And if they don't understand it, they won't protect it.
And if they don't protect it, who will?"
Sir David Attenborough,
Learning Through Landscapes
For many children in the UK who live in inner city areas the school grounds are the only contact they have with understanding and appreciating the natural world. Opportunity to kick the autumn leaves, find conkers, hunt for mini-beasts, fish for tadpoles, and watch seeds transform themselves into edible crops and stunning flowers are all important stepping stones in understanding how the world works. It provides an opportunity to observe the natural cycle of seasonal life.
Ironically, although this problem is more pronounced in urban areas, geography sometimes has little part to play in the lack of natural contact with the world as computer games take the place of the family walk in the woods.
Prioritising the use of school grounds to ensure that children are able to understand the world around them has become the focus of the new Learning through Landscapes campaign, #protectschoolgrounds, which was launched earlier this week. It brings together a whole host of resources and ideas to equip Head-teachers who face the unenviable task of balancing the need for new school places with the desire to protect outdoor space.
Image Right: The children who featured in the Conserving Wonder film
Sir David Attenborough, Patron of the charity is spear-heading the campaign, narrating and appearing in the film Conserving Wonder which aims to raise awareness of the issues and give protectors of school grounds a voice.
The Oxhey First School Growing Garden is part of this campaign having been chosen as an innovative example of creative outdoor space and there are many other project which also deserve attention for their imaginative use of space.
Follow the Learning through Landscapes Campaign at #protectschoolgrounds and visit their website at www.ltl.org.uk