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Forest School/Climate Action/Ecology Awareness Activity at WCU

Climate Change Awareness and Community Clear Up project

Westminster children’s University is an aspirational and extracurricular project created in response to the desire to provide free aspirational and educational opportunities for the young people of London. The project seeks to engage young people in activities that will help them transition from primary to secondary school and then maintain the positive trend in transitioning to further education and adult life. Our intention was to create a Multi-Disciplinary Project which would promote inclusion by including Auditory, Kinaesthetic and Visual elements to the overall project.

Sculpture, recycling and awareness

As part of our Climate Change Awareness and Community Clear Up project, year 5 visited the three recycled lions at Wembley Stadium last Friday. Faith Bebbington used waste cardboard, plastic cups and broken plastic seats from the venue in Wembley to create the two new pieces of art, which complement the existing recycle stainless steel lion made by artist Michael Turner currently guarding the ground. Ms Bebbington said: “I was delighted to be commissioned by the FA Group to create two lions for Wembley; partly as the stadium is such an iconic site and because I prefer my artwork to be accessible to the majority of people - rather than just art gallery goers. 

Due to the kindness of one of our partners at Paddington Central Cognizant and the football Association we were able to bring the entire year group to the stadium on a stadium tour where they were able to visit the amazing beasts in person we feel that engaging children in artistic and creative endeavours is a great way for them to further explore the themes and topics which are most important such as in this case, climate control and what we can do about it.

Part of the beasts' internal structure is made from willow, used to create the curved shapes, and the rest from reclaimed wood collected by the artist. The standing lion has cardboard ‘fur’ while the sitting lion has 'fur' made of broken red plastic stadium seats, used plastic beer bottles, wooden knives, straws, cardboard food wrappers and used paper cups. Fishing line, parcel tape, and hot glue were used to stitch and stick the fur together, and the animal's eyes were made from eco laundry balls. Our friends at Veolia ,who we will be doing a community clear up with on the 18th, helped out too, All the waste was carefully hand-washed by the Veolia contract manager for Wembley Stadium before being delivered to Ms Bebbington. This was another element of the Lions sculpture which anchored their relevance to our awareness project and the over theme of the action we wish to take.

Creativity and sharing a message

There are a variety of ways to communicate with your audience, but one of the most beneficial is by using posters and visuals that can clearly display your message. When used correctly, these can catch the eyes of people and make them aware of an issue, product or service that they wouldn’t otherwise have known about. This powerful ability to stick in people’s minds can have huge advantages for any group looking to create awareness. As a year group we explored the key themes we wanted to raise awareness of and as a class designed Climate Action posters and planned a community event to further illustrate visually a need for change.

One of the key themes we have been focussing on is, how we can personally and as a group make difference to avoid further climate change? The posters and action the children have planned and produced use the key elements of successful poster making and are intend to communicate clearly which aspects of the theme spoke most to them. We then put these posters up around our school and made them publicly available on our website for maximum exposure. We then communicated with our partner schools to engage them in designing their own posters too as well as the next step in the planned project and promoted exploration of and engagement with the topic.

 As an educational charity ourselves, we are invested in the enrichment of offer for and promotion of Volunteering and social action within younger cohorts; we are dedicated to offering a wider spectrum of learning experiences for the young people of Westminster. In the last year alone, we provided and 111,000 hours of extracurricular activity for the children of our partner schools. This means a target audience of at least 1600 students. We felt that this wider platform was a perfect way for the students to safely and confidently spread their message and recruit the further engagement of peers.

Repurposing food

Based on our own experiences through lockdown, we are aware that there is a high percentage of socio-economic need in our ward (in fact we are within the top 4% nationally for socio-economic challenge). Throughout lockdown we were able to create a network of volunteers and stakeholders who work together, through us, to collect and re-purpose wastage food .We did this by working closely with Fare share and Food Drop; as well as using the online platforms Neighbourly and Olio facilitate wider sharing and enable a diverse resource network.

Through the hard work of our volunteers, we have been able to re-purpose 70 tons of wastage food through food drop alone. Our work with neighbourly has had a similar outcome, 41.4k meals shared and a further 176k of water saved through Olio. We are currently continuing our relationship with Neighbourly and Marks & Spencer and continue to redistribute waste food (preventing it going from the shop to landfill and seeing repurposed); answering local food needs, as communicated to us in our locality.

 Our year 5 have regularly been helping to unload and build weekly food parcels for our school and local community. This element of the overall project was inspired by the work initiated through the Mayor’s Fuel for schools project back in 2018 and we have continued to feed 20 families weekly through our own school food parcels (which we continue to deliver to the present day).

We are aware of the negative stigma wrongly attached to accessing what is sometimes considered free food through projects such as ours. We, as does the fuel for school project, believe in educating young people early in the environmental impact and benefit of repurposed seeing Food which will otherwise go to waste it is vital that our young people understand the wrong created by the processing of waste food and the waste itself. By looking at and taking part in repurposing this food for the prevention of these negative outcomes we are able to reduce the stigma felt in accessing such resources. This is particularly important as we are aware that there is a great need for additional services and food as we have seen through direct requests and signposting that has come to us for food support through the recent crisis. We believe that by actively taking measures to reduce this as a community we can make a positive difference to the amount of waste that occurs locally and we can encourage sustainable behaviour changes in the future.

 Furthermore, we believe that by using educational experiences we can help our young people value and understand their immediate environment more fully and in a far wider, holistic manner; by doing this, we propose that we will be able to promote sustainable and purposeful behaviours as our young people mature. We feel that influencing behaviours within waste, food and the environment at a young age is a vital way to create a sustainable change for the benefit of everyone’s future and environmental benefit.

We have also been working with Joseph Dunston to distribute warm meals after school as part of our community action and year 5 have been actively engaged in this too ,handing out portions and creating interest each Thursday, after school. Our project, just as others do, will go some way to educating and relieving the recent burdens on our local families, creating education and support opportunities across the spectrum of participants through distribution and collection of resources, education and outreach through the collaboration of stakeholders and community cohesive approaches to delivery.

Community Led Social Action and Partnership

This November 18th we will be working with Millie Kent of the Climate Action Coalition to conduct a community based litter pick in collaboration with Queen’s Park Community Council. Millie Kent and Volunteers from Veolia will visit all of our local venues with our students on a giant litter pick .By sharing our project so far we will also be joined by Eco Committee students Essendine, St Mary of the Angels and St Peters Schools. The students will create poetry on the day as they reflect, to later be set to music and shared at Paddington Central by our choir in December. This will create a full day of community action with each year group and Sub-Committee taking direct social action on litter, pollution and Climate change.

We will collect the rubbish in a central public location to generate community awareness of littering and waste and to further influence more positive future behaviours by raising awareness through visual means as was intended by the three lions sculpture. We will record and share the day’s activities as well as gathering feedback which we will also upload to our main site. Our intention is for this project to be repeated yearly and be student led, to generate larger and more diverse actions.

All photos and Comms to be found at : https://www.westminsterchildrensuniversity.co.uk/forest-schoolclimate-actionecology-awareness-activ/

 

Forest school offers limitless opportunities for young people to develop and grow . Sarah Blackwell wrote a report on the outcomes of Forest School . It stated, when considering the building of confidence and well-being the impacts of long-term Forest school program facilitation were overall positive and measurable impacts on resilience ,confidence and well-being. Students taking part demonstrated a marked improvement in negotiation and communication skills. furthermore, when considering the impact on confidence, there was a marked increase in propensity to take risks, higher levels of self belief, positive attitude ,independence and increased tendency to take the lead and initiative. in the long term forest schools were found to have a positive impact on children’s physical and mental health , improving their social and cognitive competence .without doubt the case studies considered showed that promoting the well-being of children through the forest school would certainly enhance their confidence and resilience.

Identifying and Classifying

Safe ,Outdoor Fun

Working and Playing Together

  A driving principle of forest school is that it should approach children’s development holistically and support the development of the whole child. Opportunities can easily be engineered to enable children to work with those they may not instinctively choose to. The woodland environment being far larger than traditional classroom environments allows children to separate and play and work in the groups they are comfortable with. The provision fosters the child’s well-being, healthy growth and development, knowledge and understanding, creativity and capacity to learn

Lesson Samples

Bio Diversity Webs

The LOCAL site contains a wildlife area that is run and managed by Westminster, providing a haven for birds, butterflies, bats, beetles and lots more. Created during 2007 and designed in conjunction with the local community the wildlife area contains among other benefits an outdoor classroom, various wildlife habitats and composting facilities. Hedgerows, trees and shrubs, tall grasses, wildflowers, woodpiles, a composting area, climbers and creepers all provide birds, small mammals and insects with food shelter and places to breed. The site is particularly important for the survival of the House Sparrow, as the dense hedging on the perimeter and within the park creates a perfect nesting habitat. Once a common and numerous bird in London, the House Sparrow is now in dramatic decline (decline of 85 % from 1975 to 1995) and Queen's Park Gardens supports one of only four known colonies in Westminster. Forest School Boundaries During Sessions A key component of fostering well-being with young people is to ensure that they are in a safe and supporting environment. The quality of the provision and environment are key when trying to foster a culture of flourishing well-being as engagement with environment. Ensuring control of and provision of a stimulating and safe environment is a key consideration . Forest School is an ideal format to provide children with a safe stimulating and open environment with which within which they can learn and express themselves ,as in this stage of their development children are consistently developing new schema, IT IS A IDEAL Platform for discovery and learning. The forest school environment is an ideal place for them to experience and explore, not only is engagement with environment a key indicator ,well-being is also a way through which children can learn and express themselves. Stimulating interventions are VITAL TO ENGAGE AND DEVELOP LEARNERS' KNOWLEDGE AND CONFIDENCE ,inviting them to communicate by asking thought-provoking questions and giving children autonomy Forest school allows students to decide upon the way sessions are delivered and activities performed ,letting them participate in the setting of rules giving them a sense of agency. Before each session begins children are made aware of how far that they can explore. We do have lots of fun beneath the trees. If children move to explore hidden areas an adult should also move into the cover deep enough to be able to see the children but allowing the children the freedom to explore independently. If facilitators should lose sight of a child they will shout ‘1, 2, 3, where are you?’ The children will have been taught to respond ‘1, 2, 3, I am here’, or signal in other ways if non-verbal. This will enable the leader to trace children who are temporarily out of site. Children who are known to need 1-1 support are given the support needed

Bark Rubbing

Tents and Dens

As part of our Ecology and community clear up project year 5 visited the three recycled lions at Wembley Stadium last Friday. Faith Bebbington used waste cardboard, plastic cups and broken plastic seats from the venue in Wembley to create the two new pieces of art, which compliment the existing recycle stainless steel lion made by artist Michael Turner currently guarding the ground.

Ms Bebbington said: “I was delighted to be commissioned by the FA Group to create two lions for Wembley; partly as the stadium is such an iconic site and because I prefer my artwork to be accessible to the majority of people - rather than just art gallery goers.

“In February I was diagnosed with lung cancer (stage 4) so working on this commission has been a challenge at times, but also an excellent distraction from grueling rounds of treatment!

"Thankfully the FA were understanding and flexible about delaying the planned delivery date from spring to late summer.

“I like the challenge of being given a pile of rubbish and transforming into something special.

"The range of waste materials provided by the FA Group from Wembley Stadium were particularly interesting to combine – from old broken red plastic stadium seats, to used plastic Carlsberg beer bottles!

"The FA trusted me to get on with the job and refreshingly, gave me complete creative control!”

 

Part of the beasts' internal structure is made from willow, used to create the curved shapes, and the rest from reclaimed wood collected by the artist.

The standing lion has cardboard ‘fur’ while the sitting lion has 'fur' made of broken red plastic stadium seats, used plastic beer bottles, wooden knives, straws, cardboard food wrappers and used paper cups.

Fishing line, parcel tape, and hot glue were used to stitch and stick the fur together, and the animal's eyes were made from eco laundry balls.

Our friends Veolia who we will be doing a community clear up with on the 18th helped out too, All the waste was carefully hand-washed by the Veolia contract manager for Wembley Stadium before being delivered to Ms Bebbington.

The Amazing Recycled Three Lions

Based on our own experiences through lockdown, we are aware that there is a high percentage of socio-economic need in our ward (in fact we are within the top 4% nationally for socio-economic challenge). Throughout lockdown we were able to create a network of volunteers and stakeholders who work together, through us, to collect and re-purpose wastage food .We did this by working closely with Fare share and Food Drop; as well as using the online platforms Neighbourly and Olio facilitate wider sharing and enable a diverse resource network.

Through the hard work of our volunteers, we were able to re-purpose 70 tons of wastage food through food drop alone. Our work with neighbourly has had a similar outcome 41.4k meals shared and a further 176k of water saved through Olio. We are currently continuing our relationship with Neighbourly and Marks & Spencer and continue to redistribute waste food (preventing it going from the shop to landfill and seeing repurposed); answering local food needs, as communicated to us in our locality.

 This project was inspired by the work initiated through the Mayor’s Fuel for schools project back in 2018 and we have continued to feed 20 families weekly through our own school food parcels (which we continue to deliver to the present day).

As an educational charity ourselves we are invested in the enrichment of offer for and promotion of Volunteering and social action within younger cohorts; we are dedicated to offering a wider spectrum of learning experiences for the young people of Westminster. In the last year alone, we provided and 111,000 hours of extracurricular activity for the children of our partner schools. We are currently expanding our network twice fold and this means that the Project outlined here will be able to be offered across all of the schools in our ward .This means a target audience of at least 1600 students and the enabling of 33,000 hours of enrichment during lockdown.

We are aware of the negative stigma wrongly attached to accessing what is sometimes considered free food through projects such as ours. We, as does the fuel for school project, believe in educating young people early in the environmental impact and benefit of repurposed seeing Food which will otherwise go to waste it is vital that our young people understand the wrong created by the processing of waste food and the waste itself.

By looking at repurposing this food for the prevention of these negative outcomes we are able to reduce the stigma felt in accessing such resources. This is particularly important as we are aware that there is a great need for additional services and food as we have seen through direct requests and signposting that has come to us for food support through the recent crisis. We believe that by actively taking measures to reduce this as a community we can make a positive difference to the amount of waste that occurs locally and we can encourage sustainable behaviour changes in the future.

 Furthermore, we believe that by using educational experiences we can help our young people value and understand their immediate environment more fully and in a far wider, holistic manner; by doing this, we propose that we will be able to promote sustainable and purposeful behaviours as our young people mature. We feel that influencing behaviours within waste, food and the environment at a young age is a vital way to create a sustainable change for the benefit of everyone’s future and environmental benefit. Our proposed project will go some way to educating and relieving the recent burdens on our local families, in this one of the most difficult transitionary times we all find ourselves in, creating education and support opportunities across the spectrum of participants through distribution and collection of resources, education and outreach through the collaboration of stakeholders and community cohesive approaches to delivery.

With this ethos in mind, we provide we propose to run an additional two weeks of activity throughout the summer holiday and continue this in the new academic year to build upon our food wastage work .By adding an educational element to the overall offer (this will include working in meanwhile gardens and making mini-habitats for vertebrates as well as bringing an outdoor provider into school to teach children about biodiversity and the importance of looking after the local environment) students will be educated on the symbiosis both humans and our local wildlife and environment share.

Weekly food bank parcels and food work

Year 5 Awareness Design Campaign

Awareness Poster Year 5 Designs

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