The Greatest Outdoors

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Kids who spend time in nature are happier… whodha tot?

This article from March 23, 2022 outlines not just why and how kids are better in nature but how you can do it and it doesn’t have to cost a million squid (hint: urban spaces are nature too.)

Find out how you can get Elements Forest and Garden School to give your child a great time while learning without learning… if you know what i mean…

Contact us on 07540075991 or email us at hello@elementsschool.net

Resilience. Adventure. Memories…. and Friends…
Exploring boundaries. Caring for Nature. Developing Skills.

Heard of it? Nature Deficit Disorder?

Working with the Killinchy Sure Start kids.

Nature Deficit Disorder was coined as a term just over 10 years ago. It was the first time someone had done a study on just how not being out in nature was detrimental to our children.

It it now universally acknowledged and recognised that spending a lot of time outdoors – there is no upper limit really – has a positive effect on mental, physical and spiritual health.

Here is a recent news item on this. The clip is not playable but the article does describe the issue well.

Busy as bees with the Fostering Network

Well, yes it is true, we have been absent online – there is no excuse, but we have been very very busy…

First there was the Easter Scheme which saw three days of wonderfully warm weather and sadly due to my phone being on its last legs, I was unable to take photos of the wonderful time we had. From playing in the river once more to lounging on hammocks and even getting ‘lost’ during our walk there was just so much to do!

After that we worked with the Fostering Network over four Saturdays – Helen’s Bay was home to Wild About Learning – an outdoor classroom where we harvested mud, drew and IDed trees and foraged the tender spring greens.

As you can see we were only allowed to take the set up photos but here are some quotes from the children…

1  What mark would you give the ‘Wild About Learning’ programme out of 10?

  1. Didn’t enjoy       5 OK 10 Brilliant

    9 (3), 10 (4)
  1. Did you have fun?  Yes or No?

Yes (7)

 – tell me one thing you really enjoyed and why.

River walk – I like playing in water (3)

Making new friends – I like meeting new people (1)

Starting a campfire – I always wanted to learn to do this (1)

Building a hammock – I liked to swing in it by myself (1)

Cooking marsh mallows – like love eating them (1

  1. We hoped you would try new things.  Tell me about something new you tried for the first time.

Cooking on a campfire (2)

Starting a campfire (4)

Learning about leaves (1)

  1. We hoped you would learn new things.  Tell me about something you learnt that you didn’t know about before you came to ‘Wild about Learning’.

That you can eat some leaves (3)
Learning about bugs (1)

How to cook on a campfire (1)

How to build a den (1)

How to make things from river mud (1)

  1. Was learning outdoors a fun way to learn?  Yes or No?

Yes (7)

We worked together and listened to others.

– Did you like being part of a team?  Yes or No?

Yes (7)

– Did you make new friends?  Yes or No?

Yes (7)

  1. Do you think coming to We are Wild About Learning gave you more confidence?  Yes or No?

Yes (7)

  1. Were the staff friendly?  Yes or No?

Yes (7)

  1. Would you come back again?  Yes or No?

Yes (7)

Well really you couldn’t ask for more could you?

Elementary! Newsletter Relaunched

Our newsletter is now ready. Finally got round to updating it and now you can check it out.

It has what we are getting up to and what we have done. It also has three things you can do at home. For March we focus on dandelions.

Click on this to see what it looks like!

The Greatest Outdoors: March 2020

You can also subscribe to it. Go here for the form.

Knife Work!

One of the delights of working the way we do is that we allow the children to determine the activity. Of course we make suggestions, some quite strongly, but mostly we are able to draw them in. So this week, quite a few wanted to work with knives. The children here are 7 and 8 years old. Children are able to work with knives from this age onwards.

The weather in Ireland isn’t as bad as people make it out to be! Here we are enjoying the early February sunshine! It was cold but so beautiful!

Many of our students are able to relax into the gorgeous surroundings and eventually become children of the forest. After a few months students are able to become so at home with their surroundings that it is like second nature to them.

Here we are at the Quarries… it was a cooler day but no less lovely. Again, knife work!

A lovelier location does not exist really.

Half price sessions at Bangor

To boost our numbers at the Quarries, we have decided that if two people come along for a session in February, it will be at half price – that’s £15 for two children – that is pretty cool!

In Elements, we believe in a complete respect for life. This also includes the life of animals which sustain us. Part of this respect is learning to appreciate how we prepare food – fish does not come frozen and battered.

Matthew brought a fish he caught and the children were able to have a look at the fish and watch it being prepared.

After that we cooked the fish and enjoyed the fresh subtle taste!

This was done as part of our past Forest School session at the Quarries. It was certainly a November evening not to be forgotten!

To find out more about our sessions here, contact us on hello@elementsschool.net or text/WhatsApp/phone us on 07540075991. You can also fill in this form to join our Quarries Sessions. They are every Tuesday from 3.30 – 5.30 pm.

The half price does not apply to the half term session on 15 Feb. Many thanks

MyNI website presence!

This summer we ran a very satisfying Forest School summer scheme and had loads and loads of great feedback. Some of it was so good that it made it to the MyNI website. Here is the link.

Enjoy!

Award for Matthew!

We could not be more thrilled that Matthew is working with us to help bring the vision of accessibility to Arts and Crafts in the outdoors to a wider audience. For only £60 you can create your own beautiful item with young artist Matthew Walton. Fill in this form to reserve your space.

Beautiful May

Here are some pictures from the past week – we have only been back for a week! Many friends have returned and a few more are about to join. Here are some photos from the Quarries in Bangor (Tuesdays and Saturdays) as well as Hillsbrough Forest Park (Wednesday).

May be an image of outdoors
Collecting tinder – the children learn that fire lives in the seeds
May be an image of fire and outdoors
We light the fire using a dragon sneeze – the children learn what a precious element it is and how difficult it is to make one
May be an image of 1 person and outdoors
It only takes a spark, but the hard work of sparking! That’s a different story.
May be an image of outdoors
Making spiles for tree tapping – in the future!
May be an image of outdoors
Tree tapping equipment
May be an image of nature
Playing amongst the bluebells in Hillsbrough – these are what memories are made of
May be an image of nature
Magic is a biiiig part of what we do
May be an image of child, standing, playing a sport, outdoors and tree
Playing on a swing in the forest!

Get ready for the Summer!!!

We are returning!!!! From 4th of May onwards. Book your sessions here!!! We are also having a special season – each session is now only £15! That’s two hours of outdoor summer fun for only £15!!! We are also having a Summer Scheme!! Watch this space for details!

You can also contact us at hello@elementsschool.net.

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