Pond at the Nature Discovery Centre. Photo by Liz Child.
A journey of learning and discovery at the Nature Discovery Centre
Welcome to the Nature Discovery Centre
Explore the beautiful reserve which is teeming with wildlife. The network of habitats includes lakes, woodlands, hedges, grassland and specially-protected areas of inland reedbeds which are the largest of their kind in Southern England. It’s a fascinating place to visit year-round.
Discover that whatever the season, The Nature Discovery Centre is the ideal place to visit for a day of learning outside the classroom. Our schools programme provides exciting hands-on opportunities for children to experience a magical learning adventure.
Understand why there has never been a more important time to take children outdoors to enjoy nature and reconnect with the natural world. Our activities are planned to reach children through their heads, hearts and hands to promote all-round understanding.
We are open for pre-booked groups all year round. Trips usually run from 10–2.30, but can be flexible. We request a donation of £6 per child. Minimum donation of £100 per group. The reserve is open to the public daily, and the Nature Discovery Centre is open to the public daily except Mondays.
All our programmes offer links with Science and Geography, and excellent opportunities for developing literacy and numeracy skills. Each programme will be tailored to the age and ability of your group. There will be a variety of activities to help children learn in different ways, with lots of opportunities for hands-on engagement at a range of levels. We provide high quality indoor and outdoor resources, including varied teaching spaces, specialist science equipment and a diversitu of habitats. Sessions are enjoyable, inspiring, exciting and fun.
Teddy Bears’ Woodland Adventure
Foundation Stage & Key Stage 1
Children are invited byTeddy Edward to bring their teddies to have an adventure in the woods and learn the secrets of how wild animals survive. Put on a teddy disguise and help save the trees from the woodcutter! Exciting hands-on activities build confidence in being outdoors and help children understand the needs of life. Create a rainbow teddy using the colours of the woodland to take home.
Reception and KS1
Experience the world through the eyes, noses, ears and paws of different animals. Discover how moles find their way in the dark and learn about sparrowhawks' keen eyesight. Find out about badger's brilliant sense of smell and foxes' fantastic sense of hearing. Take part in a sensory scavenger hunt or a production of Nature's Theatre and hold baby insects to see their unusual sense organs close up!
Reception and KS1
Choose from 'Spring into Summer', 'Summer Fun' and ' Getting Ready for Winter'. Learn about the cycle of the seasons and the important changes taking place in the natural world. Explore, through fun games, hands-on activities, role play and art, ways in which animals and plants adjust to the ever-changing environment.
Early Years, KS1 and KS2
Meet a medley of minibeasts and learn what makes them different from the other animals at the Nature Discovery Centre. Options for Early Years include: bug hunts, stories, learning to care for the little creatures, counting minibeast body parts and creative fun. KS1 and KS2 options include: invertebrate identification (keys), lifecycles, pollination, food chains and adaptations.
Key Stage 1 & 2
Get first-hand experience of the creatures that live in The Nature Discovery Centre’s varied habitats. Catch minibeasts in the meadow with sweep nets, use bug-hunting kits in the woodland and go pond-dipping. Learn how to identify and name your catch! Find out about food chains and about how animals are suited to the place they live.
Upper KS1 and KS2
Learn about the life cycle for plants: explore the woodland to find seeds and discover how they are dispersed; make a paper plant pot and sow seeds to watch them grow at school; dissect flowers to find eggs and pollen, then dress up as a bee to pollinate a flower. The session also introduces tree identification using charts and keys in our 'Secret Names of Trees' game.
Upper KS1 and KS2
Discover a world of wetland creatures and watery features exploring the Nature Discovery Centre's lakes, streams and pond. Children can enjoy an exciting walk between lake and stream exploring 'the journey of a river'. Find footprints in Butterfly Lake to identify which animals use and live in the water world and pond dip to see the aqutatic species close up. Scienfic investigations in Cold Ash stream include velocity, temperature and kick sampling.
For more information on any of the programmes or to book please contact us on 01635 874381 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where to find us
The Nature Discovery Centre
Muddy Lane, Lower Way
The Centre is off Lower Way in Thatcham, easily accessible from the A4 and close to Newbury. Postcode: RG19 3FU.
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