Each Friday in the school term, The MERL garden becomes home to Friday Fledglings, the museum’s under 5s group. The garden transforms into a place of discovery and play, filled with activities that introduce the children the natural world.
As part of Our Green Stories (Museums Partnership Reading‘s environment-themed campaign exploring climate change and sustainability through our collections), we’re thrilled to be expanding our outdoor learning offer with a new session for slightly older children: Green Explorers. Like Friday Fledglings, these sessions will be delivered by Charlotte, a local environmental education teacher and Level 3 Forest Leader.
In this blog, hear from Charlotte about what Green Explorers involves. Learn about how the sessions relate to the work of the museum, and find out what participants can look forward to exploring in the months ahead!
What is Green Explorers?
CHARLOTTE: Green Explorers is a new session for children aged five and above where they can discover the great outdoors from the museum garden. They will learn about the many living things within the garden–from creatures to plants–and gain knowledge and skills that will help them champion the natural world in the future.
These sessions build on how much we’ve loved bringing Friday Fledglings to our under 5s. The sessions are perfect for children progressing from Friday Fledglings, but children won’t need to have previously attended Fledglings. Everyone is welcome!
What kinds of themes will the sessions explore?
CHARLOTTE: Each Green Explorers session will explore a different theme related to the environment, our collections, and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (which form a framework for the Our Green Stories campaign).
In February’s session, for example, we learnt about the different animals that live in the garden, using identification skills to follow their tracks and uncover clues of animal life. In others, our activities will range from baking to crafting and making, and more, all while gaining experience with different tools, developing new skills, and enjoying ourselves in the museum garden.
For the children, it means the sessions will enable them to explore the rural history shared throughout the galleries in a more participatory and hands-on way!
How are the sessions structured?
CHARLOTTE: The sessions will have a similar structure each time. We’ll begin with some shelter building, which–as well as being enjoyable–means we’ll always have somewhere to go if it gets wet or cold and a safe and dry place to keep our bags. Then, we’ll dive into the theme-specific activities, alongside breaks and snack times.
What excites you the most about Green Explorers?
CHARLOTTE: It’s the chance to help children discover the invisible threads that connect all nature – across Reading and beyond. Through exploring these, we hope that Green Explorers will empower the children to embark on a path where they will care about the environment and feel confident of being able to make a difference in the future.
After the difficult conditions of COVID-19, we’re also thrilled to offer older children this chance to explore and enjoy the outdoors at The MERL. The first sessions have been brilliant, and we’re so excited to continue in the coming months.