Forest School Outtakes

25th February 23

This week has been Children’s Mental Health Week and we have been thinking about the benefits of connecting with nature to support our mental health. Not only are there numerous health benefits from being outdoors including increased Vitamin D, immune building microbes, stress regulation and much more we can also restore and build our mental wellbeing. The Five Ways to Wellbeing are: Connect, Be Active, Give, Learn and Take Notice and the children made many connections with these characteristics. They felt connected with nature saying they felt similar to plants; starting from a seed, growing and changing through life to its end. The children felt they connected with the beauty and changes in the world around them, but that it also taught them patience. We need to wait for plants to grow but the patience is well worth the wait with the wonder that eventually arrives. Being active goes without saying, playing, digging, building and being in a wonderfully tactile environment offers so much. Giving was interesting. The children noted that we give a lot of attention to growing plants and flowers, but eventually, they give back to us, whether that be in produce or beauty, and indeed they thought that growing to pass on to someone was a great thing. Being in the garden was also an opportunity to give time to each other and the community. The outdoor environment certainly gives numerous opportunities for learning, stimulating thought and questions. Taking notice through observations and at times, a slow pace and quite mindful moments at the end of lessons really focused our minds on the world of beautiful sounds around us. With all these amazing and insightful thoughts, the children enjoyed spending time in the garden, clearing and preparing the grounds for the new planting to come but also looking at the shoots of bulbs waiting to burst into life. A visit from a cheerful, plump and red-breasted robin sharing a song certainly added to our wellbeing. So let’s all get outside and enjoy the mental health benefits of our gardens and countryside