CITY CHILDREN GO TO THE COUNTRYSIDE
Syddansk Turisme, Denmark, working with Danmarks naturfredningsforening and Sct. Hans Skole in Odense.
WHO WAS MEANT TO DO IT?
WHAT DID THEY DO?
75 pupils aged 7 were invited to visit the countryside and to learn more about nature and how to act in nature.
HOW DID THEY DO IT?
Three coaches of children were taken to Skovsgaard Naturecentre, on the island Langeland, a two hour drive away. Skovsgaard Naturecentre is a place where schools and families visit to try out different activities related to nature, agriculture and foresting.
Tools were borrowed for baking, harvesting and fishing and a ranger taught the children about the nature and being outdoors.
The rangers planned different activities that the teachers could handle (making flour and bread, pancakes on bonfire, finding footprints in the forest and studying the micro living in the water). Some of the teachers were not used to being active outdoors and needed help with the event.
HOW MANY PARTICIPATED?
75 children plus teachers.
DID IT WORK?
The children were very excited and, for some of the children, it was their first trip to Langeland and to the countryside. Their excitement was clearly obvious and from their wording and expressions it was evident that they were city-children, ie, “Look there is a cow and horse!”
WAS IT SUCCESSFUL?
The key objectives were met:
The teachers enjoyed being outdoors with the children. For the teachers, it was a long day and not as “easy” as usual. 75 children are not easy to handle when they are let loose. At the same time, it gave them new insights into how to bring the children out of the classrooms and into the countryside.
The children were very explorative in the countryside and they enjoyed playing and being in the nature. Even the “quiet girls” were, after some adjustment, able to play and enjoy being outdoors.
The different activities increased their awareness of the nature and its usability. Meatballs were made with herbs from the nature and pancakes with self-made flour. Looking for footprints from the wild animals was, beforehand, the least wanted thing, however it turned out to be a very fun experience and the children learned to explore the forest.
If there were more resources available the organisers would wish to develop an outdoor programme with activities that could be carried out twice per year over a period of two years. This way they could follow the children and see/measure if there were any improvements to the way they act in the nature, their perceptions of being outdoors and how it would change their daily habits.