30 Days Wild at school

30 Days Wild at school

Paul Harris/2020VISION

Deputy-Headteacher Sam Harris talks about the transformative process of taking part in 30 Days Wild with a class of children.

My name is Sam Harris, I’m the Deputy –Headteacher of Blandford St Mary Primary School. Last year my colleague and I decided to take up the 30 Days Wild challenge with our Year 2 class as a post SATS respite.

The plan was to take a few minutes each day to do something outdoors with the children as a break and a change from the classroom and the pressures they (and the teachers!) had endured during the SATs period. However, it became more than that.

We would say we became mindful – of ourselves, our group and of the world outside
Sam Harris School

There were days where we simply spent ten minutes lying on the playground looking at the shapes in the clouds, walked barefoot around the field or went on natural object colour hunts. But once you start working with the outdoors and embracing the breadth of resources and inspiration it can bring, you soon start finding it winding into the lessons you’re planning too!

I started to incorporate it into English plans such as children making sculptures out of clay and natural objects and then using the creatures they had created to think of descriptions of using expanded noun phrases and words using suffixes ‘ly’, ‘er’ and ‘est’ to describe them. I had children writing descriptive sentences about their ‘smallest, wiggliest worm’ and ‘slowly slithering snails’. But it wasn’t just the planned English work which helped develop and generate new vocabulary. The descriptions of how things looked, felt, smelt and sounded grew as the children became more accustomed to being exposed to new sensory experiences each day and talked about their experiences.

Home learning for the children in the month was also linked to 30 Days Wild, (well, we were trying to stick to the actual 30 days!) Children were set activities to do at home such as going for a wild walk and writing or drawing about it. It was lovely to see what activities it prompted parents and children to do together. We were lucky with how engaged the parents were and how readily they joined in with the challenge. Mondays became a day where drawings, objects and tales of days out were shared with great enthusiasm and to an eager listening audience.

What was truly amazing was the change in some children. Those who could be difficult to engage in class or those quiet children who rarely contributed became calmer, more engaged or more confident in participating within the class. I would even say we collectively became mindful – of ourselves, our group and of the world outside. It was transformative; you see children and the world around you in a different light and it changes what you do forever.

30 Days Wild is the Wildlife Trusts' month-long nature challenge. Can you do something wild every day throughout June? That’s 30 simple, fun and exciting Random Acts of Wildness that will bring you closer to nature. Sign up as an individual, a business or a school and get a free pack full of ideas and inspiration.