Pupils at Essex school remember nature’s lost words

“Once upon a time, words began to vanish from the language of children. They disappeared so quietly that at first almost no one noticed – until one day, they were gone.

But there is an old kind of magic for finding what is missing, and for summoning what has vanished. If the right spells are spoken, the lost words might return…” The Lost Words, by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris.

Changes to the Oxford Junior Dictionary have meant that many words depicting British nature and wildlife have been removed – from ‘Bluebell’ to ‘Bramble’, ‘Raven’ to ‘Wren’, these words have been replaced with the likes of ‘broadband’ and ‘voicemail’.

To ensure these words aren’t lost from children’s vocabularies and they will still recognise a Kingfisher or an Adder, Essex Wildlife Trust launched an appeal to make sure children’s connection with nature is bound, not broken. Essex Wildlife Trust is working to give every child in Essex access to The Lost Words, by ensuring the books is in all 800 schools in Essex. Last week, the first copy of the book along with a special school assembly led by the charity’s education team was delivered to Towers Infant School in Hornchurch. The pupils were inspired by the magical wildlife spells and poems from the book and now own a copy so that children year on year can be inspired and educated about the incredible wildlife in Essex.

It is hard to believe that words that were once commonly used, such as ‘Conker’ and ‘Acorn’, have been forgotten and that many children are not able to name the plants and animals around them. We hope that, with the generous support of our members and the people of Essex, we can achieve our goal and provide a copy of the beautiful Lost Words book to the 800 schools across Essex. We hope that our Lost Words assemblies and wider education work will help to bring these lost words back to life.

Thank you to everyone who has supported the Essex Wildlife Trust appeal so far, if you would like to help keep the magic of our natural world alive by ensuring every school in Essex has a copy of The Lost Words book visit www.essexwt.org.uk/lostwords.

Lost Words

Pupils at Towers Infant School receiving a copy of the Lost Words book.