Author Tom Palmer has a message for Derrymount students
Don’t forget to visit his website
It is clearly evidenced (below) that Storms of 2020: Brendan, Ciara and Dennis have left their mark on DMS’s adventure school – as well as more widely and destructively around the country, of course.
Can we fix it?
Over the year we have patched up the shelter with taps, extra canvas, branches and home-made industrial strength tent pegs and guys. But as can be seen, we’re getting to the point were we need to think of a replacement. And a replacement is definitely warranted (and needed) as the shelter, and the general area we have developed into our Adventure School, provides an important role in encouraging people into the outdoors (to enjoy the benefits that being outside brings).
And so, as we move into the spring, the young people at Derrymount will be involved in a new Outdoor Learning Project called, Shelter 2.0.
And whilst plans are still a bit sketchy at the moment, the vision is for something initially like this (but bigger) …
That will ultimately be developed into something like this…
Well, OK… this might be a little ambitious (and too contained) but there’s no point in NOT dreaming big, is there… after all, that’s what dreaming is all about, isn’t it?
The governing body of your school has one vacancy for a parent governor and is looking for parents who have children at the school. The term ‘parent’ relates to any person who has ‘parental responsibility’ as defined by the Section 576 of the Education Act 1996. If you have any queries about your eligibility as a parent, please contact the Head Teacher for further advice.
We are looking for parents who have the skills required to contribute to effective governance and the success of the school. Your skills may include personal attributes, qualities and capabilities, such as the ability and willingness to learn and develop new skills.
Each nomination must be received at the school by 10.00 am on Tuesday 28th January 2020.
Nominations should be sealed in an envelope marked ‘Nomination for Parent Governor’ and may be delivered by hand, sent with your child, or by post to the school. Electronic nominations must be returned to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Parent Governor Letter was also posted home.
Forest School is alive and thriving at our Churchmoor Site. In our newly fenced off area at the top of site things are developing well despite the constant downpour creating some lovely mud baths for the young people.
We are incredibly thankful to the Alpkit Foundation for their support of our growing project in helping us to buy a new set of knives and flint and steels, a tree saw, some hammocks and our well-loved Kelly kettle. A lot of what we do with our young people wouldn’t be possible without the support charitable organisations that share our share vision.
Being outside in ALL WEATHERS is so good for our young people who face so many challenges in their lives, as it helps them to learn to cope in potentially uncomfortable environments trying new activities and learning new skills. Some of these young people would never be expected to take part in some of the activities that we provide and it is incredibly rewarding to see them grow and thrive in this very unique and unusual environment.
Being in the moment
When people talk about mindfulness as being ‘in the moment’, it all seems rather straight forward and therefore easy to achieve – doesn’t it? But truly being in the moment can be much harder to achieve than one might think. But why? Well, probably without out us each realising, our mind, or should I say our attention, is in high demand – largely due to our 24/7 technologically-connected lives. Modern living is taking its toll and it’s making it difficult for us to switch off, find calm and be in the moment. And the evidence to support the belief that our lack of awareness of, or attention to, the present is a major cause of poor well-being that can negatively impact on our mental health.
So where does climbing come in?
Well, anyone who has climbed before – indoors or outdoors – will probably agree that when you are on the wall, working out your feet and hand placements, navigating a route, you tend to be pretty focused (for obvious reasons). Often time at the climbing centre flies by. You become more aware of your body: which muscles you are using (are getting tired), your breathing and level of sweat, which part of your feet or fingers you are using to gain grip and purchase. Very rarely, when on the wall, do you think about checking your phone or wondering what to buy from the supermarket for dinner. Some people describe this lack of attention to things other than the act of climbing itself as being ‘in the zone’ or ‘in flow’. Others call it a heightened state of ‘mindfulness’. They all pretty much mean the same thing, I think: being completely in the moment … consciously in the present.
So, with this in mind, it became more apparent to a colleague and myself at Derrymount – responsible for our Adventure School provision – that climbing might be a fantastic activity to help our students to not only develop their physical skills, overcome fears and barriers, develop self esteem through the effort and determination etc etc (and the list could go on for a long time) BUT the act of climbing could also (maybe?) have positive outcomes on mental health and well-being – if developed, deliberately, as a mindfulness exercise.
Kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?
Anyway, it’s on a bit of a hunch and a ‘well we can at least try it’ attitude that prompted us to try and look into this a bit further. So, the plan …
In the second week in January 2020, we will be taking a group of young people on a weekly visit to Nottingham Climbing Centre where they will be introduced to climbing and receive a 1.5hr a week (for 7 weeks) period of instruction and opportunity to climb. We’ll encourage the students to be body aware, help them focus on the moment and try and gauge their thoughts, attitudes and awareness of themselves both before, during and at the end of the 7 weeks.
It’s going to interesting to see what impact climbing as mindfulness can have.
Thank you to Alpkit!
We are very grateful to the wonderful people at Alpkit for supporting our 7-week project. The Alpkit Foundation generously donated some money towards the costs of setting up this project, and for that we are very grateful.
NB. Anyone is free to make an application to the Alpkit Foundation, so perhaps a project idea you have might receive their support.
Students from M4 recently tested their fitness skills at Walesby Forest and took part in an assault course and laser quest activity. A great day was had by all, with students demonstrating excellent perseverance and determination when faced with some challenging obstacles and working well together during laser quest, deciding as a team what tactics they would employ.