- ‘One of the best days this year'
- ‘It was really cool to see the world through a mirror!'
- ‘A really great day' (Teaching assistant)
- ‘We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves – the children were given a new approach to writing via the outside world' (Peter Howard, teacher)
From David North, Education Manager at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust
‘The Ecopoetry project is a powerful way of reconnecting children with the natural world both through direct experience and through imagination and learning to express their emotions and feelings about nature through the medium of ecopoetry.
The quality of the written work speaks for itself as does the enthusiasm, enjoyment and motivation of the children. These two workshops have also really inspired the accompanying teachers and will result in ongoing creative work back in school.
I do really feel that these workshops have achieved significant results with the children across these areas and the combination with literacy work makes this a potent way of reaching children and teachers and encouraging both an interest in ecopoetry and real engagement with nature.
Truly inspirational. In 25 years of working in environmental education this is one of the most inspiring projects I have been involved with and has real potential to benefit children and encourage their teachers to further develop the work.'
Testimonials from Sandringham and West Newton CE Primary School
Headteacher, Mrs Alexis Brand:
‘The pupils thoroughly enjoyed the day at Houghton. It opened their eyes and minds to what they often take for granted, i.e., the beauty of the natural world. They are bound to be more confident in their approach to creative writing and thinking following this experience.
I also enjoyed the day. It was good to work alongside other adults who are experts in their field, and I was able to share the ideas with my staff back at school. An invaluable experience.'
‘Thank you David and Toni and Catherine for teaching us lovely things about nature. I have changed my view about nature and will try harder to keep our environment safe.'
‘I enjoyed the feeling of walking in the trees with the mirror, it seemed so real! ... I liked writing the poems and I enjoyed the lunch because we went in the trees. Thank you to everyone for their help; to David for showing us around, to Catherine for helping us with our poems and finally to Toni for helping us out and finding the rhythm. We all had a lovely day. '
‘I enjoyed creating the nature reserve, it made us think about what nature might enjoy.'
'I also enjoyed the mirror walk. It was scary and fun, there was a slope and it felt like you were about to fall off the edge of a tree.'
‘I enjoyed writing the poems. I also really enjoyed walking with the mirror; it was very interesting because you thought you were walking in mid-air, which made you think you were walking in the trees! I felt really special to be able to eat my lunch in the big hollow tree. Thank you for helping me with my poem. It was all very enjoyable. Thank you very much for everything.'
Testimonials from Howard Junior School
Teacher for year 6, Mr Tom Abbs:
'All children were engaged at all times; this was assisted not only by the context of the day, but also by the size of the group and ability allowed to partake, as well as the ratio of adults to children involved.
A thoroughly enjoyable day had by all. I thought the weighting of talk for writing versus practical activities/amount of practical activities was just right - this ensured children were always engaged and 'on task'. Furthermore, the nature of the practical activities was brilliant and it has provided me with some good ideas not just for poetry, but for other genres of writing to replicate around our own woodland area/school grounds.
The children were positively buzzing and very proud when I read out their final poem during Guided Reading on National Poetry Day last week.
Houghton Hall was a beautiful setting. Even last week when we looked at the photos, it still received the 'wow' factor from those that were involved. Our children seldom leave the estate/King's Lynn area so anything like this which can be used as a vehicle to raise standards in writing and create experiences is heavily valued by myself and the children alike.
On the whole, a wonderful day. Talented, friendly staff who managed the children well.'
Teaching Assistant, Sam Cooke:
'The children responded really well to the day and were constantly engaged with the activities. They enjoyed the setting of the day and the way it was delivered to them. The 'hands on' approach really appealed to the children and they learnt a lot. The approach sparked their imagination for the writing and helped them with the tasks set for the day; it also helped them improve their writing skills. It widened their knowledge of nature and the way they perceive it and thus the way they will write about it in the future.
I was very impressed with the set up and the organisation of the day. The activities were well run and well timed and really inspired the children to come up with some fantastic poems. The setting for the writing was perfect and well used.'
Testimonial from Stibbard Primary School
'The children really enjoyed the day and warmed to the activities as they were introduced to each new one. Their learning was carried on back in school and they enjoyed sharing their experiences with the rest of the class.
The day was great for us as teachers as we were able to take a step back, so early in the term and watch the children learning, responding to other adults and seeing how they were working together. I felt I could see a new perspective on them.'