Wildlife Discoveries & Habitats at Sandwell Valley
So, you’re thinking of a trip to fit in with your science topic: Habitats. Where could you find a place that’s easy to get to; that has water creatures, meadow minibeasts, woodland and birds; a modern classroom with possibly the best view in Birmingham and functioning toilets?
“The staff and volunteers made our experience memorable and informative and could answer all questions.”
RSPB Sandwell Valley offer a variety of different educational programmes suitable for all primary key stages. Our cross-curricular sessions present a chance to learn through a range of vocational forms, including hands on outdoor activities, crafts and games. Our education team offer expert natural history knowledge to ensure your school has the high-quality experience you deserve.
What to expect from your visit?
You start your RSPB Sandwell Valley experience with our friendly office staff, either at the end of an email or telephone. Our helpful team will assist you alongside your booking and any query you may have to help you set-up the ideal day for your school and pupils.
Eventually the day arrives, and you arrive to find a smiling welcome at the gates and after a brief introduction to your day – and any impromptu toilet breaks – you’re off!
The morning session could start with Pond Dipping, which is adapted into ‘Discovering Pond Minibeasts’ for EYFS and KS1 or ‘Pond Habitat Study’ for KS2. As one of our most popular sessions, there is always a guarantee of gleeful shouts and the sudden exciting competition of who can find the most Newts or who can collect the biggest amount of pond weed at once. Of course, what we’ve found is that those amazed shouts aren’t just from the students. Teachers and assistants alike could leave at the end of the day with new experiences and facts on a new species or maybe a new outlook on an animal they had before feared. Because after all, why should the kids have all the fun?
Sooner or later, stomachs are bound to grumble, so back off to Nature’s Reach Visitor Centre for a well-deserved bite to eat. However, the learning doesn’t stop, as while eating you and the wide-eyed children can look out over the reserve through the expansive wall of windows and maybe even spot a bird or two at our feeders, not forgetting the mischievous squirrels!
The afternoon session could kick off with a scavenger hunt. ‘Living Things and their Habitats’ gives you the chance to explore the reserve and try your hand at multiple activities. Your trail will encourage your pupils to get to grips with identifying animal and plant characteristics in the meadow, understanding the stages of a food chain, and let them experience 3 different habitats all at once. Along with the chance to burn off some energy, find hidden surprises and carry a clipboard – what more could a child want?
And then as quickly as the day begins, its time to leave but not without some parting stickers, a friendly wave and a brief thank you for coming to visit.
What else can you do?
Of course, this is only a glimpse at what could await you at RSPB Sandwell Valley. We offer a range of environmental education sessions for EYFS, KS1 and KS2, including adapting these sessions for older students, who have additional needs studying at these levels. While ‘Pond Minibeasts’ and ‘Living Things and their Habitats’ are two of our most popular bookings, our programmes spread to discovering the world of minibeasts with ‘Discovering and Investigating Minibeasts’; becoming a budding geologist with ‘KS2 Rocks and Soils’; scoping out the world of plants with ‘KS1 Plant Detectives’ and exploring the senses in ‘KS1/EYFS Seasonal Sensory Walk’.
“Fantastic experiences for all. Lots of interactive and “hands on” experiences to fully engage the children. Wonderful; experiential at it’s best!”
Programmes such as ‘Brilliant Birds’ introduces Early Years and Key Stage 1 to the world of birds, putting them in the same habitat as the species they study. Familiarising them with the songs and tweets they may hear every day or allowing them to get an up-close encounter with, what might be their first, nest or feather. And although the birds may change, we can keep you up to date and enjoying these species throughout the year.
Additionally, ‘River investigation’ is perfect for Key Stage 2, allowing them to carry out their own science experiment on the River Tame that runs along the nature reserve. Combining their science, maths and geography skills, ‘River Investigation’ can fit in throughout the year, whether it’s introducing them to the topic of rivers to begin their term or coming in, full of knowledge, at the end. But this is Britain? The land of untameable weather and looming clouds. Sandwell has you covered – literally! Here at RSPB Sandwell we have a spacious indoor classroom to shelter from the elements for both lunch and transporting the outside inside. Our visitor centre, Nature’s Reach, boasts a full set of amenities from running toilets, educational resources and complimentary hot drinks for the adults. The majority of our sessions are on offer all year round, so whether wellies or sunglasses are needed you can be sure you’ll be leaving with smiles and plenty to talk about next lesson….and maybe even the odd stray handful of bird feed in tow.
“Booking Procedure very efficient, visit outstanding. Excellent range of activities, children gained a variety of hands on experience that related to our school work. Thank you for a fantastic day. All staff/volunteers were so knowledgeable and made the activities accessible to a variety of abilities.”
If you are interested in hearing a bit more about how RSPB can help you with planning your next school trip then why not get in touch here.
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