The Open Spaces 'Nature Connections' sessions are suitable for special schools, and children in mainstream schools with special educational needs.
This session enables participants were able to build their confidence and resilience through a range of visible and achievable tasks, such as raking fallen leaves into a huge pile and jumping into them, and filling buckets with woodchip and emptying them onto a path. Tasks are designed to be straightforward and repetitive with a visible outcome at the end, and to be achievable for the wide range of abilities and temperaments.
A big focus is to create opportunities for the children to speak to and listen to each other whilst working towards a common goal. Facilitators collaborate with specialist SEND teachers at the school, to ensure there is space for students to act on their initiative and follow their interests to do something different. The nature of the unscheduled activities enables children to be calm, exercise creativity in their own tasks and to stay engaged outdoors for long periods of time.
Pupils have the opportunity to improve their communication, confidence, creativity, and teamwork skills whilst making a visible difference to their local environment.
Teachers have noted high levels of engagement and their pupils’ increased ability to stay focused and seated, beyond what is more usual in an indoor classroom setting.