The City of London Corporation has today launched a new online learning initiative to get children and families learning about nature during the COVID-19 lockdown – even if they do not have access to a garden.
The project involves fun,nature-focused activities that promote learning through informative videos, craft activities and hands-on exploring which schools and families can then do themselves – for example, videos teaching children how to do a bug hunt and create eco art, or worksheets demonstrating how to make a bird feeder or sun catcher.
The initiative hopes toengage and educate children across London on the nature around them, whilst also being beneficial for wellbeing, particularly mental health during the current lockdown.
Many children in London will have limited access to green spaces, including children who are indoors without a garden and schools that need to stay on site.
Activity worksheets and videos will be sent to over 800 London schools, with teachers sharing the activities with the children at school and those at home. The City Corporation aims to get the resources to food banks and children’s centres – reaching families who may not have access to a computer.
The activities will be published on a weekly basis on social media platforms, then sent to schools – all for free.
Children and parents will be encouraged to engage via social media and email, with questions and ideas, and to share the results of the creative activities.
Oliver Sells, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Open Spaces and City Gardens Committee, said:
“This new programme will connect people with the nature that is around them at a time when we are all recognising the true value of our open spaces.
“Spending time outdoors and learning about nature can lead to a dramatic improvement in both health and wellbeing. During the current COVID-19 lockdown, this is more important than ever before.
“Our programme really wants to target the young people that aren’t lucky enough to have their own garden to explore, and will provide them with fun, creative ideas and resources to still learn about the outdoors”
Green Spaces, Learning Places, the City of London Corporation Open Spaces Department’s innovative, wider learning programme, launched in 2016.
The programme has so far has helped over 120,000 Londoners, in just three years.
This includes 42,000 school children, Grenfell families, young carers and children with autism, opening access to new opportunities to enrich their lives with outdoor learning, improving wellbeing and creating more access to nature.
Of these Londoners, 15,000 children eligible for pupil premium took part, and 80 young people benefitted from work experience placements and training.
The scheme was created to fight back fight back against inequality, as people in deprived areas of London face very real barriers to accessing nature.
The City of London Corporation protects and conserve historic and natural green and open spaces for recreation, nature conservation and public health and wellbeing.
It owns and manages 11,000 acres of green space in London and south east England – including Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest and Burnham Beeches - and over 200 smaller ones in the Square Mile.
They are funded by over £29 million a year from the City Corporation and include important wildlife habitats, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserves. They are protected from being built on by special legislation.
The City Corporation is committed to reaching the young people and local communities who live near its green spaces, to enable them to connect with the natural world on their doorsteps.
The City Corporation promotes education in the natural world through learning programmes across its sites.