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Tutor Marina Levitina discussing the nature of the forest floor with pupils of Flagmount National School, who were taking part in a Forest School Initiative as part of Heritage In Schools. Photograph by John Kelly

GALLERY: Forest workshops beat back-to-school blues

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BACK to school blues were eased for the pupils of Flagmount National School with recent Forest School workshops in the leafy Lough Graney Valley.

The event, called Wild Plants Can Singwas part of the Forest School pilot project, funded by the Heritage in Schools Scheme.<

Workshops were facilitated by Marina Levitina and Áine Ní Flatharta. Children got an opportunity to spend time outdoors in nature, as part of an inspirational process that offers opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences among the trees.

Principal of Flagmount NS, Louise OKelly said the workshops were thoroughly enjoyed and very beneficial.

We are very fortunate to have Forest School in our parish,” she said.

“Forest School integrates wonderfully with all our subjects particularly Geography and Science. Unquestionably, Forest School brings Geography and Science to life outside the classroom, fostering a deeper connection with nature.

“This year, we also welcomed children from Ukraine to our school, nature is healing and spending time in nature has increased their wellbeing, motivation and confidence.’’ 

Forest School is child-led and promotes holistic development and helps build resilience, independence, creativity, empathy and care for the environment.

These sessions inspire children to connect with nature and with each other, through a variety of nature based activities such as nature games, plant and tree identification walks, nature crafts and much more.

The children who attend ‘Wild Plants Can Sing Forest School’ learn about local wildflowers and trees of the Lough Graney Valley in a fun and exciting way.

Marina Levitina is a certified Forest School leader and a Heritage in Schools specialist. A PhD holder, she is a founding member and chairperson of the Lough Grainey Nature Sanctuary. She is also a healer, and artist.

More details on Forest School workshops are available on

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