30 Days Wild at School

A summer wreath made after a walk around the garden and park spotting different flowers.

In one school in Cambridgeshire, 30 Days Wild in June was used as a way to get even more kids looking at the wild world around them, with great success, as teacher Judith explains...

I teach at a 3 form entry infant school and for a number of years the Reception children have enjoyed taking part in 30 days wild. For the last couple of years, the Year 1 children have also taken part.

This year, the children who have been at school through lockdown have taken part across the 3 year groups. They have had more time to pursue the 30 days wild challenges as the numbers in each class have been much smaller, outdoor activities have been actively encouraged and there have been less demands on the curriculum. The majority of children who have been educated at home have also been actively encouraged to take part.

I firmly believe that 30 days wild has helped to lift spirits, raise awareness, make children feel more connected to the natural world and get children outside more.

As soon as lockdown was announced online activities were put on the home section of the school website and also added to the planning for children of key workers who were being taught in school. In addition to reading, phonics and maths, 21 simple outdoor activities were added every 2 weeks. These outdoor activities involved little or no equipment and families were encouraged to complete as many as they could in their gardens or the park as some children live in flats. The families were also encouraged to send photos and a description of what they were doing at home and post it onto ‘Tapestry’ our online secure school platform. The staff then typed a comment about the activities the children have been doing.

It soon became very clear that many families were particularly enjoying the outdoor activities and were developing their own outdoor activities and extending those suggested. After a month, we decided to set a weekly Tapestry challenge to encourage families to do even more outside. These challenges included many of the ideas from the Wildlife Trust website including the activity sheets and spotters guides.

Before 30 days wild began all of the families were actively encouraged to download the packs and the staff at school downloaded them too. A number of staff posted on Tapestry how excited they were about starting 30 days wild with their own families and it was so encouraging that teenagers were also enthusiastically taking part.

The response has been fantastic, with some families posting daily what they had been doing. The staff also posted many photos of their wild activities, and during each week I have added more activities and suggestions based on the emails I have received from the Wildlife Trust and things I have spotted when out for my daily walk.

30 days wild has certainly generated a considerable amount of interest and I have now encouraged families to continue being wild! The staff at school have enjoyed getting outdoors with the children and even though there have been the restrictions in sharing equipment etc., activities have been modified. For example, instead of making class mini beast hotels, every child made their own using half a 2 litre plastic bottle.

30 days wild has certainly encouraged us all to look more closely at nature, listen to bird song, notice changes in the landscape and do more gardening. The lockdown has been very difficult, restrictive and stressful for many families but I firmly believe that 30 days wild has helped to lift spirits, raise awareness, make children feel more connected to the natural world and get children outside more. It has bought a bit of welcome sparkle into our lives and a reason to get outdoors every day!

Thank you to the Wildlife Trust for all of your support with resources and ideas. It has certainly inspired many children and adults.