World Environment Day

Viruses, Deforestation and Wildlife Trade, what do these have in common?

By Marina Robb, Founding Director of Circle of Life Rediscovery

Among the barrage of news around Covid 19, I finally succumbed to listening once again to the BBC News. An almost unnoticed comment has left me shocked – again.

World Environment Day


A scientist briefly commented that there is a direct link to the Wild Life Trade, Deforestation and the increase in the spread and likelihood of viruses into the human population. Covid 19 is just one example.


We are in this situation because of our treatment of animals and our ancient forests.

I had to let this fleeting interview land in me. I had to repeat it to all my children and husband. I feel a little stupid too. My anger and exasperation covering my grief. Why isn’t this one of the big conversations – how we treat the non-human world.

In 1989 I was joint-coordinator for Friends of the Earth Rainforest Group in Manchester – a lively 19 year old who began to fight for the Rainforests. At that point ‘the fight’ was all we understood and whist it made a difference, we hadn’t yet really begun own personal work – our own anger projected onto the world.

To this day we continue to relentlessly fell these ancient systems – and this is happening all around the Earth. The 1992 Earth Summit was a hopeful moment for us. Agenda 21 and local initiatives. I know as a 51 year old now, that real change takes time. There have been changes – care for nature is no longer alternative, yet we are still operating together like parasites.

World Environment Day


Today is World Environment Day and whilst I will celebrate the incredible beauty and generosity of the Earth I am deeply saddened and shocked that our human systems do not yet work alongside the Natural systems.


Our own life is indebted to this Natural world. It is so incredibly basic, that children totally understand this necessary cooperation between humans and the non-humans and the consequences of breaking this sacred alliance.

Yet I still found myself shocked at the BBC comment in the news last week.

What is this link to this current COVID reality?


What is this link to this current COVID reality? Between 1990 and 2016 – that’s 26 years (half my life time) we have lost Forest’s the size of South Africa – that’s 5 Uk’s in 26 years – from all over the world – Nigeria, Indonesia, Amazon.


You may hear about the effects of deforestation – soil erosion & nutrients, water cycle – the heating of water, loss of biodiversity, climate change. This can all feel very far away in a country like England. With Covid, many more people are dying, with a huge increase in people starving – the thread to our lives here has got our attention. But do we understand why viruses are on the increase?

Deforestation is leading to more infectious diseases in humans: As land is burned to make way for agriculture – our meat and veg – the trees for example, stop producing fruit and bats have to fly elsewhere – they have no option but to leave their home nibbling fruit near human populations, where domesticated animals also feed. In 1999 the Nipah virus in Malaysia caused severe brain inflammation and people died – this Virus didn’t spread too much.

The science shows that deforestation triggers a complex set of deadly conditions – Lassa Viruses, parasites that cause Malaria and Lyme disease, Corona viruses – that spread to humans.

“It’s pretty well established that deforestation can be a strong driver of infectious disease transmission,” says Andy MacDonald, a disease ecologist at the Earth Research Institute of the University of California, Santa Barbara. “It’s a numbers game: The more we degrade and clear forest habitats, the more likely it is that we’re going to find ourselves in these situations where epidemics of infectious diseases occur.”

As the forests are destroyed, so there is an increase in deadly viruses and parasites (10% per year). 60% of the new infectious diseases that emerge in people – HIV, Ebola, Nipah and now Corona all originated in forest-swelling animals and are transmitted by other wildlife. Humans can unknowingly host the diseases as we know with Covid 19.

What if we invested in and protected our Forests – we would save millions in freely gaining from greater health, and less need for vaccines etc (let alone all the other benefits).

The World is Closed! World Environment Day

Bats are thought to also host Corona Virus – and it seems that the virus was transmitted to humans. Remember please that bats play a major role in pollinating fruit trees – so please don’t think to ‘kill the enemy’. Bats are hunted for food in low income populations and used in traditional medicine.

The Guardian reported the human impact on wildlife to blame for the spread of viruses. See the article here.

The Guardian reported the human impact on wildlife to blame for the spread of viruses.


Separately, more than 200 of the world’s wildlife groups have written to the World Health Organization (WHO) calling on it to recommend to countries a highly precautionary approach to the multi-billion dollar wildlife trade, and a permanent ban on all live wildlife markets and the use of wildlife in traditional medicine.

You can read the letter here.


Human health is linked to animal health and land health – you don’t need to be a scientist to know this.

The organisations argue that zoonotic diseases are responsible for over 2 billion cases of human illness and over 2 million human deaths each year, including from Ebola, Mers, HIV, bovine tuberculosis, rabies, and leptospirosis.

The commercial trade in wildlife is horrific. Look up some pictures and footage. It’s horrific. We are all implicated – it’s not just happening over there. The risks are increased by the conditions in which the animals are farmed or collected from the wild and transported, sold etc. The use in traditional medicine too – strange for me as in my experience most traditional medicine is from plants and I can only assume using wildlife is a dysfunctional damaged modern development.

And what of the illegal trade of wildlife. The UK National Wildlife Crime Unit has a tiny budget to deal with a criminal industry worth billions of pounds that damages local communities and regeneration opportunities particularly in Africa. You can add your name to the ‘Care2IFAWpetition’, ‘Step up Against Wildlife Cybercrime’.

For us here at Circle of Life Rediscovery, a community interest company – we want to help transform education and health through nature. To rediscover this love and appreciation of the complexity of nature and humans evolution together – a cooperative journey of co-participation.

We have every possibility to change and bring our economic, social, education and health systems in line with natural law. We can redirect our funds and thinking towards this child-like world understanding that we are part of this wonderful living earth and rediscover our ecological identity.

Common Ground Interview with Professor Jan White

To this end, I will be interviewing Jan White as part of our Common Ground series – please come and join us for Free!

What is ecological identity and attachment? Jan White and Marina Robb discuss:

  • What do we mean by ecological identity?
  • What kind of play drives can be met by nature to deepen the relationship?
  • How attachment theory can be applied, physiological processes that operate as nature meets the play drive that expresses a deep psychological need.

Date: 10th June 2020
Time: 3pm – 4pm
How to join: Via Zoom, please click here to join. Meeting ID: 865 3049 2997. Please click here to find your local number.

Common Ground with Jan White

Professor Jan White works as an independent consultant across the UK and internationally, Jan is a leading thinker and writer on outdoor play and advocate for high quality outdoor provision for services for children from birth to seven. She is honorary Professor of Practice with the University of Wales Trinity St David and co-founder/ strategic director of Early Childhood Outdoors, the National Centre for Play, Learning and Wellbeing Outdoors.

With thirty-five years’ experience in education, Jan has developed a deep commitment to the consistently powerful effect of the outdoors on young children. READ MORE.


Transforming education, health and family through nature.

Circle of Life Rediscovery provides exciting and highly beneficial nature-centred learning and therapeutic experiences for young people, adults, and families in Sussex woodlands, along with innovative continuing professional development for the health, well being and teaching professionals who are supporting them.

Circle of Life Rediscovery

www.circleofliferediscovery.com

info@circleofliferediscovery.com

01273 814226

Outdoor Classroom Day 2020

Play? Naturally! By Kate Macairt


Today is Outdoor Classroom Day 2020! As we tentatively begin to emerge from our safe spaces how are we going to re-adjust to human contact and integration? The enforced lock-down has in many ways been merely an exaggeration of the increasing individual isolation our modern world has created.

Physical play is important!

I grew up in the 1960’s, by the end of the 60’s watching telly had become what we did and staying in to watch a favourite programme topped going out to play with friends. How accustomed to virtual entertainment, virtual communication, virtual shopping, virtual play had we become before March 23rd?

Many of us in the wilderness and foraging community utilise Instagram/Facebook etc. to communicate, technology is great and helps support global connection, but we need to ‘stay alert’!

Outdoor Classroom Day 2020

Physical play is important. Playing is fundamental to animals and that includes human animals. Playing is the way the body and brain connect through the central nervous system.



Playing must be a sensory experience, what we hear, smell, see, taste and touch provides essential data for our brains and it is these sensations which lay the foundation of our ‘story’; our understanding of where we came from and who we are in relation to others and environment. If we limit the diversity of the sensory inputs, we limit our growth.

In his book ‘Flow; the classic work of how to achieve happiness’, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes the super-power we all possess:

“The integrated cells and organs that make up the human organism are an instrument that allows us to get in touch with the rest of the universe. The body is like a probe full of sensitive devices that tries to obtain what information it can from the awesome reaches of space.it is through the body that we are related to one another and to the rest of the world”.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi p115 Flow 2002 isbn 9780712657594)

When we are in the FLOW we feel a sense of belonging and connection. Playing outdoors is going to be a very essential element to the post lock-down healing process.

Hope you got out on Outdoor Classroom Day 2020

For many of us we have been lucky and have taken a walk every day in which we have enjoyed smells, sounds, sights, textures and tastes of nature’s gifts. You know the benefits of spending time outdoors in a wood, on a beach, in a field, up a mountain.

The lock-down and enforced entrapment and isolation has encouraged many more people to get out and take walks. There are numerous reports produced in recent weeks of the health benefits both physical and mental of getting outdoors.

In the weeks months and years to come enriched and diverse sensory experiences will be vital. The urban street may seem a concrete jungle – but there is a real living jungle of insects, plants and birds lurking and hiding in surprising places.

If we limit our sensory inputs to those of the mass- produced body spray, processed food, nylon plastic etc we are limiting our future.

Circle of Life Rediscovery (CIC) has been advocating outdoor play for many years. Our Nature Play training provides guidance, ideas and activities to help encourage children in your care to connect and find joy in natural materials and natural outdoor spaces. In our second Nature play webinar we will be providing more information on health benefits and ideas for games and activities to play outdoors and practical ways to bring the outdoors inside.

Happy Outdoor Classroom Day 2020!

Free online webinar

In our second Nature Play webinar we will be providing more information on health benefits and ideas for games and activities to play outdoors and practical ways to bring the outdoors inside. 

When: Thursday 4th June 3pm – 3.45pm 
Register here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

This shorter Interactive Webinar with Kate Macairt and Marina Robb will provide more information on health benefits of the outdoors, ideas for games and activities to play in the outdoors.  We will suggest simple ways to bring the outdoors inside, for those with limited outdoor access.  All our work is framed within the idea of the Nature Play Continuum.

Marina Robb

Marina Robb is founder and Managing Director of Circle of Life Rediscovery CIC, a leading outdoor learning organisation. She is Author of ‘Learning with Nature’, considered a must-have book for Forest School & Outdoor practitioners. Marina has been the recipient of funding from Natural England, Mind and The National Lottery, amongst other grant makers for her outdoor work with disadvantaged teenagers, families and young people. Read more.

Kate Macairt

Kate Macairt is an experienced Play Therapist and Child Counsellor who has been working with children and young adults for over 10 years as Therapist and previously 15 years as Teacher. Her background is in Expressive Arts Education and her interest in the significance of the creative instinct led her to research creativity and its connection to well-being and academic achievement as part of a Masters in Education. The discovery of Play Therapy persuaded her to re-train and she moved from Creative Teacher to Creative Play Therapist. Kate’s passion and love of Mother Nature and spending time outside has infiltrated into her role as a Teacher of Art and Play Therapist. Read more.


Transforming education, health and family through nature.

Circle of Life Rediscovery provides exciting and highly beneficial nature-centred learning and therapeutic experiences for young people, adults, and families in Sussex woodlands, along with innovative continuing professional development for the health, well being and teaching professionals who are supporting them.

Circle of Life Rediscovery

www.circleofliferediscovery.com

info@circleofliferediscovery.com

01273 814226

Just Imagine…a Blog for Mental Health Awareness Week

Just Imagine, by Kate Macairt – Circle of Life Rediscovery Director

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week 2020. Thinking back to New Year’s Day 2020, there I was sending out positive messages to family and friends; ‘2020 Vision Happy New year!’ I think I was imagining a year in which climate activists, friends of the earth XR Greta… all would grow in strength and more of the population of the world would wake to the Crisis and demand our Leaders re-wrote the rule book.

See our Play Therapy course with Kate Macairt. Mental Health Awareness Week 2020


Then came February, remember February? We were all still busy, busy earning money ferrying children to and from school trying to juggle responsibilities as we sat in traffic jams.


I remember listening to BBC World Service and the speakers were taking this corona-virus thing very seriously but somehow it didn’t seem to be part of our story here, our crisis were the storms and floods which had decimated areas of the country.

Come April everything had changed. Life as we knew it had stopped. We were all required to retreat into our safe ‘caves’ and enter an internal space where the imaginings and memories began to resonate more.

According to research by Kings College London (quoted in the New Scientist 9th May 2020) people are sleeping more and reporting that they are experiencing more dreaming, this is partially due to turning off the alarm clock and getting more REM sleep, and also because without the daily stress of going to work and earning money people have begun to relax allowing their internal unconscious processing to function better.

taking walks and listening to the birds

For many who could get outdoors it has become a pleasure to take a walk, to watch the birds, to notice how Spring was waking up the earth. There has been a sense of collective cooperation within the isolation and folk united to clap and thank the workers who were suddenly recognised for their importance.

As the weeks progressed, I lost count of the days, it seemed as if Father Time had relinquished control to Mother Earth and each passing day relaxed more of the old routines.



A realisation dawned that DOING less and spending more time BEING made them feel happier. Of course, there are those who feel lost without the old work routine and worries about money and paying bills are real for us all. For some families I work with time at home has deepened relationships but for others the confinement has revealed cracks and stresses and a disintegration of connection.

Even for the most sanguine there has been an underlying anxiety which has seemed to fluctuate from day to day. Our innate fear of death has been fed into with each media report.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

This week is National Mental Health Awareness week. How ironic, it needs to be re-designated as National Mental Health Awareness Year. The statistics for 2019 mental health illness before the virus crisis was showing a dramatic upward curve. Anyone who works with children, young people and adults will recognise that modern life was becoming intolerably stressful for a large number of us.

Our work with CAMHS


I know that I am not alone in feeling concerned about how our already struggling mental health teams will cope with the return to ‘normality’.



The increase in suicide is not being reported and I know the CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health) services are running at a fraction of their normal work load, Social Services are aware of a frightening increase in domestic abuse cases.

The Woodland Project

Circle of Life Rediscovery works in partnership with organisations in Sussex to support children and young people who are accessing mental health services, and their families. You can find out about their work here.
Their Woodland Project in East Sussex offers days out in nature for families who have a child with a severe physical or learning disability, families who have a child experiencing mental health issues and 11-18 year olds who are accessing mental health services.

These old -world problems will inevitably be a destabilising factor in whatever form the ’new’ world takes. Now we are being encouraged to come out of our safe spaces and re-integrate, I am sensing a new anxiety taking grip, there are so many uncertainties and for many a realisation that a return to life as it was pre 2020 seems impossible and undesirable.

So, what can we do? Now is the time to start dreaming for the external reality we desire. Now is the time for us to imagine the world that we would want our children and grandchildren to live in. Now is the time to awaken our minds and look deep into our shadows. I think we have been forced to experience a new way of living which has given us time to process the inner world or unconscious mind and create new neural connections to our experience of outer world and conscious mind, we are experiencing ourselves in a new way.

I understand that lockdown is an infringement of liberty and many argue that there is a dark and sinister authoritarian force at work. There are so many contradictory ‘conspiracy’ theories bouncing around the internet to add to our anxiety, it seems a great testament to the power of the human imagination to create stories.

Story telling is an intrinsic part of my work as Play Therapist. Working non-directively with children I have come to appreciate how well they can utilise archetypes to play out the struggle between good and evil. The child’s struggle is to explore and ultimately accept the negative aspects of themselves and their experiences and balance them with their positive attributes.

Read about my work

In a Jungian sense the battle is within ourselves. “I have seen the enemy and he lies within”. The Shadow has featured in stories since humans first began telling tales, our ancestors had good reason to fear the darkness, they did not need to imagine monsters.


Our modern technological culture has become obsessed with the power of the shadow baddie.

We have been absorbing the narrative for decades, Dracula will suck your blood and make you bad, Darth Vador is lurking waiting to take control and reduce you to a robotic killing machine, the devil will tempt you to join him in his ghastly ways, the green goblin will try and destroy the world and so on and so on.

The narratives have become so ingrained in our unconscious mind we may not even be aware and perhaps in times of personal Fear we need to identify the baddie, we need to externalise the enemy; the baddie is always the ‘Other’.

Of course, I am aware that for some to be the shadow baddie feels powerful – and then it is real, the appeal of and obsession with the Baddie is seductive to some and dangerous for many! Have our modern stories, imaginings and narratives led us to unconsciously connect power with being bad? Where have all the heroes gone? I am purposefully imagining a future in which self-questioning is a norm and being fair, considerate, tolerant, grateful, loving is what we demand of ourselves and those we choose to govern us.

What can we do to feel hopeful about our personal and world recovery from the trauma that is this coronavirus global pandemic? I have been reflecting on this and I feel very apprehensive. If I start to attach to the narrative of good versus evil how do I know for sure which side is which?

Mental Health Awareness Week

We are all mammals and lone individuals, we have an instinctive drive to seek a tribe or pack to belong to, it helps us to feel safe. But our tribalism inevitably creates a need for the Other, the enemy. Is it our own shadow aspects we project onto the enemy?


If we are to create a future which is less stressful, more collaborative and cooperative do we need to start acknowledging our personal greed, spite, envy, hatred, despair and fear and be more aware of how we may try to project our shadow onto others?

We can change, we have all reduced consumption in this enforced lockdown, we have all stopped driving, flying and shopping as much and Mother Earth is less stressed. Can we imagine that this will become the new normal? Do we want to? Production and consumption has kept us focused on the external world of doing things and our internal world of sensory based feelings has been ignored, we just have not had time for reflection, and we have not been providing ‘being’ time for our children either.

Nature Connection

Nature Connection, Outdoor Education and Forest School in the old world (pre 2020!) were available to a minority of children and families. Circle of Life Rediscovery (CIC) has been pioneering projects aimed at extending the provision to mainstream schools and organisations for years. Since ‘stay at home’ many more people now appreciate the simple pleasure of connecting with our living world and I am sure that outdoor play and activities will be a vital part of the healing process for all ages.


We will need to allow time for dreaming and imagining a more satisfying life which balances inner and outer worlds and gives us time to ‘be’. I suggest we need to be more consciously aware of how stories of the shadow infiltrate our minds. Stories, movies, videogames are a great escape, but we enter an other’s imagined world and all too often it is a world of their projected fear.

We need to free time to imagine the world we want. Does it sound too idealistic? Is this an example of Utopian dreaming? Perhaps,
“the future is not there waiting for us. We create it by the power of imagination” – Vilayat Inayat Khan; Sufi Master.

Nature Play & The Therapeutic Space

Play is essential for all of our well-being and learning. In the below interview link, Marina Robb and Kate Macairt discuss the impact of sensory input on the brain and will provide an introduction to:

The holistic person – being and doing
The Importance of the senses
Simple play examples
What is play?
How does it look in and out of doors Setting up the space
The Nature Play continuum
Reflective language
The Power of play

https://youtu.be/dHNkjkvRe7Q

Two Day Training with Kate Macairt and Marina Robb

Nature Play & The Therapeutic Space

This two-day training has been created to help those working with groups of young people and children to understand why some children present difficult behaviours and are unable to participate in the group activities.
READ MORE.


Date: This will now take place on either Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th July OR Thursday 24th and Friday 25th September.
Location:
 Mill Woods, near Laughton, East Sussex, BN8 6BP
Cost: £175.00
Time: 09.00 – 15.30
Booking: please book online here.


Transforming education, health and family through nature.

Circle of Life Rediscovery provides exciting and highly beneficial nature-centred learning and therapeutic experiences for young people, adults, and families in Sussex woodlands, along with innovative continuing professional development for the health, well being and teaching professionals who are supporting them.

Circle of Life Rediscovery

www.circleofliferediscovery.com

info@circleofliferediscovery.com

01273 814226

Nature Play and the Early Years

Nature Play is essential for all our learning and development. In the early years of our lives we explore and experiment. What makes the human species so special? It has to do with all the care and time we are given by the adults around us as well as the variability in our experiences and the places we inhabit.

Nature Play in the Early Years


Growing up for children takes a long time in the human species. Our brains prune as we grow older, leaving in place well-trodden neural pathways.

These provide us with the ability to create, think outside the box, transfer knowledge and learning, socialise, regulate our feelings and grow internal self-worth and autonomy.

Nature is the best way to play and learn in the early years. A diverse environment, full of sensory experiences with space and time is ideal for early year’s development. Apart from how trees and green spaces reduce cortisol, our stress hormones, we grow an ecological identity, a long-lasting kinship with the wider non-human world that remains loyal and provides a key refuge for years ahead.

Nature Play in the Early Years


Applying a child/person-centred, play-based approach in nature – we embody abstract concepts and apply knowledge and understanding that comes from direct experience.

What’s exciting is that our education system is beginning to value this approach to learning.



We are beginning to see that there is a direct link between childhood play and discovery and arriving at adulthood able to take appropriate risks, adapt to new environments and provide solutions to new problems.

Juliet Robertson from Creative Star Learning


Juliet Robertson, based in Scotland is one of the leading experts in play and learning in the outdoors. She has helped to support many organisations, government and charitable agencies, schools and nurseries to bring nature play and education into mainstream learning.




Local authorities in Scotland are exploring how using outdoor space could optimise physical distancing. Read the recent Guardian article here.

Circle of Life Rediscovery aims to transform education and health through nature and we are delighted to be working with Juliet (and other people and partners) to realise this vision. Change is needed from the top-down and bottom-up.

Here today we are offering a number of downloadable materials from Scotland that clearly provide the thinking and framework demonstrating the benefits and approach for broadly defined ‘ outdoor learning’.

Common Ground Interview with Juliet Robertson

Please see below for our recent Common Ground interview with Marina Robb and Juliet Robertson, they discuss:

  • What common values underpin our practice with children?
  • What is the role of nature in ‘good’ education?
  • What policies and ideas are working in Scotland and how can we learn from this?

Juliet is offering a number of webinars to show how teaching in nature through play, can be seen through a mathematical or English lens. The webinars explores a diversity of ways of embedding literacy and maths in an outdoor space.

Messy Maths & Outdoor Literacy in the Early Years – Webinar

Messy Maths: Join Juliet via Zoom on 21st May, 3pm – 4.30pm. Please click here to register for the Zoom webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Visit our website for full details.

Outdoor Literacy: Join Juliet via Zoom on 25th June, 3pm – 4.30pm. Please click here to register for the Zoom webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Visit our website for full details.

Messy Maths & Outdoor Literacy CPD’s

A Nature Mandala

If you are local, you may be able to join Juliet and the Circle of Life Rediscovery team in person in the Autumn – Covid permitting! Juliet will be running 2 CPD events – Messy Maths and Outdoor Literacy.

Free Resources to download!

Please sign up to our newsletter to receive 2 free documents:

  1. Outdoor Learning – Practical guidance, ideas and support for teachers and practitioners.
  2. Taking Learning Outdoors.

All the while, we remain a voice for learning and developing in nature and cultivating and deep appreciation for this land beneath our feet.


Transforming education, health and family through nature.

Circle of Life Rediscovery provides exciting and highly beneficial nature-centred learning and therapeutic experiences for young people, adults, and families in Sussex woodlands, along with innovative continuing professional development for the health, well being and teaching professionals who are supporting them.

Circle of Life Rediscovery

www.circleofliferediscovery.com

info@circleofliferediscovery.com

01273 814226

Forest Kindergarten Training

‘Opening up the Outdoors’

Forest Kindergarten is modelled on a Forest School approach


Forest Kindergarten is modelled on a Forest School approach and is based around child-centred learning through play in the Early Years. Forest Kindergartens offer young children frequent visits and regular play opportunities in a local, natural setting all year round – this could be a woodland, park or even a beach!

What are the benefits of Forest Kindergarten approach?

10 Benefits of a Forest Kindergarten approach

  1. Enjoyment – Children who regularly learn, play and enjoy the outdoors environment are observed to feel happier and more relaxed. They can learn at their own pace, follow an interest, enjoy the fresh air, get mucky without worry – what could be better?
  2. Play – the Forest Kindergarten approach supports child-centred learning through play in a real world context. It provides young children with freedom to explore and use multiple senses.
  3. Nature immersion, discovery and exploration – Children have the time and space to become the ‘directors’ of their own learning. Staff take on an observation and supporting role and this empowers children to become managers of their own learning process.
  4. Creates interactions – with people and places where they play in their local area. As a result of these positive interactions, children learn to care for nature. Children develop a connection with the natural world which can lead to long term environmental awareness, understanding and positive action.
  5. Well-being – promotes movement, health and well being, physical and emotional resilience, promotes ‘in the moment’ experiences and develops confidence.
  6. Awareness – supports the acquisition of knowledge, skills and care for the natural world.
  7. Motivation and concentration – spending time in the outdoor environment is exciting for a child. The outdoors and its constant changing state fascinates children and therefore leads to high levels of attention. Many practitioners who regularly take children to visit local spaces have noted that children are able to participate and concentrate for longer periods of time.
  8. Risk benefit – regular visits with time and space, supportive adults and plenty of child led play helps to develop children’s awareness of risk as well as their confidence in managing risk. Children develop their confidence with taking risk over time and consider as a direct experience before deciding what action to take.
  9. Teamwork / co-operation – children when playing and exploring outdoors can demonstrate a less competitive nature. They use the natural world in a completely different way, often becoming more imaginative with their play, developing a different rhythm and working together for a shared purpose. There is less academic pressure, less formal structure which children (and adults) really respond to.
  10. The ripple effect – When children have positive experiences outdoors they will take their experiences home to share with friends and family. This will often encourage families to visit their local woodlands more frequently.

“At the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling” – Shanti

Equip your staff to take children out of door as part of their everyday education!

At Circle of Life Rediscovery we are running a two-day Forest Kindergarten Training in May, East Sussex.

Forest Kindergarten Training in East Sussex


The aim of this two-day training is to develop Early Years practitioners’ skills to enable and empower them to make regular visits to a local green-space or woodland.

What themes underpin this training?

  • Based upon three themes- people, place and pedagogy (activities).
  • The importance of sustained, free play for children’s development and engagement.
  • The value of nature for well-being – both for child and practitioner.
  • Making a connection with the natural world leading to long term environmental awareness and care for our world.
  • Importance of reflective practice.

Key Content:

  • How to prepare both yourselves as practitioners and your young children to go to a green-space.
  • Setting up a suitable site and setting boundaries with children.
  • Preparing for risks (risk benefit model).
  • Research on the benefits of playing and learning outdoors.
  • Games and songs to support children with the routines of regular visits to a green-space.

Course details:

Date: 7th & 14th May 2020.
Location: Mill Woods, near Laughton, East Sussex.
Time: 09.00 – 16.30.
Cost: £175.
Booking: Please book online here. See our website for full course details. Please note:  If this event needs to be postponed due to the Covid-19 virus, we will reschedule and provide an option to return payment.

Forest Kindergarten Training - Learn how to open up the outdoors!

“I enjoyed this training so much! Having already been doing Forest School with the older children I was struggling to do fun and exciting things with the early years- you have bought back my confidence and given me lots of ideas and ways to improve my practice.”
2020 Participant


Nature hour

Take your kids outside for nature hour!

A ‘nature hour’ should be part of the school curriculum every day, say The Wildlife Trusts. They are calling for every child in the UK to spend one hour outside in nature, every day, as part of the school curriculum. Please read the article here.



Forest School Shelters

At Circle of Life Rediscovery we can design and build bespoke forest school shelters for your school or organisation.

Forest School Shelters


We will visit your site to discuss your needs and requirements, to offer advice and give suggestions. Visit the website to learn more.






Transforming education, health and family through nature.

Circle of Life Rediscovery

We provide exciting and highly beneficial nature-centred learning and therapeutic experiences for young people, adults, and families in Sussex woodlands, along with innovative continuing professional development for the health, well being and teaching professionals who are supporting them.

Forest School Training Feedback

Forest School Training Level 3!


Our 2019 3 part Forest School Training course in East Sussex has just ended – find out what our trainees thought about our training.

The next course commences 18th March 2020 – see below for details!

What have you most enjoyed about Forest School Training?

“The positive, open, accepting, non-judgemental, sharing and learning experience. I couldn’t have imagined better tutors, they were inspiring, informative, caring and empowering. It has helped me to re-connect with nature, to accept myself and feel more positive. I feel empowered to keep learning!”

“The passion and energy of the leaders and variety of activities planned.”

“The openness of the group, I never felt judged, there was a sense of fun throughout, even though we were learning!”

“A fabulous mix of learning, theoretical and practical skills plus personal reflection time.”

“The group dynamic, training in the woods and support at every step.”

“The games kept us energised and allowed us to be children again!”

“Extremely high quality teaching, making time and space for everyone.”

“I feel like I have been nurtured throughout the course, the teachers were all so kind, patient, knowledgeable and inspiring. “

How would you describe this Forest School Training to others?

“Life changing. I really can’t imaging how it could have been any better.”

“The most enjoyable, exciting, life changing course! So many magic moments.”

“A truly empowering course that encourages and supports people to go forward in their forest school journey.”

“The best value for money ever! The training will free every aspect of your life.”

“Magical.”

“An interesting, inspiring and well thought out course. I never felt pressured, the leaders were patient, friendly and supportive.”

“Just do it! You’ll learn an incredible amount and it’s a personal journey.”

“This is so much more than training but a life changing experience.”

In what ways has the course personally impacted you?

“I have grown in confidence and it has encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone. The course has been so freeing.”

“A life changing experience. My love of the outdoors has grown immensely.”

“I am now brave enough to make a life changing decision and become a full time forest school leader!”

“I now have the confidence to become a forest school leader!”

“It has increased my appreciation for nature which I hope to spread to those around me.”

Join our next course!


This Level 3 Training is designed for professionals already working with young people who wish to establish and deliver a Forest School/Environmental Education programme.

Join our next course in March 2020!

From May 2020 Circle of Life Training will be providing online learning resources to supplement this in-depth direct training. These documents are laid out in an easy to understand format that link to the Forest School Units. We also supply useful video material, links to best practice, a student upload to share valuable resources and the option to download resources for you to keep.



Dates:

Train with an FSA Endorsed Trainer!

Part 1: (4 days) Wednesday 18th March, Thursday 19th March, Monday 23rd March & Tuesday 24th March.
Part 2: (3 days) Wednesday 29th April, Thursday 30th April & Friday 1st May.
Part 3: (2 days) Tuesday 2nd June & Wednesday 3rd June.



Please visit our website to view full course information.


Transforming education, health and family through nature.

We provide exciting and highly beneficial nature-centred learning and therapeutic experiences for young people, adults, and families in Sussex woodlands, along with innovative continuing professional development for the health, well being and teaching professionals who are supporting them.

www.circleofliferediscovery.com
Tel: 01273 814226
info@circleofliferediscovery.com

Plant Power & Foraging

Plant Power – Spring and Autumn Foraging

Here in the lush green hills of our local landscape we are so very lucky to be surrounded by a rich plant life. Nature’s medicine chest is vast and incredibly abundant.

As the wheel of the year turns and our health needs vary, nature is right there, offerings up its jewels for us to utilise for our well-being.

Plant Power! Spring Foraging & Wild MedicineAs spring emerges and the sap rises, a plethora of cleansing and warming wild herbs emerge. At the height of pollen distribution and hay-fever season, there are the natural anti-histamines growing in the hedgerows.

Summer comes with all the frenetic busyness and we are then surrounded by calming wild medicines. Autumn brings the bounty of virus busting berries and nourishing roots to see us healthy through the winter…..

It can seem overwhelming at first, being surrounded by so many different plants and wanting to learn about them all instantly!

Plant Power! Autumn Foraging & Wild Medicine
My advice is to just start by learning a few plants each year, or one plant per season. Really get to know those plants well by learning how to cook with them as well as make medicines.

Taste them in teas and understand their properties through all your senses. Each plant will become a trusted alley and overtime your knowledge, as well as your medicine cabinet will grow.

In the morning of my wild medicine workshops, we spend time foraging for common and abundant wild medicines of that season. We will take time to really look at the each plant and fill our baskets together. After lunch we will learn how to utilise all the plants gathered into food and medicines which you can re-create at home again.

Spring & Autumn Foraging - learn about Plant Power!

This very practical, hands on approach to me really helps solidify your learning and I hope you will leave our days with new plant friends with which you can greet time and time again.

I will also introduce some basic botany to kick start your foraging journey and signal you towards some good resources for further learning.

Alice Rose Betony
Learn about Plant Power and Foraging! Spring & Autumn Workshops:

27th April 2020 – Spring Foraging & Wild Medicine

Learn about the wild food and medicine available in abundance at this time.

Spring Foraging & Wild Medicine
Wild spring greens have been part of the diet of our ancestors for thousands of years and we will learn some of their traditional and modern uses as well as how we can gain benefit from incorporating them into our lives.

On this day we will walk the land and gather some of the spring plants we find for making tea, food and medicine around the fire in the afternoon. You might take home a herbal vinegar or syrup, feast on wild pesto and salad and pick up some fire by friction tips.

Date: 27th April 2020.
Facilitator: Alice Rose Betony
Location: WoWo Campsite, Wapsbourne Manor Farm, Sheffield Park, Uckfield, TN22 3QT.
Cost: £65, children over the age of 10 welcome for £30.
Time: 10.00 – 15.00.
Booking: Please book online here.
More information: Please see the website.

16th September 2020 – Autumn Foraging & Wild Medicine

Learn how to make some winter herbal remedies with the abundant hedgerow berries available at this time.

Autumn Foraging & Wild MedicineAutumn is the time for deep nourishing, building up our stores of nutrients and supporting our immune systems ready for the cold months ahead. Along with the last few wild greens we have such an abundant variety of healing foods and medicines at this time of year.

We will gather and fill our baskets together in the morning and make food and medicine around the fire in the afternoon. You might take home a hedgerow oxymel or enjoy some wild hedgerow syrup as well as picking up some fire by friction tips.

Date: 16th September 2020.
Facilitator: Alice Rose Betony
Location: WoWo Campsite, Wapsbourne Manor Farm, Sheffield Park, Uckfield, TN22 3QT.
Cost: £65, children over the age of 10 welcome for £30.
Time: 10.00 – 15.00.
Booking: Please book online here.
More information: 
Please see the website.


Transforming education, health and family through nature.

Circle of Life Rediscovery provides exciting and highly beneficial nature-centred learning and therapeutic experiences for young people, adults, and families in Sussex woodlands, along with innovative continuing professional development for the health, well being and teaching professionals who are supporting them.

Circle of Life Rediscovery

Email: info@circleofliferediscovery.com
Website: www.circleofliferediscovery.com
Tel: 01273 814226

Messy Maths – World Maths Day

World Maths Day

Below are just a couple of examples of how to take maths outside!

Leaf Multiplication

Thank goodness for leaves! How would we learn our multiplication tables without them.

“Hmm.” I hear you say. “I managed just fine, thank you very much.”

Maybe so, but let’s face it. There’s a lot of rote learning to be done. We need to find different ways of helping children learn their tables and have fun whilst doing so.

The added bonus of using leaves is that you can appreciate the beauty of the structure and learn which one is which in the process.

It’s compound leaves that seem to work best. These are ones like a horse chestnut leaf. These have lovely “hand-shaped” leaves each with 5 leaflets. So 1 leaf has 5 leaflets, 2 leaves have 10 leaflets, 3 leaves have 15 leaflets, etc.

You often find the leaves of buttercups are arranged in trios.

If these leaves look a bit odd, it’s because I placed them face down to stop them blowing away! 4 x 3 (trios) = 12.

Ash leaves are more variable. However I managed to acquire a nice collection of leaves with 9 leaflets. 3 x 9=27.

For the very able mathematicians in your class, perhaps they would like to create multiplication sums for bracken fronds…

I think there’s lots of possibilities here. Can your class find compound leaves to represent all the multiplication tables from 2 to 10? Can they each create a sum, then have a competition to see who can solve all the sums the quickest? What challenges spring to your mind?

Stick Logic

One ongoing challenge for teachers is ensuring that children who finish earlier than others have something meaningful to move onto. There’s lots of possibilities outside and this stick activity is one such example. It can be completed in pairs or by children working alone. It helps if children know they can look at the work that others are doing.

The children need to find 9 sticks of about the same length. Conveniently I have a big stash of cut sticks.

If you do not have such luxury items, then challenge children to find or create 9 sticks of equal length. Twigs are fine too.

The challenge is pretty simple: how many triangles is it possible to make using 9 sticks? I have no idea, but the photos give you an indication of how I went about the task!

This logic activity can also be ongoing over several days. I like coming up with variations on a theme and asking children to do the same.

For example, what differences would we discover if:

We used 9 sticks of different lengths.
We used less than 9 sticks or more than 9 sticks – Is there a pattern to what we discover?
We chose a different shape to create, e.g. a square.

All-in-all it can be quite an absorbing task. I’m not sure this is the maximum number possible. If you better 18, I’d love to know how!

I hope this equips and inspires you to take maths outside!

By Juliet Robertson


Get real, get messy, get maths, get outside!

Come and spend a wonderful day in the woods, with Juliet Robertson, the author of the multi-award winning book, ‘Messy Maths’. Together you will explore the five “R’s” of Messy Maths:

Rights – every child is mathematical and has the right to have learn about and explore maths.
Routines – embedding key maths concepts into your daily routines.
Resources – open-ended, low cost materials which can be used in lots of different ways with different ages and abilities of children.
Responsibilities of the adults – how to follow children’s lead and articulate the learning which happens through a play-based approach. It also includes ways of involving families in developing a child’s love of maths.
Re-imagining your outdoor space – developing maths-rich provision in any outdoor space be this a concrete jungle, woodland paradise or something else.

This content is based upon the book, Messy Maths: A Playful and Outdoor Approach for the Early Years. It is particularly suitable for those who work with children aged 3-6 yrs old. It takes a sensible approach that provides lots of practical ways to ensure your maths provision is engaging and interesting outside and meets the needs of the children with whom you work.

This all takes place within the context of sustainability using the environment, natural materials and what is around us in any outdoor space.

Date: 21st May 2020.
Lead Facilitator: Juliet Robertson
Location: Mill Woods, near Laughton, East Sussex, BN8 6BP
Cost: £120. If you are attending the Literacy Day also, the fee is £220 for the two days.*
Time: 09.00 – 15.30
Booking: Please book online here.
More information: Please see our website.

*Juliet is also running a Literacy Day on 22nd May – ‘Lighting the Literacy Fire’. Please see the website for details. If you would like to book both courses with Juliet, the fee is reduced to £220 for both courses.
About Juliet

Juliet is one of Scotland’s leading education consultants who specialises in outdoor learning and play. She works at a national level delivering training, giving keynote speeches, leading and supporting innovative outdoor projects and writing content for websites, documents and case studies.   She is passionate about enabling schools, play organisations and early years settings to provide quality outdoor learning and play opportunities for children and young people. Read more here.


Transforming education, health and family through nature.
We provide exciting and highly beneficial nature-centred learning and therapeutic experiences for young people, adults, and families in Sussex woodlands, along with innovative continuing professional development for the health, well being and teaching professionals who are supporting them.

www.circleofliferediscovery.com
Email: info@circleofliferediscovery.com
Tel: 01273 814226

Messy Maths – take learning outside on National Number Day

National Number Day

Next Friday is the NSPCC’s National Number Day. I hope this inspires you to join thousands of schools for a mega maths-inspired fundraising day and raise money for the NSPCC. Below are just a couple of examples of how to take maths outside!

Leaf Multiplication

Thank goodness for leaves! How would we learn our multiplication tables without them.

Leaf Multiplication

“Hmm.” I hear you say. “I managed just fine, thank you very much.”

Maybe so, but let’s face it. There’s a lot of rote learning to be done. We need to find different ways of helping children learn their tables and have fun whilst doing so.

The added bonus of using leaves is that you can appreciate the beauty of the structure and learn which one is which in the process.

3 leaves have 15 leaflets

It’s compound leaves that seem to work best. These are ones like a horse chestnut leaf. These have lovely “hand-shaped” leaves each with 5 leaflets. So 1 leaf has 5 leaflets, 2 leaves have 10 leaflets, 3 leaves have 15 leaflets, etc.

 

National Number Day

You often find the leaves of buttercups are arranged in trios.

If these leaves look a bit odd, it’s because I placed them face down to stop them blowing away! 4 x 3 (trios) = 12.

 

Ash leaves are more variable

 

Ash leaves are more variable. However I managed to acquire a nice collection of leaves with 9 leaflets. 3 x 9=27.

 

bracken fronds

 

For the very able mathematicians in your class, perhaps they would like to create multiplication sums for bracken fronds…

 

I think there’s lots of possibilities here. Can your class find compound leaves to represent all the multiplication tables from 2 to 10? Can they each create a sum, then have a competition to see who can solve all the sums the quickest? What challenges spring to your mind?

Stick Logic

One ongoing challenge for teachers is ensuring that children who finish earlier than others have something meaningful to move onto. There’s lots of possibilities outside and this stick activity is one such example. It can be completed in pairs or by children working alone. It helps if children know they can look at the work that others are doing.

The children need to find 9 sticks of about the same length. Conveniently I have a big stash of cut sticks.

Take 1: 5 triangles – not bad for starters!

Take 1: 5 triangles – not bad for starters!

If you do not have such luxury items, then challenge children to find or create 9 sticks of equal length. Twigs are fine too.

The challenge is pretty simple: how many triangles is it possible to make using 9 sticks? I have no idea, but the photos give you an indication of how I went about the task!

 

 

Take 3: 7 triangles – getting better

7 triangles – getting better

This logic activity can also be ongoing over several days. I like coming up with variations on a theme and asking children to do the same.

For example, what differences would we discover if:

 

 

  • We used 9 sticks of different lengths.
  • We used less than 9 sticks or more than 9 sticks – Is there a pattern to what we discover?
  • We chose a different shape to create, e.g. a square.

Take 6: I can count 18 triangles but I’m getting fuzzy eyes!

Take 6: I can count 18 triangles but I’m getting fuzzy eyes!

All-in-all it can be quite an absorbing task. I’m not sure this is the maximum number possible. If you better 18, I’d love to know how!

I hope this equips and inspires you to take maths outside on National Number Day!

By Juliet Robertson

Get real, get messy, get maths, get outside!

Come and spend a wonderful day in the woods, with Juliet Robertson, the author of the multi-award winning book, ‘Messy Maths‘. Together you will explore the five “R’s” of Messy Maths:

  • Rights – every child is mathematical and has the right to have learn about and explore maths.
  • Routines – embedding key maths concepts into your daily routines.
  • Resources – open-ended, low cost materials which can be used in lots of different ways with different ages and abilities of children.
  • Responsibilities of the adults – how to follow children’s lead and articulate the learning which happens through a play-based approach. It also includes ways of involving families in developing a child’s love of maths.
  • Re-imagining your outdoor space – developing maths-rich provision in any outdoor space be this a concrete jungle, woodland paradise or something else.

This content is based upon the book, Messy Maths: A Playful and Outdoor Approach for the Early Years. It is particularly suitable for those who work with children aged 3-6 yrs old. It takes a sensible approach that provides lots of practical ways to ensure your maths provision is engaging and interesting outside and meets the needs of the children with whom you work.

This all takes place within the context of sustainability using the environment, natural materials and what is around us in any outdoor space.

Date: 21st May 2020.
Lead Facilitator: Juliet Robertson
Location:
 Mill Woods, near Laughton, East Sussex, BN8 6BP
Cost: £120. If you are attending the Literacy Day also, the fee is £220 for the two days.*
Time: 09.00 – 15.30
Booking: Please book online here.
More information: Please see our website.
*Juliet is also running a Literacy Day on 22nd May – ‘Lighting the Literacy Fire’. Please see the website for details. If you would like to book both courses with Juliet, the fee is reduced to £220 for both courses.

About Juliet

Juliet is one of Scotland’s leading education consultants who specialises in outdoor learning and play. She works at a national level delivering training, giving keynote speeches, leading and supporting innovative outdoor projects and writing content for websites, documents and case studies.   She is passionate about enabling schools, play organisations and early years settings to provide quality outdoor learning and play opportunities for children and young people. Read more here.


Transforming education, health and family through nature.
Circle of Life RediscoveryWe provide exciting and highly beneficial nature-centred learning and therapeutic experiences for young people, adults, and families in Sussex woodlands, along with innovative continuing professional development for the health, well being and teaching professionals who are supporting them.
Email: info@circleofliferediscovery.com
Tel: 01273 814226

National Tree Week

Let’s celebrate National Tree Week 2019!

National Tree Week

 

National Tree Week is the UK’s largest annual tree celebration beginning the start of the winter tree planting season.

We are from a woodland culture!

 

 

What is a tree?
An oxygen maker,
A flood abater, a carbon absorber,
A climate recorder, a healthy aspect, a place to reflect,
A nest for an owl, where gruffalos growl, a climbing frame,
The fuel for a flame, a soil stabiliser, a picnic sun-visor, a provider of fruit,
Winter quarters for newts, the pages of tome, the heart of a home,
A pollutant filter, a neighbourhood gilder, a treatment for liver,
A stress reliever, an artist’s spark, an ancient landmark,
A noise muffler, a blue tit’s supper’s supper,
A temperature reducer,
A primary producer,
A wind breaker,
A wood maker,
A natural sculpture,
just outside the front door.

Between 10,000 and 4,500 BC our climate stabilised and wildwoods developed. Tree species like birch, aspen, pine, hazel, oak, lime, holly and beech began to make up these wildwoods. Around 5,500 BC Britain became an island and the wildwoods would probably have been a mixture of scrub-land grassland and tree groves rather than a continuous wood from John O Groats to Land’s end.

By the First World War, 90% of our timber was imported and the Forestry Commission was set up in 1919 to protect and grow our own timber. Many mixed woodland were destroyed often using herbicides to clear areas for conifer planting. And here we are, nearly in 2020 and we are gradually rediscovering the value of trees and woodland.

Celebrate National Tree Week - Our woodland site near Laughton, East SussexCircle of Life Rediscovery welcomes all our groups to a stunning 10 acre of beautiful mixed broad-leafed woodland known as Mill Woods. It is near Laughton Village, located 10 miles from Lewes in East Sussex. This land is part of the newly formed 171 acres of Vert Woods Community Woodland (VWCW).

 

All CLR work at our site prioritises care for the woodland, with the aim to increase biodiversity. We work closely with a wide range of nature enthusiasts to manage and support a long-term woodland plan that enables these woods to thrive whilst providing quality nature connection opportunities for all ages.  We are committed to providing access to nature for people from all backgrounds.

The Woodland Project in East Sussex offers days out in nature for families who have a child with a severe physical or learning disability, families who have a child experiencing mental health issues and 11-18 year olds who are accessing mental health services.

We have taken careful steps to build structures that sit naturally within the landscape. A beautiful and simple canvas shelter, enables up to 30 people to remain dry in some of our wetter days!

We have created a simple clean and sustainable compost toilet, and we have constructed a disability-friendly toilet for our Flagship ‘The Woodland Project‘.

All water is either brought onto site, or gathered using permaculture principles.

 

Forest Bathing

This year we are introducing our seasonal ‘Forest Bathing days’.

National Tree Week and Forest BathingA growing body of scientific research is affirming what we’ve always felt, being among trees is good for us. From the way they clean the air of pollutants and pump it with fresh oxygen to the immune-boosting phytoncides they release, we boost our well-being simply by breathing in their presence.

 

Forest Bathing invites us to be in relation to our surroundings with all of our senses – when we are sensing, we are in the present – and trees provide engaging stimulation for our senses, be it the sound of wind through the trees (one of the top 3 soothing sounds), their beauty, the varied textures of their barks and leaves.

The practice of Forest Bathing not only provides us with a pleasurable health-boosting experience but also deepens our knowing and appreciation of these incredible tree-beings so crucial to the health of our planet and all its inhabitants.

Support Trees for Life for National Tree Week!

Circle of Life Rediscovery has started to ‘Plant a Grove’ to help offset some of our trainings abroad.

Trees for Life’s vision is of a revitalised wild forest in the Highlands of Scotland, providing space for wildlife to flourish and communities to thrive. If you would like to contribute to this please follow this link. 


Transforming education, health and family through nature.

Circle of Life RediscoveryWe provide exciting and highly beneficial nature-centred learning and therapeutic experiences for young people, adults, and families in Sussex woodlands, along with innovative continuing professional development for the health, well being and teaching professionals who are supporting them.


Other organisations:

https://www.9trees.org/: Planting trees is one of the best ways to draw CO2 out of the atmosphere and lock away carbon. Trees take time to reach their full potential and we only have 12 years to fundamentally change our carbon footprint before irreversible damage is done.

https://treesisters.org/: Tree Sisters is a global network of women who donate monthly to fund the restoration of our tropical forests as a collective expression of planetary care.

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/: A National organisation set up to care for our
woodlands and plant millions of trees!