School Travel Organiser takes a look at the learning opportunities available for Foundation and Primary school students at BeWILDerwood in Norfolk.
BeWILDerwood is an adventure park set in a forest, and encompasses tree houses, zip wires, jungle bridges and treasure hunts.
There are plenty of learning outside the classroom opportunities provided by a learning and education programme that has been running on site for several years.
The educational department is headed by learning coordinator Hannah Dennis, who aims to make sure that school trips mix education with fun for children from Foundation Stage to the end of Key Stage 2.
Inspiration taken from a children’s book
The colourful and imaginative appearance of the BeWILDerwood site is based on the magical outdoor setting in the children’s book A Boggle at BeWILDerwood, written by local children's author Tom Blofeld.
The book, and the series that followed it, is about a mystical land of brave and adventurous creatures, and these characters appear across the forest site to engage young children with learning through play.
Marsh Boggles, Tree Twiggles and Thorny Crocklebogs are just a few of the creatures students will encounter on their day out.
National Curriculum links
The emphasis placed on Blofeld’s book and its influences on the educational activities around the park, many of which are themed to coincide with his creations, make English a strong topic to tie-in with a school trip.
Foundation stage children can enjoy a storytelling session, which takes place every day at BeWILDerwood. The class is invited to sit beneath the trees for a Twiggle Tale, to take part in interactive storytelling about the story of Swampy and his friends at BeWILDerwood, and to dress up.
Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils have the more advanced task of filling in adventure booklets, which have been designed with the National Curriculum framework in mind.
The class will be set a task to find eight lost bracelet charms belonging to one of Blofeld’s characters, Twiggle Leaflette. The charms are hidden around BeWILDerwood, and pupils will use visual and written clues in their task books to find them. When a student finds a charm, they are encouraged to draw it in their notebook, honing their artistic skills.
Discover other subjects
Other National Curriculum topics that can be linked to a trip include Physical Education, Art, Geography and Science.
There is a variety of optional activities that teachers can organise for a class; the natural setting provides ample opportunity for children to learn about the real creatures and plants that live in the marshes and woods, which can be explored via the trails and the climbing apparatus.
Marshland WILD-Spy, for example, is an observational activity in the marshland habitat which ties in with Science. Students will keep a log on a worksheet of how many plants and animals they can see; take a boat trip and explore the natural watery habitat; and walk along a marsh trail.
Other activities include a woodland scavenger hunt (Geography), drawing in the park (Art), and writing poetry using trees as inspiration (Literacy).
Resources for teachers
Prior to a visit, teachers will be sent an information pack which comes complete with task examples, a guide to the park and extra school trip information.
The class will also be sent a free copy of the Tom Blofeld book prior to a visit, to familiarise themselves with some of the characters and the environment that they’ll be exploring.
There are also lots of other resources available for download from the BeWILDerwood website, such as the Simple Spotter’s Guide for Foundation Stage, as well as lots more worksheets that can be used when teachers and students return back to the classroom.
New learning at BeWILDerwood
This year, BeWILDerwood is offering new learning sessions for the 2015/2016 academic year, with plans to make the content the main education package in the future. The new learning sessions will cover Literacy, Science, History and even bush craft.
Examples of new educational tasks…
For Literacy, pupils will write their own BeWILDerwood inspired stories and poems using the natural woodland surroundings to inspire them.
Science studies can be linked to on a trip by investigating the types of creatures that share the woodland with the Twiggles and Boggles during a minibeast hunts.
And for History, students will discover how mans’ prehistoric ancestors built shelters and survived by building their own dens.
For further information about a school visit call 01692-633033 or visit www.bewilderwood.co.uk.