Another way to Love Outdoor Play
One of our local playworkers had a couple of ideas about how he could show how much he loves outdoor play and he has managed to join up World of Difference Vodafone Volunteering and the John the Muir Award1.
This Saturday was the third session for the John Muir Award Explorers, from Exploring Nature play South West project who like our friends at Shiremoor Adventure Playground Trust are taking part in their Discovery level award2. The Explorers and adventurers from the South West are sharing and conserving, exploring and discovering a bit closer to home, in fact all the wild places they are visiting are within a 10 mile radius of where they live. The main reason for this was the fact that so often when asked, local children don’t even know about the great places right on their doorstep.
Dan from Sylvan Adventures and Play Torbay has been leading on the award pilot project as part of his Vodafone Volunteering – World of Difference placement with NCB/ Play England. The families and children were all self selected to be part of the group, and additional volunteers have come from the local play community to support the sessions.
The first session was a lot about planning, learning and sharing. Who was John Muir, where did he live, what did he do? Who are we, what do we do and where do we live? Why do we want to be part of this project, and where might we go and what might we do when we are there?
The second session saw the group meet at a local nature reserve in Primley Park, to explore a very beautiful and wild place. We learnt how to identify trees, listen to the world around us, collect and take home rubbish (it was good to see that there wasn’t much)! We hunted for bugs and special plants we could see in the sea, we laid in the long grass and watched the clouds.
Since then the group have visited a very special wild place that provides adventurous play opportunities for local children – as visitors to the space we have been greeted by the local children with some suspicion! Why do we want to help conserve the space? Conversations then took place about what would happen if there weren’t any trees left. What would Fort Apache look like? What happens to the space when we play there? Why do we need to re-plant saplings and plants?
Our penultimate session will be a night walk back at Primly Park, before our last session and then a celebration on Saturday 3 August as part of Playday 2013 and our Exploring Nature Play South West exhibition where we will also be reflecting on the two and half years of the project and the Fort Apache Good from Woods research. All are welcome!
Jane Hembrow from Exploring Nature Play South West says ‘it has been a great opportunity for us to have Dan volunteering with us and the John Muir Award has been a fantastic way for local families to really get involved with their local environments, to explore wild places that are right on their doorstep and to be able to give something back at the same time as they are learning and having fun!’
Paula says ‘it’s been great, I love doing things with my daughter and we do lots of activities together, this has been different as I have also been able to really get involved myself and I have done lots of new things, and found out more about places near where we live.’