The Open Spaces 'Nature Connections' sessions are suitable for special schools, and children in mainstream schools with special educational needs.
In a previous session 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. Initial tasks were designed to be straightforward and repetitive with a visible outcome at the end, achievable for the wide range of abilities and temperaments in the group.
A big focus was to create opportunities for the children to speak to and listen to each other whilst working towards a common goal. In collaboration with specialist SEND teachers at the school, the session ensured there was space for students to act on their initiative and follow their interests to do something different. These unscheduled activities enabled them to be calm, exercise creativity in their own tasks and stay engaged outdoors for long periods of time.
Pupils had the opportunity to improve their communication, confidence, creativity, and teamwork skills whilst making a visible difference to their local environment.
Teachers have noted the high levels of engagement and their pupils’ increased ability to stay focused and seated, which was often much harder or even impossible to achieve in an indoor classroom setting.