We have had a very eventful last term. Obviously, we have had our normal daily lessons, alongside trying to fit in all the end of school academic year activities such as Year 6 Leavers Assembly and End of Year Production to prepare for; not forgetting the Year 6 Residential and Whole School Sports Day (which were fantastic fun). In addition to this, we have been on some amazing environmental class trips – so super busy! But this hasn’t stopped us working hard outside to enhance our school grounds.
With the help of the Roots & Shoots 2023 Awards, where we won the Climate Action: Race to Zero prize of £1,500 from The Do School, we have been buying everything from plants to outdoor cushions, motion capture cameras to a beautiful solar panel bird bath. With this burst of cash we have now been able to completely finish 3 of our ‘Well-Being Areas’: the outdoor reading shed seating area, the quiet bee and butterfly area and the ‘Sea of Calm’ boat. The children absolutely love the new areas and it is nice to see them sitting quietly, chatting or reading in these wonderfully calm spaces.
Not only have we completed these beautiful spaces to allow the children to enjoy the peace whilst being surrounded by nature, we have also enhanced our Forest School, putting up natural screening to make the spot a little more shielded from the general public as they walk past the school each day. This has given it a lovely secure feeling and also offers a little bit of protection from the wind on chillier days (not that we are having many of those at the moment), which is nice. We are now working on topping up the bark to cover the ground as this has slowly broken down with all the little feet treading on it as it is used so much. We do have some exciting plans for this area, incorporating a notice board where we can display ideas for ‘Forest School’ based activities, and an outside storage box to keep tools and the children’s work in.
The Roots & Shoots Eco Group also came up with the idea of making a giant weaving loom on the edge of the wild meadow so the children can use it to weave through leaves, twigs, grasses and feathers etc to make outdoor art. We will also be focusing on our wild meadow and natural pond a little more next year as we are always having ideas on how to improve these spaces for all the wildlife that inhabit them. In addition to this, we will be putting up our newly purchased motion capture camera in the wild meadow area and the motion capture bird feeder for the bird cafe so we can record the wildlife that visit these spots when we are not around – it will be very exciting to see what images we can capture.
Other projects for next year are: a ‘Sensory Walk’ area, which we have been planning, where we want to use natural or upcycled items to create a sensory zone, not only for the children to enjoy at break times but also to enhance our SEND Provision at our school – this will also be placed in the quiet area of our school grounds.
We have also received the fantastic news that we have been successful, for another year, on gaining our Eco School Green Flag status with Distinctions again. Plus, we gained the Kent Wildlife Trust’s Wilder Kent ‘Gold’ Award (last year we achieved the ‘Bronze’ level so this is an amazing upgrade). We are super proud of these achievements as it reinforces that all the children and staff at Goat Lees take looking after the environment very seriously, and that we always do everything we can to make sure we are considering our planet at all times.
We will keep you posted on the progress on all of these projects.