Vicky Chambers, Senior Education and Activities Officer

Back on the 9th March 2020, I did not realise that my Nature Tots and Home Educator groups that day would be the last groups I would teach for seven months and I wouldn’t see them again for over a year! Fast forward to January 4th 2021 and we heard there was going to be another national Lockdown with all schools shut once again, apart from children of key workers and vulnerable children. As all schools and education sessions were going to have remote learning until at least February half term, we decided to create our very own Lockdown Learning resources for parents, carers and teachers to use during this time to encourage them to get outside and make the most of the greenspaces around them.

Standing up in front of, and teaching, a whole class of children is not a problem for me. However creating Lockdown Learning videos meant a whole new thing to get to grips with! I had to try to film myself teaching different topics, such as ephemeral art, classifying invertebrates, sensory scavenger hunts and making a pirate ship (with sometimes multiple takes). It did mean getting to dress up as a pirate though!

Since then we’ve also been thinking about how else we can keep in contact with schools who are currently unable to come into the Park. One of these ideas has been our Virtual Outreach sessions. If anyone has seen a couple of us out in the park with a tripod and camera lately and have been wondering what we've been up to, then this would have been part of it. We may not have groups in the Park doing actual pond dipping and bug hunting at the moment, but we’ve worked on preparing videos so they can do it virtually and have us streamed live into their classrooms! It has also meant being able to get out and look for creatures in the lake or woods again myself, which is never a bad thing! So if you are a teacher or know any teacher who might be interested,  do check out our virtual outreach sessions offer on our website.

I’ve really missed being able to teach groups in person over the last year, but it’s great to see a few more school bookings starting to come in for the summer and autumn this year and I’ve got all my fingers crossed that we’ll get to see many more schools back in the Park soon.