Rowan has reopened its forest school to adults with learning disabilities – and is looking for new recruits!
Activities include storytelling, lighting fires, den building, green woodworking, wildlife spotting and creating artworks inspired by the beautiful woodland surroundings. Sessions are driven by the ‘Rowan rangers’ who are encouraged to make their own decisions and take risks to build confidence within a safe and inclusive environment.
Rowan Rangers takes place in five acres of private woodland. The forest school began last year after the charity received funding from the Evelyn Trust and the Nineveh Trust to run a programme in response to the Covid-19 pandemic encouraging more social and educational opportunities outdoors, to help improve health and wellbeing.
“The main aims of Rowan Rangers forest school are the creative and holistic development of our participants and to build a deeper connection with nature and the woodland each time they visit” explains Forest School Leader Russell Cuthbert. “Many participants arrive feeling fear and anxiety about stepping into nature and the activities planned. It’s a joy to watch as they lose that fear throughout the programme, make new friends and really become part of our woodland community.”
The forest school concept has grown massively over the past two decades. Due to the positive benefits experienced by children during its emergence in early years education, it has since been adapted and evolved and is now offered to people of all ages and circumstances in different environments around the world. Benefits include improvements in participants’ social and communication skills, as well as developing emotional wellbeing skills such as self-confidence and resilience.