ENVIRONMENTAL charity Trees for Cities is delivering a new project supported by The Mohn Westlake Foundation and The Queen’s Green Canopy, spearheading a programme that sees schools across the UK transformed into green, leafy oases to improve students’ wellbeing and health.
The charity aims to transform 12 primary school grounds across the three nations of Britain, including Bradford, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leicester and London, to create healthier and greener environments for pupils to learn and play. Through the project, over five thousand pupils across these cities will be involved in designing and transforming their school grounds through the planting of 1,500 trees and the installation of food-growing gardens, mini urban woodlands, wildlife hedgerows and orchards.
Studies show that a connection with nature can improve children’s sense of wellbeing, happiness and health, leading to pro-environmental behaviours. This exciting new project will allow pupils to thrive by transforming their grey tarmac playgrounds into nature filled classrooms and natural play areas. Urban issues such as poor air quality, concrete environments and lack of access to nature will also be addressed via the initiative, creating healthier school environments for children.
Everyone at the schools – pupils, teachers and parents – will have the opportunity to get stuck in with planting events that will engage the whole school community.
Carys Alder, Trees for Cities’ Schools Programme Senior Manager said: “We are delighted to be supported by The Mohn Westlake Foundation and The Queen’s Green Canopy to design and deliver the first ‘Trees for Schools’ project. This initiative will transform urban school playgrounds into leafy green oases that nourish children’s health and wellbeing.
We have been engaging schools and inspiring children’s curiosity in the natural world at Trees for Cities with our school’s work for years, therefore we are positive that this project will instil a greater sense of pride in pupil’s’ education and school.”
Raynham Primary School in Enfield is also one of three ‘Trees for the Jubilee’ Playground flagship projects across England, Scotland and Wales, and will showcase the multiple benefits of nature-filled playgrounds in urban schools and will create a lasting legacy for The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and benefit future generations within inner cities across the UK.
Raynham Primary is in the heart of Enfield and the densely populated local area can result in poorer air quality and limited green space for children. The school is, therefore, excited to introduce this new healthier playground for its 700 pupils and to encourage more outdoor education and opportunities for children to play in nature.
When discussing the pupils’ wishes for the playground, the children asked for trees for shade, areas for storytelling, relaxing seating areas, insect homes and colourful flowers. The playground will also include a food growing area and orchard for learning, foraging and play.
In celebration of the launch of its new strategy, ‘Trees for Schools’ and the Jubilee Playground, Trees for Cities hosted a kick-off tree planting event at Raynham Primary on 1st November 2022. Funders, guests and mixed groups of pupils from across the school were all invited to get stuck in with the planting of four new heavy standard trees and plant lots of perennial and vegetable plants on the day.
This new playground will provide pupils with healthy beautiful areas for everyday connection to nature and support their health, wellbeing and education opportunities.
The Raynham Primary project was generously funded by Enfield Council via the GLA Superzones Project, The Mohn Westlake Foundation and Raynham Primary school. The Mohn Westlake Foundation is a lead supporter of ‘Trees for Schools’ – a UK wide programme to transform urban school grounds into leafy green oases for children’s health and wellbeing.