YOUNGSTERS at a South Tyneside school are taking in the great outdoors.
From tree climbing to lighting campfires, children at Boldon Nursery are putting into practice calls to give youngsters the chance to experience outside fun.
National Trust boss Dame Fiona Reynolds has warned that children are being denied the enjoyment of the outdoors and nature with consequences to their health and wellbeing, and that the freedom of youngsters to roam unsupervised had shrunk massively since the 1970s because of nervous parents, technology and a lack of “safe” places to play.
But youngsters at Boldon Nursery School, which was last year dubbed outstanding by Ofsted inspectors, see outdoor fun as a key to the curriculum.
Headteacher Sue Stokoe, said: “Every Tuesday the children go to a local space called The Burn for their forest school session, where they learn to climb trees safely, make dens in the woods, light a fire and many other things.
“They walk there and back and we go both mornings and afternoons. Our priority is teaching children about the risks they may encounter, how to manage them and enjoy being outdoors in all weathers.”
When they are not at The Burn, the children also play in the grounds of the school in Reginald Street.
But Dame Fiona fears other children are not so lucky.
She said: “Children are missing out on the sheer joy and physical and mental wellbeing of being able to play outside and experience nature in all its messiness.
“The world is a different place and people have become very anxious about the risks – real or perceived.”
She said the trust believes the cloistered upbringing of children can be harmful and they need to take risks and that it was wrong to apply health and safety culture to the countryside.