Despite Covid-19 we’ve carried on
Amazingly, despite the virus, we have managed to continue providing nature connection experiences for families.
In the Autumn we were awarded Lottery Community Funds to provide emotional support for families with SEN children. This allowed us to buy necessary supplies so we could be Covid-secure, to reduce possibility for virus transmission.
We decided it was only ‘safe’ to run sessions for two families at a time and so, once booking opened, we realised we needed to run more sessions than we would usually.
It was so rewarding to see the sheer pleasure on the faces of families who came along to enjoy an escape from the challenges we’re living with at the moment. The feedback we received showed they all found spending some time connecting with nature not only relaxed them but restored them somewhat too.
Nature connection rebalances emotions
It’s a scientific fact that spending just 2 hours in nature on a regular basis is enough to help reset your emotional state, through inducing relaxation for both the mind and body.
Feelings of being under tension are reduced and stress levels lower. Nature engages the senses without conscious awareness and that in itself helps to calm the whirring mind.
Simple things, such as spending time collecting materials to create a nature mandala, is satisfying on a number of levels. Without getting tecnhical, it just makes you feel good.
Building focus and motivation
Often the children who attend our sessions struggle with focus and motivation to finish a task.
We find that just leaving piles of natural resoureces lying around captures attention and then the children start to get creative. For, example there’s nothing like a pile of sticks waiting to be built into stick towers, especially if you can make yours higher than everyone else.
Sensory experiences through nature connection
Even on wet days ‘just being’ in the rain is something children generally love to do. The wetter and muddier they get the more focussed they become in what they’re doing, whatever they’re doing!
What we love to see at our family sessions is when parents start to play with their children in the rain and how the children absolutely love it.
Pulling Mummy or Daddy out of a rain filled ditch is just so much fun, would you believe? Enjoying the sound of the splash, the sensation of the water splashing on them, even the taste of the freshness in the air, or the rain on the tongue is all consuming, energizing but also calming for the emotions. Water and mud play provides such a rich source of opportunities for fun and family bonding.
Building positive relationships
I don’t think there are many people who don’t enjoy spending time around a camp fire, especially when you can heat sausages or toast marshmallows. But, for our families with SEN children the camp fire provides a lovely way for them to come together, focussed on a common task that really engages everyone in the spirit of co-operation.
“You can spend quality time with your child/children learning new nature skills. You can go on a bug hunt, build a stick den, check out the seasonal activities and crafts on offer or just simply relax & enjoy being in the woods knowing that the families you are with have the same everyday challenges you can relate to, which leaves you feeling you’re not alone. We find that we are more happy and content afterwards.”
Feedback received December 2020