A geography topic came to life when Newcastle school children exchanged their classrooms for a tropical rainforest. The Year 3 and 4 pupils from St Catherine’s Primary School spent the day at the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, where they explored the building and grounds, and interacted with some of the inhabitants.

The rainforest is the geography topic that both Year 3 and 4 have just started in class,” explained Year 4 teacher Emily Barnes, who accompanied the group, along with Year 3 teacher Alys Haddow and some parent volunteers.

The children were able to explore the indoor rainforest and complete a scavenger hunt, even going to the top of the building to oversee the rainforest’s emergent layer,” she continued. “They also got the opportunity to explore the rest of the museum’s exhibitions.

The Winter Gardens, which opened in 2001, features over 2,000 tropical plants, housed in a glass rotunda, while a tree-top walkway provides visitors with a bird’s eye view of the surrounding Mowbray Park.

The youngsters enjoyed some hands-on activities during their visit, and had the chance to get creative – as well as to meet some rainforest dwellers.

The children also got to take part in an art workshop,” said Miss Barnes. “Children were able to sketch different leaves and then come back together to create colourful artwork using the rainforest as their inspiration. The children in Year 4 were lucky enough to feed the giant rainforest fish at the end, which the children loved. They also loved completing their scavenger hunt and finding all the different things around the museum.

St Catherine’s, which is part of the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust, has organised visits to the museum and gardens before.

Trips like this are immensely important, because they give all children an opportunity to learn in a way that suits them,” added Miss Barnes. “Also, members of the public commented on how well behaved the children were. We were incredibly proud.

Article created on behalf of Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust by Barking Dog Media. For more information email: david@barkingdogmedia.co.uk or call 07754 271086.