It was all smiles at Kingspark School this week as pupils welcomed a special delivery from the Scottish Wildlife Trust.
Pupils at the Dundee school took delivery of several bird boxes which were donated by the charity, who have been working with Kingspark for more than a decade.
It’s hoped the boxes will attract more wildlife to the school’s garden space and, with at least one of them having a camera inside, allow the pupils to see the birds develop from chicks through to adulthood.
Headteacher Paul Dow said: “It’s about engaging with nature for learning and trying to maximise the outdoor space.
“It’s something we were already looking to develop but Covid-19 spurred us on because our ability to go further afield has been severely restricted.”
As with every other school across the country, Kingspark has had to contend with the challenges posed by the pandemic in the last year.
One of the positives, however, has been the opportunity to look at the different ways in which learning can be delivered – including utilising the school grounds.
Nicki Brownlee, who is the principal teacher of the practical and aesthetics department, said: “Using the outdoor space is about more than just health and wellbeing, it’s also about using it for learning and teaching as well.
“The S3s were planting potatoes last week and it was a whole maths lesson.
“They brought out all their rulers and were measuring things so there was lots of learning going on.”
The bird boxes will form part of a long term vision from the school to develop its outdoor space into an area that will help pupils not just with their learning but also allow them to gain lifelong skills.
Nicki explained: “Some of the young people here have taken a real interest to being outside so it’s looking at pathways for them to go onto college and thinking maybe it could be a job for them to do.
“It started off with the garden and just a few raised beds which have now got quite big.
“We’ve managed to do an enterprise project with it, selling our produce in school, and we are hoping to make that bigger with it going to the wider community.
“It’s a project that’s in its infancy but it’s growing.”
The ultimate goal is to see Kingspark have its very own shop which will be stocked with produce grown at the school and which senior pupils will help run.
Paul said: “We are looking to build a shop where our senior phase children can learn the different roles that go with growing the produce, selling and marketing it as well.
“Getting all those life skills that come with it so when they leave Kingspark, they can potentially gain meaningful employment in an environment that will support them.
“That’s a five-year-long project though, but we can see how it works and it’s about developing this space and engaging with nature for learning.”
Nicki added: “It’s sometimes difficult to give them the experiences to communicate with the public, so to have those skills is good.”