Carrickfergus Central Primary School have begun their Forest School Programme in Shaftesbury Park. At the first session pupils found out about all the trees and wildlife in the park and made maps of the site from natural materials.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is committed to promoting our parks and open spaces as important educational and recreational resources and Forest Schools, delivered with Northern Ireland Forest School Association (NIFSA), is a great way to achieve this. The number of Forest Schools in Northern Ireland is increasing and we are proud to be at the forefront of this initiative. partner Council on the programme.
Research has found that outdoor learning is invaluable for children. Through this initiative children will be able to increase their confidence, physical skills, social skills, motivation and concentration. Above everything else, the Forest School Awards Scheme can help to connect children to their outdoor environment, stimulating curiosity and inspiring a love of the natural world that is likely to remain long after the programme. The benefits of Forest Schools are far reaching not only for the pupils and teachers directly involved but also for their families, school and local community. Regular, ongoing and sustained use of Council parks and open spaces will help to develop a sense of ownership and, it is hoped, will lead to a reduction in anti-social behaviour.
Shaftesbury Park is a charming old Victorian park in Carrickfergus town centre with plenty of mature tree specimens and is connected to Carrickfergus Mill Ponds Nature Reserve which is home to a wide range of wildlife.