In an ideal world, if I could wave a magic wand, I would want all children to have at least one day every month spent out of the classroom, getting that little bit closer to nature. Some of my strongest memories from school are field trips where the learning took place out of the classroom environment and the thrill of hands-on discovery really grabbed my attention.
A regular school ramble or a visit to a local green space or woods can also help with our areas of the national curriculum from maths to art.
For most kids their lives involve little or no contact with nature. They have become removed from the changing of the seasons or the ticking of nature’s clock. I want them to experience what I do every day and what my children are lucky enough to, all be it because there is someone to show them.
This natural experience – away from the classroom – would be all about connecting with seasonal change, the way birds, insects and butterflies live and how plants survive. In effect this is all about going back to the basics of biology. Forget for a day, if you will, politics, religion, finances, sport… and just let’s get down to the nitty gritty of how life works – who eats what, survival of the fittest and the dynamics of our precious environment.
There is something really special about the hands on experience of nature, whether handling a slow worm, going pond dipping or listening to birdsong. Local naturalists and wildlife organisations could help provide the knowledge and help schools to make this happen.
In my experience, for children who get this opportunity, it is a real eye opener and one they will always remember.
Miranda Krestovnikoff is a television presenter and author, presenting on programmes such as The ONE Show and Coast. For as long as she can remember, she has always loved to be outdoors. Much of her early childhood was spent at the top of an old copper beech tree in her parents’ garden or walking barefoot in the local woods. Her passion for wildlife started early on by observing animals in the wild and keeping a veritable menagerie at home in the laundry room.