Forest School Awards
The outreach programme for Learning Without Walls

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Our Lady's Girls Primary School Working towards qualification

Council area: Belfast City Council
Forest School contact: Mrs Emer Hughes
Main Forest School contact email address:
School website address:
Year of Forest School accreditation:

Tool Background: Our Lady's Girls Primary School opened its doors to the girls of North Belfast in 1966. In Our Lady's we have a dedicated staff team of teachers, assistants, supervisors ancillary and office staff who ensure that as a School of Sanctuary, all of our girls are educated in a safe and nurturing environment. The staff and the pupils take great pride in their grounds and surroundings and staff always seize opportunities to develop life skills for our pupils, building these into many areas of our school planning.

Building Forest School setting: In 2020 we became involved with the Forest School Programme and our P2 and P6 girls worked alongside Danielle Morrow, learning outside in the natural environment of Deanby's Garden! Deanby's Garden lies to the side of our school. It is a beautiful plot of land which is a most valuable resource to all of our school community. Intially Belfast Hills planted a boundary hedge which allowed work to commence. A huge polytunnel was constructed in 2017, which holds eight very large raised beds. There are also beds outside as well as a very large herb garden. Our girls take great pride in our school garden. Each year group is responsible for a raised bed, where they can grow and nurture plants and flowers. North Belfast Women's Initiative Support Project (NBWISP) help us with our planting and work, alongside staff and pupils, teaching us about growing food, flowers and herbs. We also have an orchard where there are apple and pear trees. We can now taste the delicious fruits of our labours and even have cookery demonstrations outdoors In 2018 Gilbert Ash Construction, drained the land and put together a plan for an Outdoor Classroom, which they then constructed. Womenstec made little tree stump seats from a one hundred year old Oak tree which fell in a storm. They also made tables and stools from re-cycled wood pallets and our P7 girls helped to construct some of these stools at a Womenstec workshop. . There are so many aspects to our Forest School setting, each bringing a different angle and an opportunity for learning new life skills, for our pupils.

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