Re-opening Earth School

Re-opening Earth School

By Col Stocker

Earth Trust is an environmental learning charity with the aim of giving people access to and experience of the environment through natural green spaces, together understanding what we can do to care for the planet.

As part of their education programme they deliver outdoors cross-curricular learning to 3,500+ pupils per year and 70 young people with special educational needs per week.
So keeping this programme afloat through multiple lockdowns was incredibly important, with added pressures of having to reduce team capacity.
In the throws of COVID lockdowns the project to relaunch and digitise their successful education programme was key to enabling them to open up their unique green spaces again but for half-classes (with digital links for the remaining half) and give children fun, active, outdoor learning.

Kitty Cox from the Earth Trust let us know how things had gone through the last lockdown.

“The support from Alpkit and others enabled us to deliver a small number of Earth School sessions for mainstream primary schools and 37 sessions for young people aged 13-19 with special educational needs. The award has helped Earth Trust to maintain our environmental education activity – to run sessions and to keep in touch with schools. Despite the ongoing restrictions through the end of 2020 we were able to get primary school children taking part in the Earth School with cross-curricular outdoor learning. ”

Being able to experience those early outdoor interactions can be so important to building a life long love for the outdoors and be truly transformative, so the Alpkit Foundation was pleased to be able to offer some financial support to help children experience full days of outdoor learning.

Alongside their Earth School, the Countryside Skills course is designed to empower young people to make positive choices for themselves through practical, hands-on outdoor activities. Originally developed by the Earth Trust in partnership with local schools, Hill End Outdoor Learning and the Pennyhooks Autistic Care Farm Project, and are currently the only facility offering this specific course. So to be able to work through the uncertainties of lockdowns has been really positive.

“We were pleased to run our Countryside Skills course for 28 students with special educational needs, some with multiple learning difficulties up until the third lockdown. It was then great to be able to supply home-schooling materials for 6 sessions to enable those students able to access learning in this way, to keep up their studies on the course. Finally in March 2021 we were excited to be able to re-start the Countryside Skills.”

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