A Local Journeys bid to get kids involved and engaged with the great play and wildlife resource on their doorsteps – the fields, ponds and copses that surround our village. Understandably parents have concerns about their children being exposed to dangers but we’ve been hearing first hand from teachers and adults that many children have a real anxiety about ‘failing’, taking risks, getting dirty; all things that can help you learn how to become a fully functioning adult.
There’s a lot that’s been written recently about Nature Deficit Disorder and similar concerns about how children are becoming spoon-fed and spending unhealthy amounts of time in front of computers; this was our way of introducing a supervised discovery event around the children’s home territory in the hope that they would be able to follow this up with their own explorations with parents or friends. We felt that if children and young people can be guided to develop strategies for dealing with potential risks, and learn to co-operate with each other in an outdoor environment, this could build personal confidence and increase social interaction in all sorts of circumstances. Fortunately, the local Children and Young People’s Partnership organisation shared our aims and supported the project with some funding to run the event.
The activities included pond-dipping in two different ponds, hunting for hidden clues, insect discovery, den decoration, digital microscope photography and creating a giant artwork that was photographed from above by Nicky Brown‘s Quadcopter. Wildlife experts, artists and filmmakers supervised different elements or volunteered to guide the groups round. There are several posts about the project with some great photos taken by the young participants and adult helpers on the new Local Journeys blog [sadly no longer available].
Everyone who took part (children and adults) loved it – ‘it was a brilliant event’, ‘cracking day’ and one older resident saw everyone heading towards the fields from her window and said ‘The children were buzzing with happiness’. There’ll be another event for our local kids at the end of the summer featuring moths and bats ….