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Local schools are firmly rooted in Forest initiative

Local schools are firmly rooted in Forest initiative

December 13, 2017

Three local Schools, Downshire Primary School, Beechlawn School, Hillsborough and Rowandale Integrated Primary School, Moira have their roots firmly planted in the Forest Schools initiative this year.

The Forest Schools programme is a great way to encourage schools to consider their local open spaces as a media for learning and is delivered by Northern Ireland Forest School Association (NIFSA) in partnership with Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, for the Council area.

Downshire Primary School were the first to take part in the pilot programme using Hillsborough Play Park as their outdoor classroom and were recently presented with their NIFSA Nature Ranger Award Certificates by Chairman of the Council’s Leisure & Community Development Committee, Alderman James Tinsley. 

Speaking at the presentation, Alderman Tinsley said: “The number of Forest Schools in Northern Ireland is increasing and the Council is proud to be part of this initiative. What better way to educate our children than to use the outdoors as an extension of the classroom.  To use our local green spaces to their full potential not only gives the children a wealth of knowledge it also provides them with a great sense of ownership and pride.  I would like to congratulate all the children from Downshire Primary School who took part and I hope they are extremely proud of their well-deserved certificates.  The Council is committed to promoting our parks and open spaces as an important educational and recreational resource and Forest Schools is a great way to achieve this.”

All the Forest Schools activities can be linked directly to the curriculum which allows teachers to ensure continued progress towards academic targets.  The use of outdoor classrooms and change of venue is a fantastic experience for both children and teachers and has demonstrated to be particularly useful for children who do not normally thrive in the classroom. 

To find out how to do your bit for biodiversity visit:

To find out more about Forest Schools visit and to register your school/organisation interest in becoming a Forest School visit