New forest school for Dunster First School

This is The West Country: Back, from left: ALICE Richards and Olivia Stanbury, Reception Class teacher Louise Collins, Exmoor National Park ranger Dave Gurnett, Exmoor National Park Minehead area moorkeeper Paul Storey; front row:Albert Vickery and Jude Stanbury. PHOTO: Submitted. Back, from left: ALICE Richards and Olivia Stanbury, Reception Class teacher Louise Collins, Exmoor National Park ranger Dave Gurnett, Exmoor National Park Minehead area moorkeeper Paul Storey; front row:Albert Vickery and Jude Stanbury. PHOTO: Submitted.

PUPILS at Dunster First School will be able to enjoy more outside learning after securing funding to have their very own piece of natural woodland.

The Moorland Edge Forest School had its grand opening on Monday (January 20) when pupils, teachers and Exmoor National Park rangers and moorkeepers gathered round.

The school aimed to have its own forest school for a number of years.

Over the past six months, Reception Class teacher, Louise Collins, has led the school's bid to have their very own piece of woodland for the school to use for Forest School activities and other outdoor education.

Exmoor National Park Authority and Somerset Community Foundations awarded the school grants to help pay for fencing for the area and licences that were needed.

Once the funding was in place, the work to prepare and fence the forest school was co-ordinated by Mr Paul Storey, the Exmoor National Park Minehead area moorkeeper.

Louise Collins said: “We believe that spending time outside learning in our local environment is very important.

“The children can learn in ways that are just not possible within the confines of the classroom.

“Having access to this secure area of natural woodland means that the children in our school can learn about the locality and the natural world as well as the importance of Exmoor National Park, in which the woodland is situated.”

Outdoor learning is an integral part of the curriculum at Dunster First School, particularly in Reception and Year 1 classes where all of the children have their own waterproof outdoor clothing for off-site activities.

The Moorland Edge Forest was officially opened by Mr Paul Storey and children marked the occasion by tying a coloured ribbon to a tree in the middle of the wood

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