield Forest School

Back in the sunnier days of July, some Apley Estate staff went to Wolverhampton to help create a forest school in the grounds of Woodfield Infant & Junior Schools. Here’s the press release Wolverhampton Council (released on 7 July). Gavin succinctly summed up our involvement at the end: “I am delighted that we were able to support this project which will help teach children about the natural environment. At Apley, we are all about bringing the countryside and locally produced food [at Apley Farm Shop] to more people, including children in our [Pigg’s] Playbarn and [Scotty’s] Animal Park, and this scheme fits perfectly with that aim.”

Here’s the full press release: “Al fresco education for Woodfield pupils. Pupils at Woodfield Infant and Junior Schools can now enjoy lessons in the great outdoors – thanks to support from the Apley Estate. Pupils from both the infant and junior schools worked closely with teachers and staff from the Apley Estate, near Bridgnorth, to create outdoor “forest schools” offering seating and teaching space, meaning lessons can come out of the classroom – weather permitting.

School Business Manager Jo Phillips said: “We have never really utilised the wonderful grounds at Woodfield as well as we could have done, but now thanks to these fantastic forest schools, our pupils are able to learn in the great outdoors. Head of School Marie Manton added: “The Forest Schools will be used to develop key learning behaviours such as motivation, independence, problem solving skills and self-esteem.

“This couldn’t have been possible without the generous support of Lord and Lady Hamilton and their staff at the Apley Estate, and we’d like to thank them for their support to create the area and for providing the materials.”

The outdoor spaces were developed as part of School Grounds Week, a national event organised by Learning through Landscapes, the charity dedicated to enhancing outdoor learning and play for children.

During School Grounds Week, pupils also spent more time outside, putting geography and maths into action by mapping the school grounds, developing their artistic skills by bug hunting and then making willow sculptures of insects they found, and even performing a play in the school grounds based on the popular book, Going on a Bear Hunt.

Councillor Claire Darke, Wolverhampton City Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “It’s really important that children are able to spend time outside, and I’m pleased that pupils at Woodfield Infant and Junior Schools are enjoying lessons in their new forest schools.”

Lord Gavin Hamilton, owner of the Apley Estate and Apley Farm Shop, said: “I am delighted that we were able to support this project which will help teach children about the natural environment. At Apley, we are all about bringing the countryside and locally produced food to more people, including children in our Playbarn and Animal Park, and this scheme fits perfectly with that aim.”

Apley Farm Shop & Pigg’s Playbarn also work closely with Educating Kids Outdoors (EKO) http://www.ekolearning.org.uk/ (07876 658 467) who run forest school days & birthday parties on the Skylark Nature Trail at Apley Farm Shop, as well as other venues in & near Shropshire.

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