Pupils and staff at Scoil Náisiúnta Rae na Scríne in West Cork are getting closer to nature, taking learning out of the classroom and into the great outdoors thanks to a series of visits by Heritage Specialist Calvin Jones.
The children learnt how their school garden and surrounds provide valuable habitat for local wildlife, and discovered some of the species visiting their school. Activities ranged from playing bird-bingo in the schoolyard, creating a starling murmuration with finger puppets, learning to use binoculars and making bird feeders and nest boxes, to becoming mammal detectives and even bringing CSI into the classroom to investigate the contents of locally found barn owl pellets.
“It’s great to see the children getting so enthusiastic and animated about nature and wildlife,” said Calvin, who runs Ireland’s leading wildlife and nature website www.irelandswildlife.com. “In an age where children typically get more screen-time than outdoor time it’s fantastic to see their innate curiosity about the natural world is alive and well. I don’t think there’s anything more important than nurturing that connection children have with the natue — and this series of visits at Reenascreena school is a great showcase for how effective it can be.”
Jean Dignan, principal at Scoil Náisiúnta Rae na Scríne, is delighted with the pupils’ reaction to the heritage visits.
“It’s great to get an expert in to offer a different, in-depth perspective, to get the children out of the classroom and away from the normal academic routine. They’re absorbing things almost without realising they’re learning. What they take in really sticks. We use the Heritage in Schools Scheme on a regular basis to stimulate learning.”
The five-visit series was organised through the Heritage Council’s Heritage in Schools scheme, which offers subsidised heritage visits for primary schools across the country. Calvin is based in West Cork and offers wildlife themed visits to primary schools across County Cork.
For more details visit www.irelandswildlife.com/