#EverybodyWelcome at Woodcraft Folk!

Friday, 23 August 2019

As part of our growth project in East Anglia, our team of Development Officers have been delivering outreach sessions at a range of schools in the region. These sessions provide children who are not involved in our groups on a regular basis with an opportunity to benefit from activities structured around our aims and principles. In several locations we’ve been delivering these session in SEN schools - schools for children and young people with special educational needs. 

In St Neots our Development Officer, Lauren Karstadt, was supported by volunteers to deliver three sessions for students at the Samuel Pepys SEN School: “These sessions took a little more planning than for a mainstream school. I designed the sessions and worked with the staff at the school to work out how they would work best. The students who engaged with the sessions had a range of needs, some were verbal and some were not. I tried to make each session involve a sensory element, a movement element and a chance for those who wanted to ask questions about Woodcraft Folk and what we get up to.”

Students really enjoyed playing parachute games as a fun activity that everyone could join in with. In another session they played nature bingo in the school’s outdoor space. The students had to find ‘a yellow flower’, a ‘plant pot’ and other items on the field to stand next to whilst Lauren listed more for them to find. Lauren said: “Each item we would touch and see if the students knew what it was for, this was especially enjoyed when we got to the windchime where we played with it for a while and listened to it’s music.” 

In the final session the students created nature art. Everyone chose their favourite thing (for example one chose Shrek) then found natural materials around the field to stick on their picture with glue. This was a sensory activity as they felt each material before they stuck it down. A lot of the students enjoyed finding the different leaves/flowers and exploring the school’s outdoor area.

The schools provided more adult support for the sessions and the teachers and support workers encouraged all the students to engage with the session, complete the activities and ask questions. All the sessions had space for the students to ask questions and choose the games to play as they would at a Woodcraft Folk group night. 

Lauren said: “The students chose games such as forest fires (which was a new one for me and a really great game), duck duck goose and made choices for parachute games too. Each session was made up of different students and all took home a letter for their parents and carers explaining what our local group do and how they can be involved. This was a really valuable experience of giving young people who may not otherwise get an opportunity to engage with activities based on Woodcraft Folk aims and principles and let the whole community know they are welcome at our groups.”

You can learn more about including children and young people with disabilities in you group through our ‘Inclusion’ series of webinars at: woodcraft.org.uk/resources/inclusion-webinars