Some Year 8 and 9 students recently visited Clip n Climb in Derby and then enjoyed a pub lunch, practising their independent living and social skills that they have been developing in PSHE lessons. Students raced to the top of the climbing walls and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We were very impressed by their levels of resilience and determination when faced with the challenges of the climbing walls, and also very proud of how they conducted themselves in the pub, ordering their own meals and using impeccable manners. Well done!
Students in M4 and M5 have recently completed a project to make a bird box during their D&T lessons. They took great care with their measuring and cutting of the wood, demonstrating excellent teamwork skills, and helped each other to ensure their completed bird boxes were as accurately made as possible. As you can see, they had a great time and have produced some brilliant bird boxes. They were very enthusiastic about the cleaning up too! Well done M4 and M5!
Children in M2 have spent this half term looking at different celebration cakes from around the world and then had a go at designing their own. They worked really hard, making their own sponge cakes from scratch before icing them and practising their piping skills. A lot of hard work, dedication and finesse went into the cakes and I hope they tasted as good as they looked. Well done M2!
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?
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.
As part of our Adventure School activities we are planning to have a Big Sleep Out event in our outdoor classroom on Thursday 28th November 2019 (weather permitting) to support FRAMEWORK’s Big Sleep Out event. During this event a few selected young people who have agrees to participate will stay at school on the Thursday night and will take part in a variety of activities. By taking part in this event the young person will get an insight into how a homeless person sleeps in the evenings, as well as getting to experience some outdoor fun and learn new skills.
The young people would appreciate sponsors to help support them. This would also help boost their confidence during the event when it will be cold and wet outside. Please encourage family and friends to sponsor as well. Sponsor money can be sent to school.
Thank you for all your support