Trees for Cities has launched a campaign to place a copy of the children’s book, The Lost Words – which aims to summon back words pertaining to nature in the hearts and minds of children – into every state primary school in London.
The campaign, launched via Crowdfunder, aims to raise £15,000 by 7 November in an effort to help to re-green early years education in the capital city.
It comes after it was noted that the most recent edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary – widely used in primary schools across Britain – had dropped a number of common “nature words”. The deletions formed an almost A-to-Z of the natural world, 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 had been dropped because they were no longer being used enough by children or in the stories and the books they read to merit inclusion in the dictionary, which for many, signaled a gap that has opened between childhood and the natural world in the UK.
The omission of part of the natural world in the most recent edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary led to author Rob MacFarlane and illustrator Jackie Morris creating The Lost Words, a spell book that attempts to summon back these words into the minds of children.
Since its publication in 2015, campaigns have sprung up to place the book into every school, hospital, hospice, and care home up and down the UK. Communities and individuals have raised over £60,000 to achieve this, starting with a campaign for the whole of Scotland (more than 2500 primary schools).
Copies of the book have even been hand-delivered by bicycle (one man cycling 400 miles back and forth across Dorset), and by sea kayak to outlying island schools
And the revolution is spreading, with the book being adapted into a forest theatre performance, taken into inner-city settings, turned into film, folk music, dance, classical music. It will soon be published in North America, and European countries from Sweden to Germany.
Yet, to this point, no campaign has begun to bring The Lost Words ‘revolution’ to the whole of London. This is why Trees for Cities, with the backing of the Mayor of London’s office and renewable energy provider, has decided to work with Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris to place a copy of The Lost Words into every state primary school in London – more than 2500 of them.
David Elliott, Chief Executive of Trees for Cities, said: “The Lost Words has already inspired thousands of children and adults to rekindle a love of the natural world. At a time when children are spending less time outdoors, it makes perfect sense to bring this magical book to every school in the capital, so thousands more children can learn about all their natural surroundings have to offer.”
Bulb, will match every £1 donated, up to a total of £15,000.
If you want to support Trees for Cities’ campaign, The Lost Words for London primary schools, visit the organisation’s Crowdfunder page
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea