Springfield School caters for children and young people between the age of 4 – 19 with Severe Learning Difficulties and Complex needs. Admission to Springfield School is for those children and young people with a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education Health Care Plan.
We were approached by School Business Manager - Lynn Stubbs last year who expressed the Schools need for an outdoor learning Cabin to allow all pupils to access all aspects of Forest Learning. Springfield School bought a 17m² Cabin with a BBQ Grill fitted to allow the children to experience fire in a safe environment. The Cabin was made accessible for wheelchair users.
We were privileged to be invited back to video the young people enjoying a Forest Learning lesson with Emma Godwin and the team.
Watch the video to find out more:
We’ve been offering Forest School now for the last 3 years and it’s been a huge success. But most recently it has been vastly improved by our fantastic new Cabin. Having The Cabin has made a massive difference to us because whatever the weather, we can get outdoors and still be sheltered from the rain, wind or snow. It's also made it possible for our wheelchair users to take part in Forest Learning all year round, which has been amazing.
A Sensory experience
The Cabin provides a multi sensory experience for our pupils learning about bushcraft. We enjoy the sounds of the fire, the smell of the wood and the different textures of the materials we use to build the fire - we even get to experience taste from the toasted marshmallows - which are a big hit!
Safe Fire Learning
One of the best things though is that it’s a great opportunity for the students to learn about fire in a safe way, and then eventually we look at teaching cooking in the cabin as well. Which is something that the students really enjoy.
Connection to Nature
Being connected with the outdoors is really beneficial to the students, they come outside into this natural environment and are surrounded by wood with windows that look out into nature and I think it makes them feel a lot more relaxed. I also believe that the sounds of the birds and trees outside have a really calming effect and help them to focus on their learning.
The circular shape the cabin really lends itself to that sense of community because all of the students are able to see each other when we are sitting in there. They are able to hear each other, and it functions really well for group work too.
Having the cabin has taken Forest School and bush craft to the next level for me, and more than that, it’s enabled students that wouldn’t have been able to access Forest School and outdoor learning to have full access to experience this type of learning.
We were lucky enough to meet Judy Colclough - Vice Chair of Governors and a parent to a pupil attending Springfield School. Here's what Judy told us:
The atmosphere is so relaxed, everybody feels a bit more chilled out. The surroundings are so beautiful and even the smell of the Cabin just makes everybody just feel as if there are just in the countryside.
Wellbeing & Mindfulness
So, it’s extremely beneficial to the school and it’s probably one of the best things we’ve bought for the children to support their wellbeing and mindfulness.