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?
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.
Ten of our students took part in the annual Cross Country Relay Event at Colwick Park this week. A fantastic effort was made by all, with each student completing at least one lap of the mile long course.
The students showed great determination and worked together as a team, competing against several other schools in the county. It was a great morning and many thanks to Nick Robb for organising and leading the event.
Well done everyone!!
A great opportunity for some of our year 10/11 students who currently access the home cooking option within school.
A taste of work experience at “The Townhouse” in Arnold under the guidance of head chef Louise and her staff. Our pupils sharpening up their skills in the kitchen prepping food from the mouth-watering menu to serve to the unsuspecting general public of Arnold!!
Jack added “It’s good, I enjoy working in the kitchen” whilst Daniel said “I really like working here, it’s not stressful”. “Very good not stressful what so ever” said Reeve and of course Lydia, “I like working in the kitchen however it drains my energy. The people are friendly”
Watch this space for further updates when they return to the Townhouse on 2nd October. A big thankyou to Alison the manager, Louise, Keegan, Esther & Linda. A mention to Mr Rowland for setting up this amazing opportunity.
Children in M4 recently visited Cromford Mills in Derbyshire to understand the role of Sir Richard Arkwright during the Industrial Revolution.
They enjoyed having a go at ‘carding’ and spinning thread from raw cotton. They also listened to a worker, describing her life in Cromford.
By the end of the experience, they were all grateful that they didn’t live around 250 years ago as they would have completed five years work by now at the age of twelve! School seems a far better option!
After a year of honing their skills on a Monday morning in the kitchen, students in M4 have today waited on their parents and carers, preparing a two course lunch from scratch.
Parents and carers left satisfied, having enjoyed a variety of meals, including Southern Fried chicken, BBQ pulled pork pizza, chocolate fudge cake and Oreo cheesecake.
Thank goodness we have a dishwasher!!
For the best part of a year, Martina Martin from Jerry Green Dog Rescue in Nottinghamshire, has been kindly visiting our Friday Dog Care option group to share her knowledge and experience of dogs and the working life of a centre manager. Her visits are always interesting and enlightening – today we learned how dog owners’ behaviours can influence their dogs’ behaviours, how to refine a dog’s recall performance and what you can learn from a dog by looking at its poops!
Gryff, our resident school therapy dog – and an ex-Jerry Green rescue dog – is always a topic of conversation, and it was lovely to hear Martina talk about how she has seen Gryff develop over the months since we have had him. Martina also commented on just how knowledgeable the Dog Care students (6 of them in total) have become since studying for their Professional Dog Walker qualification this year. The group are genuinely passionate about dogs and work really hard to develop their understanding dogs and their behaviours.
So, thank you Martina, well done Dog Care students and of course, ‘good boy’ Gryff… you deserve a tasty treat or two for your progress this year.