GROUP of children have had their first opportunity to experience a new ‘forest school’ at a special centre they attend in Flintshire.

Canolfan Enfys is a school in Mold for children between three and seven-years-old who could have additional needs that may impact their future education.

Recently, the centre unveiled a new forest school – complete with a wild hedgehog and some chickens - which has been designed to help the staff members and children alike.

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Canolfan Enfys, Mold

It is hoped that allowing the children to develop their social and learning skills in a holistic way will support staff members to establish what form of education is best for children after they leave Canolfan Enfys.

Several planned sessions take place in the forest school each week, with children and staff partaking in a range of different activities including cooking sausages, marshmallows and bread on the fire pit, amongst other things in the wide outdoor area.

Miki Danion and Lee McNamee, the two forest practitioners at Canolfan Enfys, said: “A lot of it is just communication and being outside.

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Canolfan Enfys learning manager Carol Speed (left) with the two forest practitioners Lee McNamee and Miki Danion, and Paul Islip of the Flint and Holywell Rotary Club

“There’s lots of learning that can happen out here for the children, with much of it being around problem solving.

“Now, it’s just a case of maintaining it and watching it grow. It looks better now that it’s wilder and more like what we envisaged at the start of this project.”

And after a fresh group of youngsters started at the centre earlier this month, they are already seeing the benefits of the outdoor area.

The centre’s learning manager Carol Speed said: “Some of our children have anxiety or behaviour problems and are very limited.

“But when they’re out in the forest school we can engage with them much more than we sometimes can inside the building.

“It wouldn’t have been possible without the Rotary Club, it just wouldn’t have happened without them. Now, thanks to their efforts our children have a little sanctuary.”

The forest school was unveiled earlier in the year following an exhaustive three-year project which was managed by the Flint and Holywell Rotary Club.

The outdoor area was brought to life by the selfless combined efforts of a number of Flintshire-based groups and businesses.

The Leader: Work being carried out at Canolfan Enfys to create a new forest school.Work being carried out at Canolfan Enfys to create a new forest school.

Paul Islip of the Rotary Club added: “It’s all those companies that came together to do it all.

“It’s one of the longest projects we’ve been involved in because we couldn’t just buy an instant forest. But seeing it now makes it all completely worth it.”

The project was funded by the Flint and Holywell Rotary Club, with support from: Mold Lions, Hollingsworth Group, Puritan Stone, Westbridge Furniture, Thorncliffe Builders Merchants, Simon O`Rourke, P&A Group and Truwood Furniture.

The Leader: The state of the Canolfan Enfys grounds before (left) and after (right) the work was carried out. The state of the Canolfan Enfys grounds before (left) and after (right) the work was carried out.

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