Pupils from Glynn Primary School have been displaying their ‘tree-mendous’ skills as they set off on a Forest School adventure this week.

All schools in the borough have the opportunity to apply to the 2020 Forest School programme each year via the Forest School Awards.

Three schools have been selected to become Forest Schools this year.

Successful schools choose a green space in which to engage in outdoor learning.

Glynn Primary School has begun their Forest School programme at Jubilee Park. Sunnylands Primary and Carrickfergus Model Primary School will come together to learn in Shaftesbury Park, and Carniny Primary School has chosen The People’s Park.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Maureen Morrow, said: “Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is committed to promoting our parks and open spaces as important educational and recreational resources and Forest Schools 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.”

Northern Ireland Forest School Association (NIFSA) partner Council on the programme. Brian Poots from NIFSA said: “Mid and East Antrim was one of the first Councils to support the Forest Schools programme and I am delighted Forest Schools continue to increase in the Borough.

“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 the 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.