RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch, 2 January-23 February 2018
Early Years children across the UK will have the chance to see some very special bird-like creatures this spring term.
The RSPB has partnered with CBeebies favourites Twirlywoos for the 2018 RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch to encourage very young children to engage with nature and the great outdoors.
Best of all, it takes just one hour and it’s free to every nursery, playgroup, school, childminder and child carer in the UK.
The birdwatch, which takes place during the first half of spring term (2 January-23 February), is the biggest wildlife survey in schools. Children are asked to spend just one hour watching and recording the birds in their outdoor space, then send their results to the RSPB.
Settings that register for the Big Schools’ Birdwatch will be able to enjoy lots of online Twirlywoos activities and resources specifically tailored to Early Years, including lesson plans, counting charts, stories and arts and crafts, to help get your Birdwatch off to a flying start.
Every Early Years setting that submits its results will also receive a personalised certificate, a wildlife poster and Twirlywoos stickers, as well as being entered into a free prize draw to win a visit from Chickedy and Chick.
73,000 children and teachers across all age groups took part in the birdwatch in 2017 counting more than 100,000 birds. Now in its 16th year, the survey helps to track numbers of birds in outdoor areas and school grounds, providing an insight into which species are doing well or not so well and brings children closer to nature.
The blackbird remained the most common visitor for the ninth year in succession with over 88% schools spotting at least one. The top three was rounded off by starling and woodpigeon.
Since its launch in 2002, more than 70 different species have been recorded in school grounds, ranging from starlings and house sparrows, to red kites and green woodpeckers.
Big Schools’ Birdwatch is a fun and educational activity. It’s flexible enough to fit into a lesson or during lunchtime and links well to the Early Years curriculum or project work. It also provides valuable information on how some of our familiar birds are doing.
The Birdwatch takes just one hour and Early Years practitioners can pick any day during the first half of spring term to take part. It works across a wide age and ability range and there’s plenty of flexibility to run it as simply as they would like either as the centrepiece of cross-curricular studies, project work, or a way to improve their outdoor space.
Everything an Early Years setting will need to take part is available to download from the RSPB website. Visit: rspb.org.uk/schoolswatchearlyyears.
You can also hear from lower school teacher Kate Sefton on what it’s like to take part in Big Schools’ Birdwatch.
Follow @RSPB_Learning for the latest Big Schools’ Birdwatch news