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How we got out more in May and June

30th June 2018

“The grass grew green again and the woods were full of wild flowers”  The Little House on the Prairie

 

After a long wet winter, the sun came out in early May and it has barely stopped shining since, making our late spring programmes feel like one long summer.  Those muddy sessions of the last 2 blogs seem like a distant memory as we have enjoyed active and lazy days outside in the sunshine.

With our new practitioners Sam and Lizzie in place, the Forest School Play Project began in May, the start of a 3 year programme of outdoor learning and play with young children in inner city Bradford. 

We’re excited to be working with Better Start Bradford and the Born in Bradford research team to look at how forest school impacts on young children’s lives.  The groups of 3-year-olds from nurseries have loved visiting local parks to discover tree climbing, barefoot walking and heaps of imaginative play. Already, early years workers are noticing marked improvements language development and independent learning and our practitioners are seeing the children grow in confidence week by week.

Dixons Music Academy love to sing, and they treated us to some of the best campfire singalongs we’ve ever heard, when Annie, Ruth and Julie helped out at their woodland residential  in May.  After a day spent building dens, mini rafts and creating characters from sticks, the Year 4 pupils relaxed around the campfire with some heartfelt singing – we loved it!

Teachers and early years workers get to break free of the classroom and be inspired with new ideas, thanks to the Yorkshire Agricultural Society‘s free courses for primary school staff.  Annie from Get Out More ran 2 sessions in the spring; Inspiring Literacy Outdoors and Natural Colour.  Using nature as inspiration, the groups pretended to be sailors on the high seas, discovered a new island, explored through their senses, wrote poetry and created a wealth of colourful artwork using only nature’s resources.

“I will embrace the open-ended approaches used today.  I will encourage the children to explore and experiment with the magic of nature, soaking up the awe and wonder.  I am itching to test out all of the activities on offer today”  Teacher on Natural Colour course

 

With the hot weather, everyone’s been wanting to get outdoors.  We’ve been pleased to run sessions with some adult groups including Sharing Voices, a men’s mental health group from Bradford and accountants from Price Waterhouse Cooper who came to try our Nature Connect session, a woodland wellbeing session for business.  Get Out More board of directors have been making the most of the sunshine too, holding our annual Away Day in the woods, where forest bathing and creative engagement techniques opened up fresh perspectives on strategic thinking.

The summer holidays are nearly here which means school’s out and our summer forest schools are in. Dare we hope the sunshine will last until then?