Breakaway ‘through the seasons’

What did it achieve:
Forest Corner ran a series of forest schools throughout the year. Forest School is a unique learning medium, it encourages and inspires individuals of any age through an innovative, long term, educational approach to outdoor learning in a woodland environment. As part of the programme adults from Breakaway, ARC Certitude, visited the reserve monthly for a whole year. The participants enjoyed being in Perivale Wood and taking part in the forest school sessions.

What did it mean to you:
Daniel Rutland ( ”Our group of adults with learning disabilities has loved working with Gillian at Perivale Wood this year. We’ve learnt about fires, toasted marshmallows, foraged for berries, made willow hurdles, charcoal and Christmas decorations and lots more, as well as using our experience of the woods (and our charcoal and berries!) as the basis for some original artwork. I think the mix of fresh air, beautiful natural surroundings, focused creative activity and relaxed fun is an absolute winner. Gillian has understood the needs and potential of our group very well and supported them with sensitivity and imagination. Thank you Forest School!”

Gillian de Soyres (Forest Corner) ”The woodland environment offers the group peace, tranquility and a wholesome sensory experience; that alone is of great value to these adults with learning difficulties. However, we have also been able to impart new skills such as using tools, creating using woodland resources and foraging. The group also had the chance to liaise with other members of the community including corporate volunteers from Merrill Lynch Bank of America.”

Here are some examples of what they were involved with.
• Conservation activity and woodland management
• Creating hazel hurdle fencing for their garden area
• Learning to use loppers, Secators, saws and a bit and brace amongst other tool use
• Charcoal making used for drawing images of nature
• Foraging and making natural colours from dyes and tannins
• Cooking on an open fire – lunch – baked potatoes and beans, marshmallows, smores, and popcorn/making tea in a storm kettle
• Creating table centre pieces for Halloween from a felled tree
• Making winter reefs with holly and found objects in the Wood

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