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Case studies

Case study, Howitt Primary School, Heanor

Situated in a former mining town, Howitt Primary School is responsible for approximately 420 children made up of both infant and junior pupils. The school prides itself on developing a stimulating curriculum to engage the children and give them opportunities to participate in activities which they might not otherwise experience. 

Here they explain more about their experience of working with us.

Learning objectives 

“We decided to get involved with Sherwood Bushcraft when our Year 3 classes started learning about Robin Hood as part of their Literacy work topic on Myths and Legends. We wanted them to experience what it would have been like to live in the forest and learn about survival techniques such as shelter building and fire lighting so that they had these experiences to draw on in their own writing.”

The School took two Year 3 classes – approximately 56 children in total. There were more boys than girls in the group and this was one of the reasons they had chosen the Robin Hood topic. Their primary objective was to inspire the boys to write, but they also hoped to develop teamwork skills through the activities. They took part in two ranger-led activities – shelter building and fire lighting, and led one ‘scavenger hunt’ activity themselves where they hid pictures of foods that Robin and his men might have eaten e.g. rabbit, deer and boar around the forest and the children had to find them.

Positive outcomes 

“I would have to say that they loved every activity! They enjoyed being outdoors in the forest all day and didn’t even complain about having to walk quite a distance from the coach park to the activity area. It all seemed to be one big adventure for them. The fire lighting activity was a highlight because they all got the chance to light the kindling and toast their marshmallow on the fire. I think they loved having the freedom to run about too”

“Many of the children seemed to experience a great sense of achievement either through building a successful shelter or succeeding in igniting their kindling. They persevered with each task because they were motivated by wanting to see the outcome. I think the children also realised that good team-work was essential (particularly the boys) and they put their differences aside to work together on the shelter building task.”

Developing confidence

“One group had a huge surprise when a deer jumped out of the bushes and ran past them as they took part in the scavenger hunt! That’s an experience you can’t plan for but won’t be forgotten! What pleased me most was the fact that some of the quieter or less able children had a chance to shine. A group of boys who struggle with academic work in the classroom organised themselves into a great little team and worked determinedly to produce the best shelter of the day. One of the girls, who is a good listener but fairly quiet in class, displayed excellent organisational skills and was instrumental in directing members of her group to select the right branches and use the correct construction techniques which resulted in another strong shelter. She gained a lot of respect from her team-mates which boosted her confidence considerably.

What would we say to someone from a similar organisation who was considering taking a group to Sherwood Bushcraft?

I’d say do it! It was a fabulous day all round. The activities were well-organised and well-supervised and the rangers quickly developed great relationships with our children. Pupils had the chance to run around and enjoy the experience of being outdoors in the forest all day and they loved it. The activities brought out the best in them and it gave the teaching staff a chance to see some pupils in a new light! This had a very positive impact back in the classroom. It’s an experience that we are very keen to repeat!

 

Case study, Youth Justice Team 

Sherwood Bushcraft worked closely with a targeted support and youth outreach team whose objectives for working with young people included aiming to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour through a range of strategies.

The team had been bringing groups of young people to Sherwood Bushcraft for three years and on their last visit brought a small group of girls (aged 12-16) to take part in an overnight bushcraft camp.

During their stay, the group learnt fire lighting techniques, chopped wood and built a fire, prepared and cooked their breakfast and dinner, filtered water and boiled it for drinks, and went on an evening nature and bat walk around the woods. They also worked together on the assault course challenge and got creative to produce beautiful woodland art. 

“The bushcraft camp enabled the girls to step out of their comfort zones and experience an authentic forest adventure in a safe environment. Even though the trip took place a year ago, the girls still talk about how much they enjoyed it and enthuse about what they learnt.”

“The programme of activities and camp structure encouraged everyone to work together as a team and the group did really well at listening to instructions. We were also able to take part in a site ‘pre-visit’ so we could give the girls an idea of what to expect for the overnight camp.”

“I would definitely recommend Sherwood Bushcraft to every other organisation and agency and we look forward to working with them again.”

What would we say to someone from a similar organisation who was considering taking a group to Sherwood Bushcraft?

I’d say do it! It was a fabulous day all round. The activities were well-organised and well-supervised and the rangers quickly developed great relationships with our children. Pupils had the chance to run around and enjoy the experience of being outdoors in the forest all day and they loved it. The activities brought out the best in them and it gave the teaching staff a chance to see some pupils in a new light! This had a very positive impact back in the classroom. It’s an experience that we are very keen to repeat!

 

Last updated: 31st July 2017

Contact

Karina Thornton
Sherwood Bushcraft Ranger
0300 067 5463
karina.thornton@­forestry.gsi.gov.uk

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.