Nestled in the heart of the New Forest you’ll find the inspiring Minstead Study Centre, a unique learning experience for day and stay children as well as adult community weekend events.
Set in the old Victorian school and surrounded by five acres of stunning woodland, July 14th marks the centres 50th anniversary. This beautiful outdoor classroom annually welcomes more than 2,500 children to learn to value the New Forest and live more lightly on Planet Earth. This is highlighted in the ‘Earth Secrets Project’ – a two and a half day residential programme for primary school children carefully crafted to explore seven themes: Biodiversity, Energy, Water, RRR, Food & Farming, Rich World Poor World and Transport.
At the helm, and Head of the Centre, is Jane Pownall, who took over more than 25 years ago and made the big jump from it being a HCC funded establishment to a successful self financing business unit.
“Minstead Study Centre was created with the philosophy of creating a hands on fun learning experience – 50 years later we are more committed than ever to this and have taken the ethos to a whole other level.
“Over the years we have grown, developed, won awards and inspired both children and adults. Complementing the national curriculum and creating a real niche learning experience – we are all incredibly proud of what we have and continue to achieve.”
A Minstead Study Centre Stay
A stay at Minstead will be choreographed around a class’s current topic (core subjects include geography, science, art, drama, music and religion) – this could be anything from an eco-warrior, Celt or Viking to a Greek God, rainforest aboriginal or even fairy folk. Everything for the children’s stay or day trip is designed around the story they are studying – now fully immersed in a wonderful world of learning the subject comes alive! From laying the tables at breakfast to cleaning and tidying and walking in the woods the subject matter is hand in hand with Minstead’s consideration for the world.
“Recently a class of children stayed and studied the ‘Earths Secrets Project’ the children were as thrilled as the teachers!” says Jane.
Taking care to recognise and maintain its philosophy – caring the for Earth whilst making and creating a hands-on experience, is basic yet powerful foundation which makes the Minstead Study Centre so very special!