Connecting Children to Nature's Classroom

BY David Doig Foundation

Sustainable Communities Initiatives (SCI) was established in 2000 to promote social, environmental and sustainability work. They highlight that children are spending more time indoors, becoming socially isolated and inactive in part due to screen time, and also due to having less available green space suitable for play and or feel unsafe when playing outdoors. Local schools of Fair Isle and Burntisland in Kirkcaldy had identified that their children could benefit from outdoor education to boost their understanding of nature and ecology and overall enhance their health and wellbeing.

With a grant from the David Doig Foundation, 12 children from Fair Isle and Burntisland Primary Schools were able to develop their knowledge of the sustainability of the environment, whilst increasing their confidence, team building, communication skills and emotional resilience. The children enjoyed the freedom of the outdoors and took part in activities such as making bird feeders, hammocks, knots, string work and mindfulness activities. These children, at an important stage in their lives, also gained resilience skills which helped them to better manage relationships, family home life and life transitions, such as moving onto secondary school.

Calum is a young boy who took part in the outdoor activities and was having some difficulties at home, which at times resulted in him being withdrawn. The outdoor activities took place on a regular basis which helped Calum to build up his confidence and take on more group work responsibilities. Calum greatly enjoyed and found new interests in foraging and tasting fruits and berries. Over the course of the project, Calum increased his participation and developed positive relationships with staff members and children alike. Calum was pleased to learn new skills including resilience, which will help him with his home life as well as build friendships as he grows and moves on to secondary school.

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