Radevormwald: Forest group makes children more relaxed

The primary school association Bergerhof-Wupper in Radevormwald
Forest group makes children more relaxed

The forest OGS in Bergerhof-Wupper primary school network in Bergerhof has got a new home: The room behind the gymnasium on Lessingstrasse was renovated and rebuilt for the children for 27,000 euros.

Usually the children in the forest do NOT stay in the enclosed space for long. Her element is the great outdoors, the forest. After a strenuous day of teaching, lunch together and homework done, the children rush off to their special afternoon care and explore the local forest with trained nature educators, cut spoons out of branches, make crafts with natural materials and learn playfully about the importance. of and how to deal with nature.

Unlike normal OGS, director Sarah Riewe has noticed that the children in the forest version are much more relaxed. “In the beginning, they can not deal with so much nature, because they just do not know. But after that they become completely immersed in it ”; she says. Together with three other colleagues, she took a further education as a nature educator during the pandemic and has been offering this special care since last summer.

    Working for the environment (from left): Regina Hildebrandt, Sarah Riewe, Ramona Helmich with Paul and Mika.

Working for the environment (from left): Regina Hildebrandt, Sarah Riewe, Ramona Helmich with Paul and Mika.
Photo: Cristina Segovia-Buendia

There are not many of these forests OGS in NRW, emphasizes Jürgen Funke, head of the school authority. Maybe two or three, and these are not even in the immediate vicinity of the mountain town, which has two of them, namely both places in the Bergerhof-Wupper primary school network. They were set up last summer due to an increased need for care. There are 15 children in each group who exclusively cater to 1st graders who have a maximum of four school hours a day and can finish lunch and homework earlier, which means they can also spend more time in the afternoon care.

The special thing about the OGS forest groups is, in addition to the special nature pedagogy, that the groups have few space requirements, as they still spend 90 percent of their time outdoors. But the children still need a safe place to retreat to, for example to change before the forest adventure or in the afternoons where there is a storm and thunder, explains OGS chief Sarah Riewe, who makes it clear that they also go out , when it rains.

The small group on Bergerhof Square has now decorated their new home in a light-filled adjoining room in the gymnasium on Lessingstrasse, opposite the Bergerhof primary school. A room that has been unused for years due to mold, and which has now been upgraded by the city for the purpose, explains Sonja Fuchs, head of administration and finance at the city’s building management. “We removed the mold, replaced the floor and insulated the building from moisture.” A forced ventilation system was also set up, the entire electrical system was renewed and the sanitary facilities were replaced, says Fuchs. “Of course there was also a new coat of paint and the property has now been fenced off for the safety of the children.” The city invested a total of 27,000 euros in renovation, remodeling and interior design of the new room, 85 percent. of which was financed by the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia.

In addition to the OGS forest group, the athletes from TV Herbeck also use the room as a clubhouse. A good symbiosis, Riewe thinks. Due to the different usage times – OGS maximum during the week until kl. 16, TV Herbeck during the week more late in the afternoon and in the evening as well as on the weekend – the two beneficiaries of the new premises do not get in each other’s way at all. On the contrary, they benefit from each other, Riewe explains. “It has been agreed that TV Herbeck can use our material when children are in the clubhouse, and conversely we can also use the equipment they have installed here, such as table football and darts. It works very well. ”

The forest OGS is an absolute highlight for the children, as confirmed by Mia (6) and Paul (7): “We spend a lot outside and bake stick bread over the fire,” says Mia. “And we cut a spoon out of wood and burned a hole in it with glowing embers,” says Paul. The two look forward to the new adventures that await them in the afternoon after school. “Of course I look forward. It is always very fun here, ”explains Paul.

The forest OGS will soon have another feature: In collaboration with the city’s environmental manager, Regina Hildebrandt, and with active support from the construction site, Sarah Riewe and her colleague Ramona Helmich will create a fairytale garden from the lush green area in front. of the new home. “We were asked by Mrs Riewe if we could help with the implementation of her ideas, and we are very happy to do so,” says Hildebrandt. A barefoot path, a campfire corner and a mud corner are planned, as well as fruit hedges, insect hotels and bee-troughs. A herb bed must also be made and rain barrels set up so that the children can water their beds themselves. Two fruit trees have already been planted, a cherry and a pear tree, which are expected to bear fruit in two years.

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