Mindfulness Nature Discovery Days

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Charlotte at Lee Valley Regional Park Authority's Youth and Schools Service spoke to us about what they offer and about the launch of their new Mindfulness in Nature Discovery Days.

Lee Valley is the perfect school trip for a huge range of activities. Could you give us an outline of what is available for schools?

Lee Valley Regional Park is basically a 10,000 acre classroom that offers a diverse range of outdoor learning programmes. Delivered by experience, qualified staff who are passionate about engaging students with the outdoors. Programmes are offered for all key stages and tie into the national curriculum for Geography, Art & Design, Science, History, Design & Technology, PE and team building. We also offer outreach programmes in Essex, Hertfordshire and London.

nature discovery days

You have recently launched Mindfulness in Nature Discovery Days. Could you maybe explain a little about what mindfulness is?

Our mindfulness sessions help support a broad and balanced curriculum for students. The activities in this programme encourage the children to direct their attention to what is happening in the present moment and introducers the children to key mindfulness techniques such as noticing, being kind to oneself and others as well as verbalising emotions.

What are some of the benefits of mindfulness for pupils and teachers?

The perceived benefits from mindfulness are improvements to wellbeing and mental health, social and emotional learning, concentration and cognition as well as behaviour. Feedback from one teacher whose students had taken part in the programme were that all students showed progress in social skills, communication, motivation and subject enthusiasm.

How do you integrate mindfulness into a school visit and ensure that it is fun and engaging for the pupils?

Our Mindfulness and Natural Art Discovery Day programme are run by a team of qualified outdoor learning tutors. In the sessions students are given the opportunity to work in pairs, small groups and as whole class through a wide range for activities focusing on their senses and using the natural world as inspiration. Throughout the session our tutors are on hand to offer guidance and help with the creative process. Activities include natures rhythms, sound maps, blindfolded trail, kindness symmetry butterflies, sensory exploration, mud tree faces, story stone and Hapa Zome.

nature discovery day project

Who are the sessions run by?

Over the past year members of the Youth and Schools team have been undertaking mindfulness training whilst reviewing the extensive links between wellbeing and outdoor learning. Our programme tutors are recognised by the Institute of Outdoor Learning and are Forest School Level 3 practitioners who have completed training delivered by the Mindfulness in Schools Project. All programmes are accreditded with the Learning Outside the Classroom Quality BADGE

Can teachers continue to use mindfulness in their classroom after the visit?

From your website - Designed to help meet the requirements of the National Curriculum for Key Stage 1 and 2. Many of the programmes are accompanied by pupil project books and teacher information sheets. Activities and experiences learnt as part of the visit can be used by teachers for post visit learning and practised by pupils both in school and at home. Learning outcomes from the sessions include:

  • Basic awareness of mindfulness and wellbeing
  • Experience what it's like to direct their attention and the mindfulness concept of noticing'
  • Experience of the mindfulness concept of 'kindness to others
  • Development of social/team working skills and creativity
  • Increased motivation and concentration
  • Understanding of the outdoor environment
  • Experience using natural artefacts and creation of art work

Can pupils continue to use what they learnt after the visit to help them in their school life and beyond?

Yes definitely. The idea of the session is to get the students thinking, working together and understanding their mental wellbeing. They don't need to be in a structured learning environment to carry on using and expanding the techniques that the sessions covers.

Can these sessions link into the national curriculum, which subjects can you cover?

The Mindfulness and Natural Art Discovery Day predominately focusses on the Art & Design element of the natural curriculum. However, the Youth and Schools team also deliver other programmes which cover Geography, Art & Design, Science, History, Design & Technology, PE national curriculum areas.

Are these sessions designed specifically for different key stages?

The Mindfulness and Natural Art Discovery Day sessions as tailored for KS1 and KS2 student, however the Youth and Schools team deliver a range or programmes suitable for students from Reception to post 16, youth groups and special needs groups.

Suitable for KS1 & 2

If you are interested in hearing a bit more about how Lee Valley can help you with planning your next school visit then why not get in touch here.

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Day Visits
Day Visits
Day Visits

South East school trip at Lee Valley. The Regional Park Authority's Learning and Engagement Team provide a range of outdoor learning opportunities for all the key stages within Lee Valley Regional Park.
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