The children converged on the conservation charity’s Southall centre for the ‘Book Characters Go Wild’ event. Running from 28th July to 1st August, the week-long playscheme ended with a family barbecue.
Environmental Education Officer David Melville, Communities Officer Kailean Khongsai, Centre Manager Kim Khongsai and Office Manager Maria Masih led the programme. They helped the children explore such stories as Kenneth Grahame’s ‘The Wind In The Willows’, Beatrix Potter’s ‘The Tale Of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle’ and ‘The Jungle Book’ by Rudyard Kipling.
‘For each story, we celebrated the species and asked the children why those animals will be so vulnerable in the future,’ said David Melville. ‘Then we offered hope through practical action. All this was done with a spirit of adventure by using indoor and garden education. We consolidated the fun learning with arts, crafts, games, drama and songs.’
Halfway through the week, they went on a tour of A Rocha UK’s community garden project at Wolf Fields. ‘Before we’d even started, a grasshopper had jumped into the net,’ David added. ‘The idea of eco-literacy has much scope. If we’re a nation of wildlife lovers through our literacy, then how are we looking after these creatures?’ He said it was ‘most satisfying’ to hear one child tell her father, ‘Dad we have to buy some hedgehog food on the way home’.
A Rocha UK’s popular summer playschemes continued the following week (11th-15th August) with ‘Who Wants Your Dinner?’. Children aged five to seven joined the team for an adventure at Minet Country Park, Hayes.
‘We went foraging for food,’ said David, ‘and seeing how mammals, birds and insects do the same. Children could find out which wild foods humans can safely eat – and which animals would like to share it! The motivation was connecting children to the natural world to understand where our food comes from. We collected blackberries and put them in a cake with home-made blackberry jam.’