Supporting Wellbeing at Forest School
******* COVID-19 UPDATE – ALL OUR SESSIONS IN SCHOOLS AND AT SHIELD TREE WOOD ARE FOR EDUCATION PROVISION FOR CRITICAL WORKER CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN ONLY, IN LINE WITH CURRENT GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE DURING THE NATIONAL LOCKDOWN ********
Being outdoors in nature is proven to reduce stress and anxiety, helps keep immunity strong, builds resilience and community and supports our physical health. As Forest School practitioners we are passionate about supporting our participants’ wellbeing through nature connection and community building. As schools and Forest School stay open, this will continue to be at the heart of what we do and how we deliver our Forest School programmes in the future whilst ensuring that government advice is followed to ensure the safety of all our participants, their families and our practitioners.
The Forest School Association states that, due to the nature of Forest School sessions and facilitating the play needs of children and young people, the most appropriate precaution that can be taken is to create and maintain learner ‘bubbles’. SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) has advised UK government that the risk of infection is significantly lower outside than inside and the UK government have also asked educators to ‘consider which lessons or classroom activities could take place outdoors’.
Taking all this into consideration, BEING Outdoors CIC will seek to develop Forest School moving forward by supporting existing learner bubbles, and creating and maintaining learner ‘bubbles’ for families and community groups. In conjunction, we have and will continue to seek advice and training to support Forest School provision that supports emotional, social and physical wellbeing in a safe way. CPD training as part of our Therapeutic Forest Practitioner practice we will also enable us to facilitate sessions that incorporate the following support to our participants:
- Supporting children & adults with PTSD at Forest School
- Supporting children with anxiety
- Bereavement support
As such, BEING Outdoors CIC Forest School sessions will facilitate:
- check-ins / check-outs to monitor mental wellbeing and changes during the session, supporting more self-awareness of emotions.
- time and space to support self-regulation, calming and anxiety reduction, self-expression and connecting to nature
- opportunities for play – supporting learner-led play where children can work through experiences including trauma as well nurturing creativity and self-motivation
- a community-centred programme – supporting collaborative learning, increased rapport between adults and children, trust and increased responsibility – encouraging social play in a physically distanced way
- physical wellbeing support -integrating physical activity into our programmes , increasing movement and more fresh air to support concentration, provide grounding, reducing stress and raise self-esteem.
Below are some useful documents which provide more detail on how BEING Outdoors follows the most up to date government guidance to ensure we support good hand hygiene and physical distancing for social and emotional wellbeing.
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