North Coast Integrated College is now an Official Forest School and the first Post Primary School in Northern Ireland to gain this award.
Teachers at the College - Mrs Lyttle, Mrs Mc Farland and Mr Wilkinson - are the resident Level 3 Forest School Practitioners who drove this initiative forward.
‘Forest School’ is based on a Scandinavian idea that considers children’s contact with nature to be extremely important from an early age given that it has a significant positive impact on their development. Over the last two decades, Forest School has spread to many areas but up until now, it has been mainly offered by Primary Schools and Early Years.
A spokesperson for the school said: “At NCIC we feel that there is a place for this exciting and innovative approach to teaching and learning at Post Primary level. By incorporating innovative approaches to learning students are encouraged to develop their curiosity and motivation to learn.
“The benefits of Forest Schools for children and society are well documented and include benefits to a child’s all-round development, particularly in the areas of personal, social and emotional, language and communication.
“At NCIC we are extremely lucky to have access to a forest area on the College grounds. This allows staff to use the Forest School approach during the school day across the curriculum. From January 2020 a new afterschool Forest School will begin.
“Mrs Lyttle is also working with QUB and NIFSA on an evaluation of the Forest School approach at Post Primary. Anyone interested in being involved in this should contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.”