A New School Year

And just like that, the summer has drawn to a close and we find ourselves at the start of another school year. I don’t know about you but I feel like I blinked and August was over, with just a few hazy memories to prove that it happened. This week will see teachers and pupils returning to schools all round Devon and here at The Outdoors Group, our sites are about to become hives of activity once more.


Good Vibes Incoming

When it comes to the last academic year, I think that it’s safe to say it was nothing short of tumultuous. What with ever-changing guidance from the government, mass absences due to isolation and another two lockdowns, it felt like it never really got off the ground from the get go. Those people working in education have my utmost respect as they soldiered on, doing their absolute best to continue to support the children and young people they work with. The Head of The Outdoors School, Robyn Vincent, told me that she is feeling optimistic and positive as the term starts this month. I am joining her consciously in that sentiment. Optimistic that this year might be slightly less disrupted than the last, positive that no matter what gets thrown at us, we can endure it together.

Thrive, Not Survive

My biggest wish for educators and pupils alike this year though is that they will not simply survive but that they will thrive. Our Wellbeing Officer shared this goal with us at our recent Staff Development Day and it resonated with me so I thought I’d bring it here as well. But how to make this wish a reality? I’ve had a think about ways to put this into action and here’s what I’ve come up with:
  • Make sure you take time for self-care. I’m not prescribing a large bubble bath or glass of wine (although there’s certainly nothing wrong with either of these!) Rather, make sure you commit to making time to do things for yourself; to relax, to move your body, to spend time with people you love, no matter how busy and stressful the rest of life is.
  • Focus on soft skills. If you’re an educator, I know that there is a lot of pressure in regards to academic achievement but thriving pupils are those that feel safe, secure and emotionally supported.
  • Get outside. We all know the physical and psychological benefits of being outdoors – for adults and young people alike. Spend time outdoors, no matter what the weather. You won’t regret it (unless you forget your coat!)


Onwards and Upwards

For us, this week sees the return of pupils to The Outdoors School (at now three sites – Shillingford, Tiverton and South Brent!), the reforming of our Home Education groups in our Forest School sites around Devon and the sound of many small feet entering the woods as our Toddler Clubs restart. Whilst staff have enjoyed the summer break, I know that they are so excited to see familiar and new faces alike as we continue our adventure of outdoor education with children, young people and their families all across Devon. And for those reading this? I wish you and yours a successful academic year. Not in regards to grades and formal achievements but success in your pursuit of happiness, self assuredness, friendships and fun.  

Author: Hannah Durdin, Marketing Officer & Forest School Leader Date: Tuesday 7th September 2021

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