At the weekend I asked my daughter how her wildlife club at school was doing. ‘Fine’ she said. All available 16 spots on this little club had been filled and demand was high.
Back at the start of term in early January I came home to find her working on the creation of an A3 poster and membership cards for everyone in a new wildlife club that she wanted to set up at school. This act of spontaneity made me smile and feel really proud. I just love it when kids use their vivid imagination to create something so powerful and so inspiring without any prompting from parents or teachers.
She talked me through the poster – the rules, the sign up list and what they’d be doing – which was beautifully illustrated (she loves drawing birds, butterflies and flowers). The membership cards, lovingly cut out, even had a password (a well-known beetle spelt backwards). When everything had been finished she asked her teacher if she could pop the poster on the door of the classroom, encouraging her school friends to sign up. The answer was an emphatic ‘yes’ and its now become part of school life for her friends.
Interest was brisk and the wildlife club now meets regularly in the playground at break time or lunch time to discuss what wildlife they’ve seen or facts that they have learnt about the natural world. Most of the discussion seems to be about what they have seen at home, in the park or on the route to school; keeping it local and encouraging them to explore where they live.
For me this shows that kids have a natural fascination with nature. It doesn’t take much to get them interested and there is something really appealing to them about wildlife; and the great thing is that it doesn’t have to be something really rare, it could be a wood lice, common garden bird or the moss on a tree.
I think that the real strength of this little wildlife club is that it has been designed by a child for children. It’s not some top-down, over thought out proposition but something that is really simple and has that appeal of coming from their peer group. All it took was the idea in the first place, some plain white paper, lots of creativity and some colouring pens.