5 reasons for families to join Wild about Lanark
Local children enjoying outdoor play with 'Wild about Lanark'
Almost everywhere we look we hear of children under stress, unhappy or unsure of their place in the world. A group of local volunteers think that becoming ‘Wild About Lanark’ can help you and your family cope with challenges that lie ahead for the year.
The fully trained Leaders explain five key benefits to joining this local group that offers guided play for families in Lanark’s fabulous woodlands.
1. Learning through experience with nature
As a teacher and local parent founding member Jane Gracie is passionate about the educational benefits of being in the woods. “I’m lucky, as a teacher and forest school leader I get to observe children in the woods and the classroom. When outdoors I see a completely different side to the children which enhances their learning. Ones that are quiet in the classroom become more confident and start to raise their voices. Those that struggle to sit at a desk have space where they can let go of all that energy after which they find ways to calm down. Children that sometimes struggle with academic work can suddenly find that they’re really skilled at cooking on a fire or using tools. It gets them curious and they learn while having fun, which is the best way. Wild About Lanark was established to let families experience these benefits.”
2. Improved health and wellbeing
In her work as a Community Development Officer with South Lanarkshire Council’s Countryside Rangers, Karen Dobbins was inspired to volunteer with Wild About Lanark, as she explained: “A big part of my professional role is promoting positive use of local green space. I’ve supported lots of groups and schools to take up Forest School training and to see the outdoors as a place to play and learn. Wild About Lanark means that local families get the chance to experience the benefits I’ve witnessed elsewhere. People often start off a bit nervous, but when you see the progress that children make over time, you don’t need people like me trying to convince you how much it works. It leads to healthier and happier people.”
3. Better management of risks
As a mother of two active boys, Patricia West describes herself as a convert. “With boys you’re always looking for ways to channel their energy into positive things. Discovering the forest school approach was a revelation to me and my family. Since completing my level 3 training I now lead various groups across Lanarkshire. Before I got involved, I was terrified to let my boys light fires and use tools. Now I realise that instead of being scared we just learn safe ways to do risky things. It’s very freeing.”
4. Connecting with nature
“I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to chat with my son about the dangers of online games” explained Tila Morris, one of the newest leaders. “I’m surprised just how clever and sophisticated new technology is at drawing children in to worlds that we wouldn’t expose them to if they were real. The best way to counter that is with fun and engaging real life experiences, that have a bit of risk to them. I love seeing children getting covered from head to toe in mud, or grinning from ear to ear because they’ve managed to get a bit higher up the tree. Swinging in a hammock, doing experiments, building dens, telling stories and learning about nature are all part and parcel of what we do at Wild About Lanark."
5. Enjoying Lanark’s Woodlands
The Wild About Lanark team work to make the most of Lanark’s incredible woodland spaces. The group is currently using the woods adjacent to the play park at Lanark Loch. They urge families to come along and give it a try. A £5 donation from each family helps to cover costs for equipment and insurance, which is also why booking is necessary via the Facebook page.
Sessions will usually run on the 3rd Sunday of each month, and the latest updates will be available via the Facebook page.
The next Wild about Lanark session takes place on Sunday 24th February from 1-3pm.