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North Wales - They're not out of the woods yet

A study into how woodland lessons can affect pupils' lifestyle choices is being carried out in north Wales.

Eighteen pupils from Ysgol Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd near Ruthin are spending one day a week in their local woods as part of a year-long Forest School programme run by Forestry Commission Wales.

Five of the children, aged seven and eight, are being evaluated to see what effect attending Forest School has on them. The evaluation started last October and the children have already mastered outdoor skills, including how to light and extinguish fires safely and how to cook garlic bread and Welsh cakes on an open woodland fire.

Researchers are studying improvements in the pupils' confidence, motor, social and communication skills and monitoring how the programme improves their understanding of trees and woodlands.

They will also look at how the skills the pupils pick up on the programme are transferred into their daily activities in school and at home, and whether they are influenced to consider a career working in woods or with wood.

The school is due to be inspected by Estyn this month and the inspectors will attend one of the Forest School sessions. DE.

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