Beyond Lock down: Part 1 - Looking Back
Like so many other people, my work has been profoundly affected by the Covid 19 pandemic. It is now 3 months since all my face to face work ceased on the 20th March. I am deeply grateful that I have benefited from the Self Employed Support Scheme.
After an initial period of shock and stress, I turned my attention to how I could positively use this time to invest in my business, and create a stronger foundation for the future. This blog outlines some of that journey.
Support from the Lloyd's Bank Social Entrepreneurs programme
I am fortunate to be a part of this programme this year, and this has provided me with a mentor, peer support and access to a number of experts on topics including funding, social media, and legal structures. This has been a huge lifeline, and helped me feel less alone in challenging times.
Creating the new Into the Wild Wood Handbook
My first project was to completely revamp, update and improve the Into the Wild Wood Handbook, policies and procedures and risk assessments. This has included producing new information for parents and for workers/volunteers supporting Forest School. Here is a link to the new Handbook.
Creating educational videos for younger children
I was also funded to produce 10 videos for young children, by Castle Cavendish and Small Steps Big Changes funding. These videos use songs, puppets, and rhyme to connect children to nature. It has been really helpful to me to have the positive focus of this creative project, and I am grateful to Sherwood Playgroup CIO for supporting this to happen.
Producing the videos led me to make a number of new props and puppets that will be useful in my work as I move forward. You can see a selection of these below.
Continued Professional Development (CPD)
I have used the time to do some CPD with a mental well being focus, through the two professional networks I am a part of: The Forest School Association and The Therapeutic Forest. Topics have included "Supporting Children with PTSD", "Supporting children with anxiety", "Bereavement Awareness" and "Mindfulness in the Woodland".
I have also been doing some creative CPD around my love of puppets, through my involvement in the online Nottingham City Arts Puppet Club, and one to one support with developing my technique with Puppet Box.
Sharing my love of singing
In the training related to supporting children with anxiety, the Clinical Psychologist identified the use of song in Forest School, as a key way to create an environment to support the regulation of anxiety. I love singing and using song, so this inspired me to produce a number of videos to teach and share with the community of Forest School Practitioners, some of the songs I know and love.
Throughout this journey I have been supported by my time in nature, in my local parks and on my allotment. It has only increased my belief in the restorative power of nature and my determination to support as many children as I can to have positive experiences outdoors. I have also gained great nourishment from my creativity, and I am committed to unlocking and inspiring creativity in the young people I work with.