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27th April 2020

An online countryside classroom offers lessons on the three F’s

Children of all ages are being invited to learn all about food, farming and forestry from their own homes via a range of online activities developed by the Englefield Estate.

The Estate, which runs its Countryside Days for Schools for thousands of schoolchildren across Berkshire and Hampshire each summer, has produced a series of downloadable activity sheets covering topics including arable farming, bird watching, wildlife and plants, to provide a fascinating and entertaining resource for parents and guardians home-schooling their children.

Produced by Englefield Estate’s Community and Education Officer Dr Liz Mattison, the activity sheets are designed to help children discover the natural world from their own homes and gardens. Liz said: “With many parents and guardians now teaching their children at home, we wanted to do what we could to help at this tough time.

“The Englefield Estate is proud to support schools and groups across our community and, in usual circumstances, we would be busy welcoming young people to the Estate throughout the spring and summer. While we’re all staying safe at home, we hope these worksheets will keep young minds active and thinking about the world around them. Instead of the three R’s, children will have the opportunity to learn about the three F’s – food, farming and forestry!”

Dr Mattison gained a PhD in agricultural ecology at the University of Reading. Her research has focussed on farmers’ land-management objectives and how these link to wildlife and sustainability, including bird populations, wildflower meadows, biofuels and soils.

Richard Benyon, Chairman of Englefield Estate, said: “We are sad to have had to cancel Countryside Days for Schools this year, the first time we have done so in its 21-year history, to ensure everyone’s safety during the pandemic. Whilst we can’t offer a hands-on learning experience as usual, these sheets are a great way for children to enjoy learning about the countryside and what is involved in helping to make it a great place to live, work and play.”

Liz added: “I am a parent myself, so understand how challenging it can be to keep children engaged. All of the sheets have been designed to be done at home or in the garden as a family, and to be both fun and educational.”

To download the worksheets, visit www.englefieldestate.co.uk/community/outreach.

Photo by Chris Forsey.