Local support charity Education Futures Trust is offering free outdoor courses and clubs in Hastings and encourages parents to let their children ‘Go Wild’.
The aim of the new project is to get children outdoors more with the free courses including after school woodland clubs, school holiday woodland days and parent and toddler groups.
Course Leader Luke Funnell said: “We want to offer children and communities the opportunity to have time in nature, to get their hands muddy, play outdoors and learn about their local natural environment - to see them as a fun and safe place to play and enjoy.”
The after school woodland club and school holiday days offer children ongoing woodland experiences, giving them the opportunity to learn bushcraft and survival skills, make woodland crafts, and have lots of time to play in the woods and make new friends. The parent and toddler course gives parents the opportunity to learn new ways of engaging their children in nature and aims to support parents to allow their children to ‘go wild’.
It is widely reported that modern children are spending less time outdoors than ever before. The huge rise in indoor technology and a decrease in green space has contributed to a decline in ‘wild play’ and left modern children with little connection to nature.
Research shows children are spending on average less than 30 minutes a week in nature and less time outdoors than prisoners. At the same time children’s well-being is at an all-time low and children mental health problems on the rise.
Regular contact with nature has been proven to improve health and wellbeing in people of all ages. Forest school groups led by Education Futures Trust have consistently resulted in improved confidence, self-esteem, resilience, independence and social skills in participants.
“We need our children to spend more time in nature, to feel that the natural world is important and valuable. It is imperative to their personal development but also for the future sustainability of our natural spaces and our planet,” said Luke.
The free courses, funded by Sussex Community Foundation and Sussex Coast College, take place in Church Wood, an area of spectacular ancient woodland between Hollington and Robsack. The project is also supported by Church in the Wood and local Tesco community champions. It launches with a free Woodland Fun Day for children aged 8 -14 on February 14, with the after school club and parent and toddler course starting on February 21. For more information or to book a place contact Charlotte on 01424 722241 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
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