Skip to content
  1. Do it online
  2. Login
  3. Have your say
  4. My Durham

Programmes for primary schools


Our primary workshops provide creative learning opportunities outside the classroom, which are incredibly important to a child's continuing development and curious mind.

See our School workshops at Hardwick and Wharton Park that are now available for booking.

Key Stage One

When children reach years one and two, we believe that creative learning opportunities outside the classroom are incredibly important to a child's continuing development and curious mind. Our workshops combine the key curricular learning objectives with inventive and practical tasks that continue to encourage a love of learning, imaginative play and the environment around us.

A great resource for life-cycles and habitats

Both parks have a great number of plants, trees, flowers and fungi. They have a varied range of habitats that provide homes to many different animal species. These unique environments provide a great resource to explore animals in their habitats, life-cycles and minibeasts, plant and tree identification as well as classification of both animals and plants.

Cross-curricular learning

Observing and recording seasonal change has never been easier than when visiting Wharton and Hardwick Park as they adapt and transform throughout the year. During our seasonal workshops we merge clues to seasonal change with an opportunity to explore shape, pattern, colour and texture through practical and meaningful tasks. Communicating our observations also plays a crucial role as children are encouraged to demonstrate what they have learnt through sculpture, language and landscape art.

Sustainability and climate change

It is never too early for children to be introduced to climate change and how it impacts upon the world around us. During our sustainability focused workshops, we utilise stories and games to enhance children's understanding and promote environmental awareness. Through these creative activities we endeavour to build a solid foundation for them to grow into responsible global citizens.

Language and creativity

Stories really can bring learning to life and we often use our favourite tales as a platform to launch into creativity activities and story exploration. At Wharton and Hardwick Parks we are lucky to have some wonderful man made and natural features that provide ample opportunity to immerse children in setting, plot and character exploration, stretching their descriptive language and imagination.

Key Stage Two

For our key stage two visitors we are very keen for them to learn a range of new skills that promote independence, team building, achievement and resilience.

Independence and team work

The natural contours, twists and landscaping of the parks provide a great environment to practise map, compass and navigational skills. We have carefully designed workshops that introduce the basic skills and understanding of maps as well as short orienteering courses that simulate the experience of orienteering. Hardwick Park can also offer orienteering courses that can be accessed on a self-led basis that vary in distance and difficulty.

Achievement and resilience

We are wild about adventure and provide flexible workshop opportunities for schools to develop their own themes through core activities. We strongly believe the sense of achievement gained through learning to light a fire, building a water tight den and overcoming challenges has a positive impact on learning back in the classroom. We enhance this further through creative play as we see it as a crucial element of the children's learning experience. During activities we endeavour to present opportunities that allow children to develop ideas and thematic exploration through role play, structure building and prop creation.

Creative and expressive

Both parks have impressive vistas and Wharton park is renowned for its spectacular views over Durham City. During our art-based workshops our experienced team work with the children to maximise their observations of the surrounding landscapes, transporting their visual perceptions to paper in reflection and sketching activities. We also provide opportunities to explore complex design of colour, shape, pattern and texture, through larger landscape art projects and activities.

Significant historical events and people

Wharton Park and the Wharton family have played an integral role in the history of Durham. From the generation of Durham's train station to the very first miners gala, the park holds the key to unlocking children's minds as to how the city around them has evolved from Victorian times to present day. Our heritage-based workshops are designed to encourage children to discover the significance of historical events, people and places in their own locality.

Conservation and sustainability

Learning about the life cycle of plants, conservation and sustainability is brought to life during our environmental and sustainability workshops. We utilise games and challenges to reinforce aspects of learning that takes place in the classroom as well as encouraging children to take part in object handling and to identify elements of the natural world around them.

Contact us
Parks and countryside education officer
03000 262 845