In October we ran a successful pilot project called Mini Explorers. This is a new project created and funded by Hostelling Scotland to support an Early Years Outdoor Learning Residential.
Woodburn Nursery in Falkirk received a funded residential trip to Rowardennan Youth Hostel, with parents and guardians and nursery staff joining the children on their trip. Woodburn Nursery staff had found that the majority of the children attending did not access the outdoors with their families, due to a range of barriers. Through the trip they aimed to create a programme of activities to help the children and families experience the outdoors together, and the fantastic fun and benefits that this can offer. The trip also aimed to build on the relationships between the nursery staff and parents and guardians, so that they would be keen to take part in future outdoor learning sessions and locally based forest trips planned by the nursery.
For the trip the nursery targeted disadvantaged children and families, including those unable to otherwise take holidays and day trips together. Parents, guardians and children attended the trip and enjoyed a fantastic weekend away, managing to fit in a boat trip on Loch Lomond, a challenging uphill hike, a campfire and singsongs, seeing the bats in the dark, toasting marshmallows, paddling in Loch Lomond, and a forest walk with magic frames. It was all rounded off with tasty meals, board games and a good night's sleep over two nights in Rowardennan Youth Hostel.
The residential had a huge impact on the children and families that took part, including one child who saw sheep for the very first time!
All the children and families were able to take part in a range of fun outdoor activities and the trip was a great success, as perhaps best shown when one of the children went home and asked: “Can we go back on holiday?”
If you'd like to find out more about our work with young people then make sure you check out our Youth Engagement page.