Getting Kids Outdoors
What We Do
Children and young people spend time with us, getting outdoors and active, getting in touch with nature and learning about everything from simple vegetable growing to looking after farm animals and respecting and encouraging wildlife.
By way of an example, we are delighted to work with Homewood School in Tenterden. Young people participating in the school’s wellbeing programme visit the Community Garden every week during term time to learn more about producing and enjoying nutritious food.
Why We Do It
Engaging with nature can have a positive impact on physical health issues including obesity, mental health problems, and children’s ability to assess risks to themselves and others. Sadly, for many children and young people, nature is not an integral part of their life.
In their Noticing Nature report, the National Trust and University of Derby describe how:
just 19% of children regularly noticed wildlife
83% either infrequently or never smelled wildflowers
77% either infrequently or never listened to birdsong
Encouragingly, they found that children with a strong connection to nature report feeling happier and healthier. We work to create opportunities for children and young people to foster that connection.
The Difference We Make
"We have been taking groups of students to Green Farm Community Garden every week since 2017. The students are usually our more vulnerable children who have experienced bereavement, trauma, have SEND needs or are less privileged.
Being able to go to the Community Garden and work in the fresh air, learning new skills and knowledge is beneficial to the students’ well-being and we have seen marked improvements in their emotional health.
The students have responsibilities within the garden which help them feel they belong to the community. They have completed several projects including a bug mansion, loggery and rock garden. As the weeks progress you can see the students’ confidence grow and their self-esteem improves.
Martin and MaryAnn are committed to helping vulnerable young people and are more than generous with sharing the facilities at Green farm and supporting our students anyway they can. We are grateful for all the support they have given our young people and the invaluable positive impact this intervention has on our students."
Mrs Wendy Brown, Family Liaison Officer and Student Wellbeing Coordinator, Homewood School
Why is Getting Outdoors so Important?
Going outdoors has a critical, positive impact on our lives. Time outdoors playing, learning and exploring improves:
physical health – sleep, eating, weight
mental health – stress, friendships, resilience
a sense of belonging and connection to community
engagement with the environment and climate change
Multiple studies in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, China and Singapore show time outdoors leads to increased attainment, less time off sick and behaviour improved across schools, along with an increased connection to nature.