In2Nature is in its sixth year now and is improving year on year, as we tweak and change the offer to make it the very best for children. All children spend one day each week at our Nature Garden (allotment) around the corner from school, exploring nature with their key person. Once parents become aware of their nature day, they will take their child straight to the allotment dressed ready to be outdoors all session/day.
These sessions are very relaxed and child-led, where together we explore and experience the elements, seasons, weather conditions and look closely at nature throughout the year. Children are given opportunities to become real explorers of nature, finding out about our local community and its wild spaces, as well as learning new skills, techniques and a whole new language about nature, including being able to identify trees, plants, insects, wildlife etc. There is a cabin on the allotment with a camping kitchen and log burning stove, to provide warmth and shelter on the coldest of days. We also have a very posh ‘loo shed’ with a flushable camping toilet!
Usually, prior to the In2Nature sessions starting, parents/carers are asked to come to a workshop, where we discuss the rationale for why we venture In2 Nature with children, exploring together both the risks and benefits of this brilliant outdoor opportunity. During Covid-19, meeting together will probably not be possible, so instead, we have shared our philosophy with lots of photos and information about nature learning on our parent’s closed Facebook Page. Parents are reassured that our school takes very seriously it’s responsibilities for keeping children safe and adheres to Durham County Council policy and guidelines on all aspects of health and safety, including rigorous risk assessments of all areas we venture to and the amazing experiences we offer children outdoors.
Parents and grandparents are welcome to join a Nature Support Group and become involved in this fantastic learning opportunity, alongside staff and children.
It is crucial that children and adults are warm and dry when spending time outdoors in all weathers across the seasons. We have a number of snowsuits for children to change into when spending the whole session at the allotment/nature garden, although they are pretty worn from the last few years’ use! If you would prefer to buy your own kit specifically for your child, we recommend the following;
- warm and waterproof snowsuit
- cosy hat
- boots with a warm lining
- waterproof gloves