FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

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Family Learning

The Centre is putting increased emphasis on families learning together. Not only does this provide shared enjoyment and quality time for families. It is also a really good way to promote environmental understanding and fuller appreciation of Epping Forest.

We feel that it is important not only to reach children in a formal learning environment but to also involve learning in the whole family. Family members learning together can enable people of all ages to discover new interests and skills. A child only spends about 15% of his or her time in the classroom, so it is vital to address and support what goes on in the remainder of their time, in the home and in the community. Research by Oxford University has found that learning together as a family improves relationships and even health outcomes for the whole family, not just for the child (DCSF: BBC Families of our time conference March 2008, Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families).

A family biodiversity drop-in-day, generously funded by The Epping and Theydon Garnon Joint Charities, took place at the Centre during the October school holiday. The day aimed to increase the following: awareness of biodiversity, the importance of conserving biodiversity and understanding of human impact on biodiversity.

Families participated in a range of fun, explorative activities including minibeast hunting, pond dipping and a tree trail that helped children and adults to discover more about biodiversity – the plants and animals that live in the Forest. Families were also encouraged to enhance the biodiversity in their local area and were able to make bird feeders and seed bombs to take home.

Here just a few of the comments from families at the end of the session.
“Don’t pollute water – we had no idea how many things live in the pond”
“It is important for us to know where things come from and also to help future research”.
“Fantastic centre, the children really enjoyed themselves”.

The Centre also asked the parents what they felt their children had learnt during the day and this is what they had to say.
“That dragonflies start life underwater, the difference between invertebrates and vertebrates and the importance of biodiversity”.
“How much fun pond dipping is! They enjoyed finding out about the species from the pond and the different bugs. They loved the seed bombs and bird feeders”.

There will be themed family drop-in-days throughout 2012, to provide further opportunities for learning for the whole family. Details of future family activities can be found on our ecoactivities page.

Thursday, November 24, 2011