Years of planning and preparation have culminated in the official opening of Shoreham College Forest School.
An expansive site in the school grounds in Shoreham, the forest school has been growing and developing for the last few years.
Dave Goulson, professor of biology at Sussex University, opened the forest school by cutting a vine, alongside headmaster Richard Taylor-West, junior head teacher Kathryn Stokes and two members of Shoreham College Parents Association, Jo Bushby and Wendy Allen.
They spent a typical few hours in the life of a forest school, with pupils excitedly showing them around and inviting them to join in the many activities they regularly enjoy.
Prof Goulson said: “It’s really important to get the pupils out into a different environment in which they can learn so much. It’s great to capture that enthusiasm they have to hunt bugs and explore when they are young.”
Planning the forest school, Mr Taylor-West wanted to see ‘children getting their hands dirty’ and Mrs Stokes wanted the children to be able to get back to nature experience awe, wonder and mindfulness, and help develop confidence and self-esteem.
The parents association funded the costs and after tonnes of concrete were removed, the Woodland Trust donated trees and resident groundsman Nick Milner worked tirelessly to help bring the forest to life.
Mr Taylor-West said: “We are so lucky that the college parents association agreed to fund the project.
“It has already brought such a great deal of fun and learning to the pupils in the junior school here. Whether it be spotting mini-beasts, like the ladybird pupa we saw at the opening, or learning to tell the difference between plants or just listen to the wind in the trees, it is a great place to learn.”