AECC UC's Campus Forest School | AECC University College

AECC UC’s Campus Forest School

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Staff and students at Boscombe-based AECC University College recently welcomed primary school children from Pokesdown Primary School onto campus – as part of a new Forest School initiative.

The school will be on campus four days a week during term-time, making use of open woodland space on campus that has until now been under-utilised.

The University College’s Facilities and Buildings Team has been working hard to prepare the space for the children, which has included clearing the area to create a space for play and have built a mud kitchen and several seating areas.

Vice-Chancellor of AECC University College, Professor Lesley Haig, said: “Preparation for the Forest School has been a true collaboration across the University College. It began as an idea from our Environmental and Sustainability working group and it was clear from the start that it had huge potential.

“We have been looking for ways to make better use of our significant outdoor space and Pokesdown Primary School was looking for opportunities for their pupils to enjoy the outdoors. One of our strategic aims is to create an inclusive and sustainable environment in which we support our people and develop our activities, spaces and facilities to be fit for the future.

“As a health sciences university it was a pleasure to arrange a space where children, our next generation, can learn about the health of our planet and it aligns with our mission statement and values.

“Our Facilities and Buildings Team has worked so hard to get the space ready for the children and put so much thought and imagination into making it a fun, engaging and educational space for them to enjoy and learn in.

“We hope they’ll have lots of fun in the mud kitchen. The team is also building a bird hide, as the tree cover means there’s plenty of wildlife in the space, and we’re installing chalk boards for the children to practise reading and writing. We want the children to really enjoy the space and being outside.”

Headteacher of Pokesdown Commmunity Primary School, Alison Bayliss, said: “We are extremely grateful to AECC University College and their team for this opportunity and all they have done to enable us to establish our Forest School. It is a fantastic addition to our curriculum, enabling the children to maximise their learning and enhance their well-being.

“It is so good to be collaborating with AECC University College on this project and we look forward to developing further links in the future.”

Above: School group from Pokesdown Primary School

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