Councillor Andrew Achilleos has teamed up with Trees for Cities to deliver a magical book called The Lost Words along with teaching resources form the John Muir Trust to every primary school and SEND school in Barking and Dagenham.
Since the books release in 2015 a revolution has taken place across the United Kingdom with people crowdfunding to ensure that it is made available to all children of primary school age.
The most recent edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary dropped a number of common ‘nature words’ including acorn, adder, bluebell, buttercup, dandelion, fern, heron, kingfisher, lark, newt, otter, wren and willow. The words taking their places in the new edition included attachment, block-graph, blog, broadband, bullet-point, celebrity, chatroom, committee, cut-and-paste, MP3 player and voice-mail.
These words signalled a gap that has formed between childhood and the natural world in Britain. In response to this in 2015, author Rob MacFarlane and illustrator Jackie Morris created The Lost Words, a magnificent feat of visual and linguistic natural art that might summon back these words into the minds of children.
Last year Trees for Cities launched an ambitious crowdfunder project to raise enough money to deliver the book to every primary school in London. They fell just short of their target but secured the funds to bring the book to Barking and Dagenham.
Cllr Achilleos has been liaising with Trees for Cities and the author Robert MacFarlane and is now fundraising to print and deliver the 32 page John Muir teaching resource alongside the book.
Councillor Achilleos said: “This is an incredibly important project and I’m urging residents to give what they can towards the target. I fundamentally believe that people rarely appreciate or care for things that they do not know, or have not experienced, and if our young people do not experience the natural world at an early age they will not move to protect it in the future.
“The Lost Words is a marvellous feat of linguistic and artistic talent and conjures up vivid images of the natural world that will enrich any child’s understanding of the world around them.”
A crowdfunder has been launched to raise £320 which will be enough to professionally produce the teaching resources that go alongside the book. You can donate here: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk.