TEACHING TREES - TIR COED
The Royal Forestry Society and Tir Coed are developing an innovative partnership to deliver the ‘Dysgu am Goed’ programme in Wales. Tir Coed aim firstly to adapt the English provision into the Welsh curriculum and translate all teaching resources, and the deliver a pilot of the programme across the 44 primary schools in Ceredigion over two academic years.
RFS are the largest and longest established educational charity promoting the wise management of woods in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and currently offer this programme in England. Over the past 18 years Tir Coed has designed, delivered and developed a comprehensive engagement model that supports and encourages personal, social, physical, emotional and environmental change, and assisting individuals to take control of their own lives with positive and lasting impact.
The aim of the project first and foremost is to teach children about trees, woodlands and forestry in a hands-on and fun way, whilst providing children with an opportunity to gain an appreciation of woodlands, a value for wildlife, timber and for enjoyment. As well as this the project aims to create ambitious and capable learners, confident and healthy individuals, enterprising and creative contributors and ethical and knowledgeable citizens, and stimulate scientific, geographical, and historical skills as well as promoting creative skills and conservation awareness.
The project will have multiple activities including:
- Identifying tree species through their leaves, twigs and bark
- Planting trees and understanding how we can help them survive and grow strong
- Learning about the structure of a tree and how it enables it to grow
- Seeing seasonal changes at work and finding out how trees disperse their seeds
- Calculating the height and age of trees
- Understanding the contribution of woods to local history
- Meeting foresters and seeing them at work
- Discovering the many different uses for timber such as fuel
- Searching for mini-beasts and evidence of more elusive wildlife which inhabits the woods
- Looking at animal habitats and building their own shelters
- Creating collages, sculptures and other artwork
- Enjoying team games that build confidence and communication
A wide range of people will benefit from this project including; young people, welsh speakers, all ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities and the outdoors/woodlands itself. The activities are accessible for wheelchairs and those who struggle with literacy and communication in the classroom, and will assist teachers and support staff in delivering lessons in the natural environment.
The project was very successful, delivering 41 sessions and engaging 32 schools across Ceredigion. 94% of teachers who took part agreed that enjoyment outdoors was encouraged during the sessions with 97% agreeing that the sessions gave the Group a better understanding of woodlands and wildlife. As a result of the project, other routes of accessing further schools have been explored with developments in place and research made into further development.
This project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.