School is blooming with plans to become a forest school

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I WAS delighted to see the article (Mail, August 2) about Rossmere Primary School’s plans to become a forest school by developing three-quarters of an acre of its grounds into a wooded outdoor learning environment.

We haven’t yet had a decision from the LA Children’s Services Committee, so I don’t at this stage want to make comment about the politics behind our bid for some funding for the development.

However, we have had verbal support from Tees Wildlife Trust and Saltholme.

I would like to say how excited I am about the prospect of what a forest school can bring to Hartlepool over and above what we currently have available.

It is an absolutely fantastic idea and a great way to make use of the land we have in Catcote Road.

Forest schools have an incredible impact on children’s learning and achievements by using outdoor space and natural materials, bringing them into the classroom, and integrating into the curriculum.

This helps children to be creative and think critically, and it helps them increase their confidence and self-esteem.

All our teachers will be accredited, but we also intend to help two members of staff get the highest forest school accreditation so that we can help groups of vulnerable children across Hartlepool in a structured and sustained way, using the understanding and awareness of the natural environment.

Additionally, by building an eco classroom, you can imagine how this will increase excitement and interest - especially the toilets!

We’ve already started work on the development with our partners, St Teresa’s and the Children’s Centre.

We have consulted our children’s parents across Rossmere and Owton Manor, and we have already started to raise some funds to make a start.

I’m really looking forward to the next 12 months when we can start to get the children involved and working with our partners, staff and governors on seeing the land transform into an area with trees, bushes, a fire pit, wetland, bird hides, meadow, outdoor theatre, woodland trails, bridges, etc.

But, more importantly, I’m looking forward to our children benefiting by having their appreciation of the natural world enhanced, learning opportunities increased, and achievements raised.

Finally, I would like to thank the headteacher of Rossmere Primary School for having the idea in the first place and inspiring the rest of us to believe in what we can achieve.

Maureen Smith,

Chair of governors,

Rossmere Primary School,

Catcote Road,

Hartlepool.