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wildlife friendly outside spaces
“Our lives may be more productive, but less inventive. In an effort to value and structure time, some of us unintentionally may be killing dreamtime. In our worry about children’s safety we may take actions that, in some ways, decrease our children’s safety.”
“Last Child in the Woods” Richard Louv
I’m driven by a love of the natural world and many projects I work on seek to explore this and to collaborate with educationalists and others in creating opportunities for people to connect with nature.
I’ve been working on several projects in collaboration to create wildlife friendly gardens and outside spaces in schools. This feels incredibly important to me and I’m inspired by seeing the ways in which both children and adults find so much in nature that brings calm, ideas
Nature is a great teacher for both children and adults – and spaces that allow nature to thrive can give amazing opportunities for stories to emerge, for soothing, for inspiration and for discovery on so many levels. Unexpected things can emerge and each day will bring new things to uncover.
I feel incredibly strongly that outside spaces for children should be places where they can watch ladybirds, snails, bees and birds and be inspired by them. They should be places where children can dig in the mud, splash in puddles, watch shapes in the clouds and make dens. They should be spaces where you can find the unexpected; where you can watch and listen and slow down, where you can touch the soil and catch a raindrop on your tongue.
An outside classroom should be a place that is totally different to the inside; a place where the ceiling is the sky, the earth is the floor and the walls are as wide as the space you are exploring.
As humans, we’ve always needed to be connected to nature, but this feels very pressing now as the modern world can fill our lives with electronic gadgets, fast paced living, virtual worlds, things that happen immediately at the touch of a button and a disconnection to food production and the natural world. We need to take a stand to redress the balance - and we need to join with others as we do this.
I’ve watched children spend hours creating homes for insects and as they do so they work so hard measuring, building, inventing stories, writing and working together. I’ve seen adults relax and laugh in ways they’ve said they find hard inside a building.
“young children have an immense curiosity about the natural world…
Nurture that precious sense of wonder and direct it to help children discover for themselves what lives under stones …allow them the space to make their own discoveries…”
“Natures Playground”by Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield.