Valentine’s Day in the Woods

A Parent’s View – We loved it!

A friend had recommended the Circle of Life Rediscovery Family Wild Day Out to me but I didn’t think it would be ‘our thing’.

Whilst wondering what I was going to do over a rainy half term week and how to keep two energetic girls entertained, I thought – why not?

Can't wait to go back at Easter for another Family Wild Day Out!

 

We set off on a grey morning with our water proofs and packed lunch. We met a few other families at the gate and the children soon started to make friends.

 

Jennie, running the Family Wild Day Out, from Circle of Life Rediscovery was there to greet us and gave the children an activity to do whilst we waited for everyone to arrive.

And Relax…..

One thing I noticed when we got to the woodland site, was the smiles on everyone’s faces.  It was like we had left our stresses behind. I also felt the same, I cannot remember when I had a whole day without looking at my phone every 10 minutes or worrying about what jobs needed to be done. We just focused on each other in the here and now.

Making dens and shelters on our family wild day out!
Sticks and Stones….

After our introductions and safety notes (mainly about the fire and our borders) we set off to make dens! I didn’t think the girls would be that keen, but they couldn’t wait!

Off they ran to collect sticks and leaves, they teamed up with some other children and actually made a fantastic den that we could hide in!

 

LOVE-ly Activities

We made our own bird feeders!Shortly after that we sat together and made heart shaped bird feeders which the girls loved.

I noticed that the older children helped the younger children without being prompted – being together in the woods made everyone join together as one big family.

We were able to take them home and have since enjoyed watching the birds whilst eating our breakfast.

 

Slack lining and rope bridges! Fun at our family wild day out!
Testing our Skills!

After lunch we build rope bridges and tried out our slack lining skills – adults too!

We played games in the woods and Jenny pointed out small bluebell buds starting to grow (must come back to see the woods covered in bluebells in the spring!).

 

 

Relight your Fire!

Making our own fires and experiencing woodland cooking!

It was then time to build our own fire, we split into groups, collected sticks and made our fire which was really satisfying!

The children took it in turns to cook pancakes over the fire which were delicious – it was great for them to try out new skills and they were really pleased with themselves.

 

 

Yummy pancakes on the fire!The leader Jenny and her volunteer Peter, were so patient and good with the kids. They spent time with them explaining what we were doing and why – about the importance of nature and the earth.

I was able to take a step back and breathe in the woodland. I don’t think I have ever stood still in a woodland before, just listening to the bird song, it was actually quite magical. As a busy working mum I have never really taken the time to appreciate it.

 

Such a fun family day!Saying Goodbye

We finished the day by sitting in a circle around the fire and had marshmallows and hot chocolate to warm up.

We said our good byes and headed back to the car, I noticed the girls were covered in mud and had scruffy hair, but they were still smiling.

Having mentioned earlier that I didn’t think the Family Wild Day Out would be up our street – I was so wrong, we can’t wait to go back again for some more family time in the woods.

Family Wild Day Out  – Future Dates

Can't wait to go back again at Easter for another family wild day out!

The next dates for the Circle of Life Rediscovery Family Day Wild Day Out are as follows:

3rd April 2018
31st May 2018
8th August 2018
30th August 2018

Please book online in advance! Details can be found on the website or you can book online here.

 

Circle of Life Rediscovery
Circle of Life Rediscovery offers CPD’s and forest school training for adults, residential camps, forest school, woodland days and enrichment days for schools, plus family days in the woods! For more details please see the website.

 

The John Muir Award: A Case Study

What is the John Muir Award?

The John Muir Award is a national environmental award that encourages people of all
backgrounds to connect with, enjoy and care for wild places through a structured yet
adaptable scheme. The Award isn’t competitive but should challenge each participant. It
encourages awareness and responsibility for the natural environment, in a spirit of fun,
adventure and exploration. The Award is open to all, and is the educational initiative of the John Muir Trust. To find out more, please click here.

What does the Award involve?

The John Muir Award has 4 challenges for students, which are designed to promote a holistic approach to learning, and reflect John Muir’s own wilderness experience.
The Challenges are:

  • Discover a wild place – this could be your school grounds, woodlands, the mountains
  • Explore it – increase your understanding
  • Conserve – take personal responsibility
  • Share your experiences

What are the benefits to schools?

There are several ways you could use the John Muir Award to benefit your pupils, and
encourage learning:

Learn about the John Muir Award and benefits to schools

  • Encourage an experiential approach to teaching curriculum subjects
  • Help close gaps in attainment and opportunity, improve behaviour and attendance and increase engagement with learning
  • Promote physical and emotional wellbeing
  • Utilise school grounds, local or more distant wild places, and make connections between them

To find out more about John Muir Award and the curriculum, read the accompanying
brochure here.

Circle of Life Rediscovery and the John Muir Award

Contact us to find out how to become involved.

CLR have been offering the John Muir Award at Discovery and Explorer Level since 2006 – the first organisation in Sussex to offer this prestigious national environmental award.

 

Since then hundreds of young people have achieved the Award which at its heart recognises young people’s connection with, enjoyment of and care for wild places.

Case Study

Why are residentials so important for young people?Tiffins Boys School,  London – We begin the Award with a Woodland Day in May to start the journey, and to teach students the skills they will need for camp (Discover). They will learn fire lighting, shelter building, cooking…some of which they have never tried before. The woodland day is also an opportunity for students to join in with planning the camp activities – what else would they like to learn?

Camp takes place in June for 2 night and 3 days (Explore) and includes activities such as tool use, team building games, night stalks, cooking and plenty of adventure.
Students also take part in a conservation activity (Conserve) during camp, which could
include tree planting or clearing an area within the woodland to open up the canopy to new growth, therefore increasing the overall biodiversity of the woodland.

Tiffins School and the John Muir AwardAt the end of camp students go back to school and (Share) their experiences and learning with the rest of the school. They come away from their John Muir Award experience with more confidence, closer as a team, with a better understanding of the natural environment and having achieved a nationally-recognised award at Discovery level.


"My son is completely different since camp, he has more thinking space inside his head, he is calmer, he has changed." Parent, March 2017.
“I didn’t think that I liked camping but I have underestimated myself. The camp was amazing, I have not only learnt new skills but I have learnt to be grateful about everything around me. I have a new sense of confidence and believe in myself.”

Camp Participant, June 2017.

More information

Please contact us if you are interested in exploring the John Muir Award with Circle of Life Rediscovery. Each Award is bespoke and unique to your requirements.

Please note – we can also offer the John Muir Award as a series of day visits either on your school site, or our woodland site, or a mixture of both. The programme can be designed around your curriculum needs so do contact us to discuss this as an option, find out more.

By Katie Scanlan

We look forward to hearing from you.

Circle of Life RediscoveryCircle of Life Rediscovery also run Forest School sessions, Forest School training, woodland days, enrichment activity days, outdoor learning days, CPD for teachers and family activity days in our beautiful Sussex woodland. Please visit our website for more details or call 01273 814226.

Why overnight camps and residentials are so important!

The Importance of Residential Camps.

More and more research is coming to light to support what we in the environmental world have always asserted – being outdoors is good for you and so are residential camps!

This means not only are children able to be more active by being outside, they are also able to learn more freely, engage more readily and be inspired, encouraged, challenged and therefore improve their confidence and self-esteem.

These positive effects are amplified even more when it comes to a residential camp.

Why are residential camps so important?


“I slept alone in a shelter that I had made, I never thought I would be able to do that. I feel more confident and have overcome my fears.”
Camp Participant, June 2017

 

Learning Away

Learning Away is an initiative, funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, to research the benefits of residential experiences in schools. In 2015 they published a report, following 3 years of action research with over 60 schools and colleges, identifying the overall impacts of residentials for young people.

The evidence collected throughout the 3-year project showed that residentials:

  • Foster deeper relationships
  • Improve students’ resilience, self-confidence and wellbeing
  • Boost cohesion and a sense of belonging
  • Improve students’ engagement with learning
  • Improve students’ knowledge, skills and understanding
  • Support students’ achievement
  • Smooth students’ transition experiences
  • Provide opportunities for student leadership, co-design and facilitation

“Learning Away has shown that a residential learning experience provides opportunities and benefits/impacts that cannot be achieved in any other educational context or setting. The impact is greater when residential’s are fully integrated with a school’s curriculum and ethos”   York Consulting (2015)

Read the full report here.

Work on the Wild Side

In addition to the Learning Away research, a new report (May 2017), has been released that demonstrates leading schools (highest Progress 8 scores) place high value on residential experiences.

The ‘Work on the Wild Side’ report produced in partnership with Learning Away Consortium members, CLOtCIOL and AHOEC analyses the UK primary and secondary schools with the highest Progress 8 scores and winners of the Pupil Premium Awards.

The report found that “outdoor learning is valued amongst teachers, pupils, parents and inspectors and that the skills learnt outdoors are transferable to the classroom and across the academic spectrum.” Work on the Wild Side, May 2017

Given the clear benefits of outdoor learning and residential camps, more needs to be done to ensure that children and young people are provided with the opportunity to leave the classroom.

Read report in full here.

Circle of Life Rediscovery Camps

Unique residential camps with Circle of Life Rediscovery

Circle of Life Rediscovery runs unique, nature-based residential camps for young people in a beautiful woodland environment in Sussex.

Camps have a strong environmental basis and could include activities such as fire-making, tool use, cooking and foraging, team-building activities, art, story-telling, music and night walks. We also offer the John Muir Award, a National Conservation Award, at Discovery level.

“I didn’t think that I liked camping but I have underestimated myself. The camp was amazing, I have not only learnt new skills but I have learnt to be grateful about everything around me. I have a new sense of confidence and believe in myself”
Camp Participant, June 2017.

Residential camps in East Sussex

To find out more about our residential camps, watch one of our films from a Secondary School camp or Primary School camp where participants explain what they enjoyed about the camp.

Please contact us on 01273 814226 or send an email for more information if you are interested in organising a camp for your school. Each camp is bespoke and unique to your requirements.

 

There are free resources on the Learning Away website, include planning tools, models for lower cost trips and curriculum integration.

By Katie Scanlan

Circle of Life Rediscovery

 

Holiday, Family Activities and Camps

Keep your family entertained this Easter by attending our holiday and family days! We offer bespoke days in the Sussex countryside aimed at getting your children outdoors to learn new skills, make things, meet new people and have fun whilst enjoying the great outdoors. Please note spaces are limited so please get in touch to secure your place! Don’t forget we also offer family camps and summer camps for children during the school holidays – early booking essential.

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*New* – Family Camp 28th-30th May

Enjoy the woods and relax with your family during May half-term. Nature based games and activities for all the family including tracking, crafts and fire lighting. Find out more.

Early booking essential – limited spaces. View our photo gallery to see how much fun you can have in the woods!

Complimentary Download – Whose Tracks?

Looking for ideas to entertain the children during the holidays? Click here to download our FREE seasonal activity sheet. Answers will be posted on our Blog shortly!

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Photographical Significance

Grab your wellies, make that hot chocolate and light that fire because… AUTUMN IS HERE!!

I’m super excited. In my opinion Autumn/Winter are the best seasons out there but hands down, Autumn tops off all the seasons by far. Don’t get me wrong, each season has something unique to give and provide, but overall Autumn just reigns supreme!

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CAMHS Camp participant feedback…

CAMHS Camp May 2013

What have you enjoyed about the camp?

  • “The thing I’ve most enjoyed about the last two days in spending time with your friends and not your family, so you’re going out into the forest and having all this free space and free time and you don’t have to worry about any of the stress at home, or whatever it is going through your mind. You just come to the forest, open, new space, and be with your friends, be with people that you like and can enjoy time with and just have a good time.”
  • “I’ve really enjoyed making fires. Thats what I really like. It’s nice to get together with people that I know and that I don’t know. It’s been a really nice experience. I’ve never camped out in the woods before! So I was quite nervous about when it got dark, but it wasn’t as scary as I thought!”
  • “Fire making, cooking the food, playing the games, going to see the badger sets and just hanging out with others!”

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Bentley Woodfair

We spent the weekend in the woods at Bentley, running a stall to let people know what Circle of Life Rediscovery is up to. The woodland has never seen so many people on the glorious sunny Saturday! It was thriving and the atmosphere was wonderful. We sat around a campfire making teas and coffees for visitors, talking about our woodland programs, forest school agendas, outdoor education and the ethos of Circle of Life. Children came and sat, mesmerized by the fire, and learnt Bush craft skills which involved foraging. Everyone ended up with a beautiful dream-catcher!

We ran an activity where we asked people to write what they thought was pants about being indoors, and tops about being outdoors. These were then hung on our washing line! Here are some of the best quotes:

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