Children from Sunnylands Primary in Carrickfergus have been engaging with the natural environment in very familiar surrounds.
During National School Grounds Week, pupils have been getting help to build dens, play traditional games and to make their school garden more pollination-friendly and insect-friendly.
Outdoor play and education is an extremely important part of children’s livesCllr Billy Ashe
The UK-wide initiative is supported by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.
MEA Mayor Councillor Billy Ashe commented: “This year’s theme ‘pollination’ is also perfect for us as we are committed to protecting and promoting biodiversity and are keen to provide opportunities for play and creativity in a natural environment.
“We hope to send the message that outdoor play and education is an extremely important part of children’s lives. What better way to do so than by ‘pollinating’ their young minds with ideas about the importance of biodiversity while at the same time supporting National School Grounds Week again.
“For some children, school grounds may be the only open green space they have access to. Numerous studies have linked both children’s physical health - with current concerns around childhood obesity, unhealthy diets and lack of exercise - and children’s mental health, well-being, learning and development to access to outdoor space.
“Outdoor play is extremely important for children as they build cognitive skills and begin to make sense of the world.”
Alison Diver, Growing Communities officer and Denise McVeigh, Physical Activity leader, have been leading the Sunnylands activities.
Denise has been den building and playing traditional games with Alison responsible for making the school garden more insect friendly and making bee-homes.
Television naturalist, Sir David Attenborough, who also supports the campaign, said: “School grounds are critical to the next generation’s connection with nature.
“If children do not grow up knowing and appreciating nature, then they will not understand its value and why they need to protect it. And if they do not protect it - who will?”