Since 2014, Classroom in the Woods has given over 6,000 young people the opportunity to learn in the great outdoors, inspiring school children from nursery-age to Year 6, in both their school and everyday lives. Grace Robinson moved back from London to join the family business, helping to develop the family’s Ashby-cum-Fenby working farm into a unique, rural educational experience.
What is the mission of
Classroom in the Woods?
The mission of the Classroom in the Woods is pretty simple. We want to bring learning back alive. We want children to be surrounded by nature, learning in a hands-on environment. Learning about Florence Nightingale, for example, becomes far more real when the children are actually out in a field attempting to build a field hospital, making stretchers and carrying their wounded soldiers. It has far more meaning than in a typical classroom environment. We want children to be able to access the outdoors but in a controlled environment, which always has education as its main focus. It is amazing how many children have no idea where their food comes from and that the main purpose of a farm is to produce food. I hope that children remember coming to the Classroom, and that it inspires them in some way, either in School or in their everyday lives.
Why did you want to come back to Grimsby and join the family business?
I had the best three years in London at University, but I always knew I would come home. If it taught me one thing, it’s that I’m a country/seaside girl at heart and being in a city really wasn’t for me. Grimsby is home for me and having grown up in a family business based in the heart of Grimsby, I love this place and it has something really special. We are so lucky to be so close to Cleethorpes, and yet the Lincolnshire Wolds are just a stone’s throw away. I love seeing the world, but coming home is always the best feeling! Working with your family is hard, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. When I was away at Uni, I was on the phone
What is your
favourite part about what you do?
That’s an easy question! Walking into the woods when we have a group of children with us at the classroom, and they are off doing an activity. Listening and watching the magic that being outside seems to create. I can’t really describe it but it’s just really special. The way the children seem to communicate with each other, and their excitement when they achieve something they didn’t think they could. Richard and I always stand next to the coach saying goodbye when they leave, and they will quite often say ‘that was the best day ever!’ I don’t think that will ever get old. If 30 children leave the Classroom with 30 different stories going home to parents, I always think if we can inspire just one of them, it will make it all worthwhile.
Why is it important for children in the Grimsby area to experience the outdoors and have access to forest schools?
The majority of children do not have enough interaction with the outdoors. It amazes me how many children come to us at the Classroom from Grimsby who